There’s a persistent stigma around sales. Consumers see sales people as dishonest, manipulative liars who will do anything to close the deal. Though inbound marketing has drastically changed the sales role, this stigma remains. And unfortunately, it could be hurting your chances of making sales.
But how can you push back against such a strong, long-held stigma? You can start by focusing your efforts on gaining trust during the sales process. Building trust and credibility with your prospects is a critical part of being a successful inbound seller. Here’s how to do it.
Be an Expert
Unfortunately, a lot of sales people overestimate their competence, but buyers don’t—they’re far more skeptical. Buyers won’t initially believe that you can do everything that you say you can, so they won’t trust what you say. And if they don’t trust your competence, they won’t want to work with you. They won’t accept your advice, your recommendations, your ideas, or your solutions. They’ll think you’re full of it.
The way to gain trust of competence is to be an expert, which means you need to know your stuff, inside and out. You need to know the buyer’s industry and business, competition and marketplace, full set of customer needs, and more. You must effortlessly answer buyer questions. If you want to be a guide on the purchasing journey, you need to prove that you’re competent enough to do it, which means you need to be an expert source of knowledge in your offerings, in the market, and in the sales process. Only then will the buyer start to trust your ideas, your opinions, your advice, and your solutions.
Trust us, the majority of buyers will be suspicious of your intentions. Anything you say or do will be scrutinized. Buyers automatically assume that sales people do not have integrity—that they will say anything to get the sale. And they have good reason—virtually everyone’s been sold something and not received what they were promised from the deal, whether it’s a terrible vacuum without suction or housekeeping services that didn’t measure up. And people remember the times that they’ve been wronged.
So it’s up to you to demonstrate that you truly have integrity, which means you can’t fake it. Show the buyer that you have moral principles—always do the right thing, even in ambiguous situations, whether this means offering a less profitable alternative solution, referring business to another company, or turning down business due to a conflict of interest. Buyers will trust you if they know you have their best interests at heart.
In addition, always honour your commitments. Don’t cancel a meeting or show up late. Send contracts by their due dates, and never, ever go back on your word.
Buyers will be more likely to trust you if you genuinely connect with them. Create shared experiences to expose buyers to your work style and way of thinking. Try to get a lot of face time so you have more chances to connect. People tend to like you more the more they see you. And be a real person. Buyers won’t trust a robot who is only saying what he’s supposed to say. You have to connect with them on a personal level, so talk about real things, not just the weather or your product’s features.
Trust is and always will be a critical component of the sales process—but one that many sales people dismiss. The more trust you gain from your clients during the sales process, the more sales you’ll close.
We’d love to hear more about how you approach prospects and what challenges you face with today’s sales process and today’s consumer. Want to make your voice heard? Take the HubSpot Sales Methodology survey today. It’ll only take a couple minutes and it’s completely anonymous.