Achieving real trust with clients and prospects

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Contributor, Sell to Win

Building trust is the best way to enhance any relationship in your life, whether it’s with your friends, loved ones, and especially when dealing with your clients.

If your potential clients trust you, they’re going to be more likely to purchase from you. According to The LinkedIn State of Sales report, trust is one of the key factors in closing a deal. It’s more important to people than the return on investment (ROI) or price. In fact, people are more likely to buy from someone they trust even if they can get a better deal somewhere else.

In this guide, we’re going to cover how and why being perceived as authentic and trustworthy leads to more sales, as well as how you can build your sales skills so that clients view you as genuine and trust you with their business. 

Why are authenticity and trust so important in sales?

Being an authentic person means you act in ways that show your true self and how you genuinely feel, compared to only showing part of who you are, or completely acting like a different person. Typically, it’s easy to tell when someone isn’t being authentic, and when that happens, people are less likely to trust you. If people don’t trust you, they’re not going to buy your product or service, because they don’t think they can trust the brand or product you represent by extension.

Staying true to yourself and your clients while in a sales role can be difficult because you want people to like you, and you want to make sales. However, you need to be sure you’re not acting in a way that doesn’t come instinctively to you. 

When you’re an authentic person, people naturally gravitate toward you and listen to what you have to say. This is because they have no reason not to. Being authentic not only helps you increase your sales average, but it also helps form a positive brand experience for people. 

How trust builds client loyalty

You may have heard the oft-quoted statistic that obtaining a new client costs five times more than keeping an existing one. Even though this fact has been known and recited for quite some time, it still holds true today. 

People will purchase from you and refer you and your products or services if they trust you. In fact, 83% of people say word-of-mouth endorsements influence their purchases. By showing yourself to be a trustworthy and authentic person, you’ll find your clients will refer their friends and acquaintances to you because you’ve made them loyal to your brand. You’ll also find people are more willing to ask you questions since you’ve been able to provide them with trustworthy guidance before.

Trust should be the foundation for every sales transaction. As a salesperson, it’s your duty to be as authentic and trustworthy as possible in order to put a good face on the company and to do your job properly. 

If you lie to clients or potential clients just to make the sale, they’re going to think badly of your company, and won’t use your product or service again. Be sure that you’re working on your sales skills in order to best help your clients.

How can I build my sales skills to foster trust

By continuing to work on your sales skills, you can build more trust between yourself and existing and new clients. Doing these simple exercises will help you grow your sales.

Be a product expert

Having extensive product knowledge is one of the best ways you can start to build trust with potential clients. You need to understand everything about the product or service you sell in order to accurately answer any questions they have. 

If a potential client asks you a question, and you don’t know the answer, it diminishes everything else you’ve said. However, if you’re able to accurately answer all of their questions, they’ll consider you an authority figure and trust what you’re saying.

If you’re having a hard time understanding the product or service you’re selling, let your manager know you need more training. There’s no shame in asking for help in order to better assist your clients. Also, try using your product or service, look at it through the client’s eyes so you can learn your own style of selling the product.

Focus on customer satisfaction

It’s proven that a 10% increase in a company’s client satisfaction ends up leading to a 12% increase in client trust. The best way to improve client satisfaction is by going the extra mile and ensuring that the product or service is working in the way they expect it to. 

Most people think that once you buy something, you don’t hear from the salesperson anymore: reach out to your new clients and ask them how they’re doing and how they like what they bought. This way, you’re being proactive, and if they’re not getting the most out of what they purchased, you can help them use it in the best way possible.

Be an active listener

In order to be a great salesperson, you need to be sure you’re practicing active listening. You need to listen to your clients with the mindset of understanding them, not just responding to them. If you’re not actively listening to what they say, you may not be able to give them exactly what they’re looking for, so be sure to understand what they need and want before you start recommending products or services.

Be a problem solver

Another sales skill you need to be sure you’re working on is being a problem solver, rather than being a pusher. According to a study by HubSpot, the number one word most people associate with salespeople is the word “pushy”. Instead of just trying to close the sale, be sure you’re working with your clients to give them exactly what they need. 

