How high is your sales trust factor?
Is it higher than the sales trust factor of your competition?
It should be, if you want to increase your success in sales.
Your trust factor represents the level of trust that buyers have in you as a seller. In the buy/sell relationship, perception is the reality under which sellers operate, and trust is based on the buyer's perception of you.
You may be the most honest, trustworthy person in your field, but if buyers don't perceive you to be trustworthy because of your selling behaviors, it doesn't matter how trustworthy you are in reality.
Buyers Don't Trust Sellers
What is the greatest challenge, usually unspoken, that sellers face when working with buyers?
The simple truth is buyers don't trust sellers. Unfortunately, because of the way a lot of people have sold in the past and still sell today, buyers have very good reasons not to trust sellers.
We all like to think we're trustworthy. In fact, a study has shown that we think others trust us at significantly higher levels than they really do. For example, you may think that buyer A rates you as eight out of ten on the trust factor scale. When asked by a third party, however, the same buyer may actually rate you as five out of ten, the same they rate most other salespeople. Again, the reality is that most people mistrust sellers - regardless of what they may tell you.
Trust ? YOUR Competitive Advantage
To win more business, especially in today's competitive environment, it's imperative that you create a separation point between you and your competitors based on trust. Notice I said YOU. For most products and services today, there is relatively little functional difference for the buyer among the available choices, even though companies continue to spend billions of dollars in advertising each year to attempt to create separation points in the minds of buyers.
Today's buyers are so busy and exposed to so much information that often they either ignore or do not recognize these efforts. Buyers have a difficult time making a purchase decision because they are not able to identify one product or service that is clearly superior to the others.
It's critical, then, that sellers focus on trust-building activities with prospects and customers and avoid trust-breaking activities. You must take it upon yourself to create a separation point in the mind of potential buyers between yourself and your selling competitors.
The best way to create this separation point is to increase your trust factor with your buyers.
You Need a Plan
Given the perception of buyers, trust-building is not likely to occur simply as a result of your sales process.
If you attend the same training courses as other sellers in your industry, read the same books, say the same things, and use the same sales tools and techniques, chances are you're not going to create much of a separation with buyers based on trust.
Despite the fact that level of trust is the number one decision factor in many purchases, it is rarely addressed. If you were to take a look at the indexes of the ten most popular sales books, how many do you think would include the word "trust" in the index? Try it. If the books you read are like the books on my bookshelf, only one or two will even have the word listed in the index. The others probably have only a few paragraphs discussing the topic of trust.
So what IS your approach to overcome distrust, one of the most significant obstacles in the buy/sell relationship? Do you have a specific, well-thought out plan designed to overcome this obstacle and to build greater levels of trust with your prospects?
You must create an action plan and constantly focus on executing the plan in order to build trust. And once you're able to increase your trust factor with buyers, you will also see an increase in your sales.
Summary - Three Key Points to Remember:
- Regardless of what you believe about your own level of trustworthiness, your trust factor with buyers is low.
- To increase sales, individual sellers must create their own separation point from competitors rather than rely on their product, service, or company to create the separation point.
- Sellers can create a separation point by building a greater level of trust with buyers versus their competitors.
Robert Reed is a consultant, speaker and president of TrustBuild. TrustBuild offers the Trust Seal Program to identify and differentiate trustworthy sales professionals from traditional competitors. Sealholders are provided with easy-to-use tools and information to help them break through the buyer "trust barrier" to gain a competitive edge and win more sales. Visit TrustBuild.com to learn more about the Trust Seal Program for trustworthy sales professionals.