Craig M Dick

My slanted perspective on agricultural marketing

Tag: Trust

Venn Marketing

No I am not talking about Zen, the Buddhist act of mediation. Though a little more reflection and considered thoughts on a subject would help a lot of marketers out.

I am talking about Venn, or specially, Venn diagrams. A Venn diagram is a diagram that shows all possible logical relations between a finite collection of different sets. Typically overlapping shapes, usually circles, are used.

venn marketing

Venn Marketing is then only talking about the logical relations between what you do and what your customer cares about. Everything else is a distraction.

Your customer is self-absorbed with their own set of problems.  They don’t want to, need to or deserve to know everything you know.

Until you have built trust, found out what their problems are, only talk about what you can do to solve those problems. If you can’t help them, tell them. Then refer them to someone who can.

Too many rookie marketing and sales people verbally vomit the whole load all over a prospect at the first meeting. DO NOT DO THIS.

Working with a client is just like meeting a new friend. Take it slow, find commonality, decide if you like each other, find out what they care about. Only talk about that.

Once you have proven you have their best interest in mind, they will ask you what else you can do for them. They will solicit you to know how else you can improve their business. It so much easier to sell somebody when they are compelled to know more about you.

 

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Stop knee-jerking after targets

What is your purpose as a business?knee-jerking after targets like you are a professional stank-leg dancer

To make money? No, that is an outcome. An important one for sure. You won’t be in business long without profit.

But that is not why your business exists.

You started your business to solve a problem, to fill a need. In solving that problem, you made money.

At some point, the money got better, you focused more on the money then solving the problem. Caring more about hitting the next financial target than helping your customers.

Now you knee-jerk after targets like a professional “Stanky-leg” dancer, chasing after the money. Which is always elusive since you are trying to solve a problem that you can’t remember.

This money chasing, knee-jerking mentality is borne from a fear of loss. This fear is keeping you from a relationship with your customer. It’s only through a trusting relationship with the customer that they believe you can solve their problem and happily give you their money.

Without this trust, your business success (or lack of) is based on a purely transactional basis. The customer isn’t sure if you are the right solution, you just happen to show up at the right time. Have a price that isn’t too risky if your solution doesn’t work. The problem is, someone will always be faster or cheaper, or both. So you scurry around trying to be “Mister Right Now” while doing the financial “Stanky-Leg” to close the deal and hit your numbers.

Why is this easier than building trust and working to compel customers to work with you?

To get back on track, remember what your purpose was and work with that in mind. Work to develop a relationship of trust with your customer. Be very clear with your customers about why you are in business and what problems you help with.

If it is a big enough problem to solve and you are clear enough on how to solve it, the money will flow.

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Trust is Reciprocal

I have talked about the importance for developing trust. From Jeff Beals’ 5 steps  to Margie Warrell’s 3 core domains of Trust .

Trust

In one of those article I mentioned that trust is reciprocal. What I mean by that is, you have to trust others first for them to trust you.

Or another way of looking at it is, if you don’t trust me, I won’t trust you.

We have all met at least one person that says “I never trust anyone”. Maybe they are risk averse or maybe they have been really burned trusting the wrong person. People are selfish, they don’t care about your reasons, what they think is, “this person really just wants the best deal for themselves and wouldn’t think twice about taking advantage of me”.

So If you don’t trust me, I defiantly wont trust you. Since there is no trust, everything we both say will be misinterpreted. Once that starts, then everything we both say is guarded to reduce what is used against us. Every word is hedged to make sure we don’t get caught. We can’t be open.  With lots of unclear communication, we don’t really know what each other wants. And that’s what we each end up with, something we don’t really want.

By trusting someone from the start, you are saying, I approve of you, I like you. People love approval, to know they are ok, to know they are understood, to be liked. When people know you like them, they like you in return. This reciprocal approval is the foundation for all successful relationships. You cannot build trust without a relationship. You cannot do good deals without trust.

Robert Chen shares the benefits of trust:

  • More influential
  • Clients share more valuable information
  • You avoid big problems, people will share problems earlier
  • You are more effective at solving problems with good information
  • More effective in negotiations.

I have found these to be spot on. In that article, Robert also gives 101 practical ways to build trust these which I highly recommend. I see some on the list I need to work on.

But Craig, it’s risky to trust others. I might get burned!

Yes you might.  And if the first impression you give someone is, “I don’t trust people”, then they won’t trust you and you have just increased the likelihood that you will get burned.

Trust is so hard to establish, why wouldn’t you start there? Why hold people at arm’s length? Why make things harder on yourself? Why make it harder to do business, to reach your goals?

Trust is essential for social and economic transactions. You need people to trust you if you want to sell your products or service. Building that trust starts by first trusting others. You can’t harvest without first planting. Sow trust with every interaction.

 

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More thoughts on Trust

Last week I had the honor of speaking to Titan Pro’s dealer network on soil health. One of my fellow speakers was Jeff Beals.  WheTrustn Jeff is not speaking or consulting, he serves as executive vice president at NAI NP Dodge Commercial Real Estate Company and is co-host/producer of an award-winning business talk-show on 1110 KFAB Radio.

When I lived in the Omaha area I enjoyed listening to his radio program on the weekends, so it was a real highlight of the conference to share a stage with Jeff and then listen to his talk.

The topic Jeff spoke was How to Sell in Brutally Competitive Environments. The key to sales in a brutal environment, trust. You must develop trust to be effective.

Jeff’s 5 steps to develop trust are:

  1. Clear communication
  2. Pass a moment of truth (when you have the opportunity to be truthful, you had better be)
  3. Consistent performance
  4. Behave as a fiduciary
  5. Be responsive

These all are in alignment with Margie Warrell’s 3 core domains of Trust, which you know I am a fan of.

I couple of other tips I really liked from Jeff’s talk were:

Customer before commission

This aligns with my definition of trust, I have faith that you will do what is in my best interest. Once you truly server your customer, you will be in demand and you won’t need to worry about commissions. Worry about yourself first, then you will always be worried about your commissions.

Jeff’s deadly sin of sales – is to assume

I think many people in sales and marketing think they know what the customer wants and are fearful to ask too many questions out of fear. Fear they will look dumb. If you want to build trust, and ultimately a sale, you must know what the customer wants. The only way to do that is Jeff’s rule #1 (see above).

Over the past couple weeks though I have realized one thing is missing from Maggie, Jeff and my keys to building trust.

Trust is reciprocal. What I mean by that is, you have to trust to be trusted.  More on that in a future post.

Make sure you check out Jeff’s work, and if your group is looking for a speaker, I would recommend him for any event you are planning.

 

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Go Build Trust

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.

3 core domains of Trust by Margie Warrell

The 3 Core Domains of Trust by Margie Warrell

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:

  • Lying
  • 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.

 

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