9 Rules for Building Trust to Accelerate Sales

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Oct, 07, 2013 @ 06:10 AM

I've written numerous posts on The Integrity Chain and how integrity leads to trust which leads to repeat business which leads to profits.

Consumer insights on building trust

Here are nine rules, from Jerry Acuff, author of The Relationship Edge: The Key to Strategic Influence and Selling Success.

1. Be yourself.

Everybody on the planet has had unpleasant experiences with salespeople, and many have walked away from a sales situation feeling manipulated. So, rather than acting or sounding like a salesperson, simply act the way you would when meeting with a colleague.

2. Value the relationship.

If you want people around you to value having a relationship with you, you must truly believe that relationship building is important. You must also believe that you honestly have something of value to offer to the relationship.

3. Be curious about people.

People are drawn to those who show true interest in them. Curiosity about people is thus a crucial element of relationship building. Having an abiding fascination in others give you the opportunity to learn new things and make new connections.

4. Be consistent.

A customer's ability to trust you is dependent upon showing the customer that your behavior is consistent and persistent over time. When a customer can predict your behavior, that customer is more likely to trust you.

5. Seek the truth.

Trust emerges when you approach selling as a way of helping the customer–so make it your quest to discover the real areas where the you can work together. Never be afraid to point out that your product or company may not be the right fit.

6. Keep an open mind.

If you're absolutely convinced the customer needs your product, the customer will sense you're close-minded and become close-minded in return. Instead, be open to the idea that the customer might be better served elsewhere. In turn, customers will sense that you've got their best interests at heart.

7. Have a real dialog.

Every meeting should be a conversation, not a sales pitch. Spend at least half of every customer meeting listening. And make certain the conversation is substantive and about real business issues, not just office patter or sports chit-chat.

8. Be a professional.

Customers tend to trust individuals who are serious about what they do, and willing to take the time to achieve a deep understanding of their craft. Take the time every day to learn more about your customers, their industry and their challenges.

9. Show real integrity.

Be willing to take a stand, even when it's unpopular with your customer or your company. You don't need to be adversarial, but have the ability to make decisions based upon what you know is right. And on a related note: Never promise what you can't deliver.

Adopt a philosophy of having "customers for life."  When you have this philosophy, you take a long-term view of the relationship and continue the dialogue with the customer long after the sale.

What do you do to build trust with your customers and prospects?

Empower Employees to Get Insights Download the Free e-book "How To Get Insights From Analytics" to Accelerate Sales

Tags: transparency, trust, empower employees, honest communication, people do business with those they know like and t, reliability

10 Ways to Build an Honest Brand to Accelerate Sales

Posted by Tom Smith on Thu, Aug, 01, 2013 @ 06:08 AM

trust is critical to customer relationships




Customer trust in businesses is languishing to non-existent.

Trust is essential for customer loyalty and profitability

Customers want to know they are dealing with a reputable company, one that won’t take advantage of them:

  • Amazon lets you know you’re about to buy a book that you bought just three months before and reminds you of that purchase rather than immediately ringing up the sale and generating revenue.
  • Cell phone companies send you a bill letting you know  you exceeded your allocated minutes at $0.40/minute rather than warning you that you’re about to exceed your minutes.
  • The water company sends you a bill for $250 when your historical average has been $40 rather than reaching out to let you know you may have a leak.
  • Credit card companies move your rate from 12% to 28% for being late with a payment.

The financial industry, the press, the government and many companies (i.e., Enron, Tyco, Worldcom) have negatively affected consumer trust so much that in some areas, research shows a 10%+ decline in customer trust.

According to Forrester, globally, trust in business is 50%, while trust in business leaders to tell the truth is at 18%.

How to avoid having a trust issue, or regain lost trust:

  1. Encourage honest communication among peer groups on the web and in social media.
  2. Include your customers, prospects and influencers in discussions – the more you do, the more “ownership” they’ll have over the products and services they buy.
  3. Empower, and seek input from, employees.  Your employees likely know your customers, and their concerns, better than you do.
  4. By facilitating a customer network of peers, consistently adding value (versus selling), and doing what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it, companies can improve customer trust and brand perceptions.
  5. People trust other people like themselves; as such, product recommendations, and referrals, from peers carry a lot of weight.
  6. Have a dialogue with your customers to understand their needs and wants – not only will you improve customer satisfaction you’ll see a greater return on your investment.
  7. Be more concerned about the relationship than making the sale – commit to a “customers for life” philosophy and you’ll end up earning customers’ trust, and a greater share of wallet, over the life of the relationship.
  8. Worry less about selling better and worry more about teaching.  The power of content and information translates into sales.
  9. Operate in a transparent manner. If you're not who you say you are, you'll be found out and your business will die a fast death.
  10. By providing value, companies will gain customer trust.

Trust is the evaluation criterion through which business success is created.

Consumers buy more products from companies they trust.

The more loyal customers are, the more likely they are to be customers for life.

What are you doing to ensure your brand is honest?

Want to Accelerate Sales? Download the Free e-book  "Customer Bonding Programs:  How to Get, and Keep,Customers for Life"

Tags: transparency, trust, empower employees, honest communication, people do business with those they know like and t, reliability