Sell benefits, not products

This can be a little confusing because as a salesperson you want to sell your product or service to your clients. However, instead of approaching sales as moving products, try thinking of it as selling benefits to each of your customers. Since you have made it a practice to actively listen to each client, you should have a clear understanding of their precise needs, so instead of merely indicating a product will work for them, show them the benefits of that product that are specific to their individual needs.

Treat clients like friends

A great way for you to build trust that leads to more client loyalty is by treating them as you would a friend or family member. You wouldn’t recommend a bad product to a friend or family member, so don’t do it to your clients either. If you start treating them more like friends rather than as a source of income, the trust is going to build naturally and over time, their customer loyalty will grow.

Offer a loyalty program

To get clients coming back repeatedly, try implementing a customer loyalty program. If your margins are tight and you can’t offer discounts, you can still have a loyalty program that rewards clients for coming back over and over again. With existing customers being 50% more likely to try new products compared to newer clients, implement a program where loyal customers are able to try new products before they’re released. 

Put everything on the table

Some people feel that bad reviews will be the death of their business, but the reality is, if you don’t have any negative reviews, people aren’t going to trust that you’re actually being honest. It’s true you won’t be able to please everyone, so you shouldn’t beat yourself up over a negative review. Leave it up there and if asked about it, explain that not everyone is going to be a good fit for the product. Be honest and forthcoming and your potential clients will appreciate you telling the truth and trust you more.

Be dependable and reliable

Being a dependable person in sales goes a long way. If you’re available for your client when they need you, they’re going to feel better about their purchase, and be more likely to continue buying your product or service. When you offer stellar customer support, your clients will feel more confident in their purchase and trust buying from you again.

However, if you ignore your clients, whether on purpose or not, they’re most likely not going to use your product or service and end up going somewhere else. That’s why it’s important to not only build your sales skills but to also use sales tools.

Sales tools you can use to foster trust

When trying to build up trust with your clients, you can’t simply rely on your sales skills. You also need to expand the types of sales tools you’re using in order to provide them with the best service possible. 

Use a CRM

A customer relationship management (CRM) system is your company’s database for all client knowledge. You can store your client’s details, notes, and email conversations all in one place for easy access. This also helps your company’s brand as well, because if you’re unavailable, and you have a CRM, another salesperson can jump in and help the client seamlessly. 

Integration software

Integrate your emails with your CRM so you can keep track of all of the communications you’ve had with that client. If you sell multiple products, you don’t want to try to remember what each person was interested in, instead use email integrations, and let the sales tool do the remembering for you. 

For example, Nutshell is a comprehensive CRM that can integrate with your emails to keep all communication in one place. This helps to take the guesswork out of your sales and makes your clients feel like more of a priority.

Engagement software

Another way you can use sales tools to your advantage is by using a sales engagement software. An engagement software helps you automate communication with your clients so you’re less likely to miss a call or forget to email them. 

If a lead isn’t ready to do a product demo, or buy yet, instead of constantly pestering them, you can include them in an email marketing workflow. The workflow can be tailored to their specific needs based on what you talked about, and it can help to nurture them until they’re ready to buy.

Use pipeline management

Pipeline management keeps your leads in order. Using a CRM’s pipeline management features, you can easily see what stage all of your potential clients are in, and move them around when it’s time.

This helps you build trust with your clients because you’re interacting with them at each stage they’re ready for, and it helps keep your clients straight. You don’t have to wonder what you’re supposed to talk about with which client, you can easily see it from a broad view.

Hot leads

Another tool that helps you identify the stages your clients are in is hot leads. This tells you when a client is most likely to be ready to purchase. Hot leads are a great way to prioritize your clients based on their individual needs. 

Social tools

If your company does Facebook advertising, you have to use a Facebook integration to get the sales information on your computer. You should also do the same thing with Twitter ads, or any other social media platform you use to get leads. By using these integrations, you’re able to respond to clients as quickly as possible without having to check all of your social media accounts.

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Start building your sales skills today

Now that you know the necessary sales tools and have the sales skills to build trust with your clients, the next best thing for you to do is get out there and practice. Get comfortable using sales tools that are new to you, and if you need help with those tools, consider searching reputable sales blogs for tips and tricks.

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