How many times have you or a sales colleague wondered “Why is this deal taking so long to close?” There are many reasons but we’d like to focus on one that is rarely discussed: The customer doesn’t trust they are getting a fair deal – and maybe they don’t have enough trust in you.
Since trust, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, it is difficult to get specific on what it takes to earn your customer’s trust. However, there are several actions you can take before and during the sales process that can help you increase your customer’s trust and increase the chances that they will perceive the deal being presented is fair. Shorter sales cycles will be the likely result.
Before the Sales Process Begins
Before the sales process begins, here are some actions that make it easier for a customer to believe you are a vendor worthy of trust…
- Describe your offering and the value it delivers in the customer’s language, using terms the customer understands. Focusing on features and focusing on how great your company may be doesn’t build trust.
- Make your pricing, packaging, and deal structuring sensible, easy to understand and transparent. Transparency and clarity may be the two most powerful trust-building tools at your disposal.
- Avoid rampant discounting and “rogue” sales behavior to build a reputation for dealing fairly with all customers. Monitor discounts to ensure similarly-sized accounts and transactions are charged similar amounts.
Consistency Is Key To Earning Customer Trust
Executing on these actions consistently over time lays a foundation of trust that gives sales reps an important head start in establishing a trust-based relationship with your customer – a relationship that will increase the likelihood the sale will close quickly.
During the sales process, the rep can build trust by demonstrating an understanding of the prospect’s needs and is working towards meeting them. And, equally important, the rep needs to avoid surprises throughout the sales process. Here are some actions that can help…
- Make sure the deal is configured to be well aligned with the customer’s needs. Customers don’t want to feel they haven’t been heard, and they don’t like to buy or pay for what they don’t need.
- Make sure value propositions take into account the concerns of the various parties involved in the purchase decision. Using off-the shelf sales materials that don’t resonate with the customer won’t build trust.
- Anticipate and deal with any “skeletons in the closet” if you are dealing with an existing customer.Review account history so you are prepared to deal with past events that could taint the current sale and the future relationship.
- Balance the needs of both you and your customer when presenting and modifying contracts.Contracts that overwhelmingly favor your side undermine trust and the perception of fairness and will slow down a sale due to protracted legal negotiations.
In a time of increasing distrust, it doesn’t take much to gain the trust of a prospect or customer. Is your company trustworthy enough to take the required steps?