How many managers have asked you to build trust with customers?
What almost every sales manager or CEO says is, “We need to Increase sales. Go out and make deals.”
That doesn’t work – not effectively, and not in the long run.
Increasing sales starts and ends with trust. Every high performing sales person knows that trust is how you grow sales. Not deals. Deal-wanting CEO’s and sales managers are actively destroying trust along with long term value in a futile effort to make quarterly numbers. In agriculture sales and marketing, trust is all that matters.
But, what does trust really mean?
The definitions of trust I like most are:
1) A duty imposed in faith as a condition of a relationship.
2) Something committed to one to be cared for in the interest of another.
Combined and simplified, trust is, I have faith that you will do what is in my best interest. Trust is the core of a relationship.
How to build trust Margie Warrell explains to build a high trust relationship you must align the 3 core domains of Trust. I really like this. Here is my summary of her 3 Core Domains of Trust (you should really read the whole article).
- Competence – Do you have skills related to the task.
- Sincerity – Do you care, do you have good character (as assessed by someone else) ultimately, are you truthful.
- Reliability – Can I count on you. Will you do what you say.
Trust takes time to build. It is something that has to be continually nurtured (see reliability).
How to destroy Trust
You cannot rush building trust. You have to prove it to the other person through your actions.
Depending on the person, it may take years for them to see you aligned in all three of the core domains. By trying too quickly to prove trust, you may effectively smash all 3 core domains. This can happen in a blink of an eye, and if you are not self-aware, you might not even know you destroyed trust.
There are a number of other ways companies and sales people destroy trust:
- Misrepresenting a product
- Inconsistent pricing from one department to another
- Withholding bad news
- Speaking down about the competition or others
- Not acknowledging your actions or taking responsibility
- Being too outcome-attached (Selling a solution that is not in the customer’s best interest.)
- Wrong intent (Doing what’s in your best interest, especially when pursued without regard to others.)
Once destroyed, trust is incredibly difficult to rebuild.
Deals are what get done in the absence of trust. They take longer to do and are less lucrative.
Collaboration and influence is the result of trust. Alliances are built on trust and are more valuable than deals.
Trust brings you closer to the customer and gives you greater opportunity to help them.
Building customer trust is the way to increase sales.