You may have heard the phrase ‘people buy from people’ many times before without putting too much thought into this very simple truism. Did you know that most companies claim that they would only do business with other companies they believed they could ‘trust’?
As technology advances and everybody tries to leverage powerful new business tools using ‘the cloud’ ,‘machine learning’ and ‘artificial intelligence’ , there will be an increasing demand for talent that can demonstrate mastery of the more ‘people based’ sales skills , especially those that are very difficult to replicate by using technology or automation. For example It is very difficult for technology to do things like ‘build a rapport’ with potential new customers or to try to develop ‘strategic partnerships’ for an organisation ,which means that there has never been a more important time to develop your unique people skills. Some people do possess a natural ability and style that can ooze confidence and more easily establish credibility in a sales environment - but most people learn to develop these particular sales skills , and the successful ones continue to do so over their entire careers.
If you are in a client facing sales role at any level in an organisation you should spend some time and put some extra thought into improving your own set of unique skills and style that will not only enhance your own performance or help deliver sales results in the short term , but will also steadily build your credibility and help you to develop a more successful career long term. One of the most important skills which all these attributes centre around is your ability to build ‘trust’. Often in a sales environment this is specifically called ‘sales-trust'. It is one of the sales skills that requires some thought , effort and energy - especially as trust is something that is usually built up over time. However ,if you want to find a common denominator between the most successful sales and business professionals you will notice that they all have established a good track record , are recognised as having great ‘credibility’, and have built strong lasting relationships with colleagues and customers. There are many great reasons why building ‘trust’ is at the core of success in business and here are just five key reasons you should make ‘building trust’ one of your core skills to build on for a successful career.
#1. More customers will buy from a trustworthy person
If you can genuinely build a good rapport with your customers then they are much more likely to buy from you. ‘Trust’ is always a redeeming feature in the eyes of your customers or clients - and it is one that you can develop more easily with some pretty simple tips - always ‘listen’ to specific requirements , always respond accordingly to meet their needs , try to help solve their problem or address their specific challenges and always do this by being ‘authentic' and ‘genuine’. Always admit mistakes and finally always avoid ‘over-promising’. As soon as you have established that you are 'trustworthy’ you will experience more success with growth in overall sales and you build much longer lasting customer relationships.
#2 You are much more likely to get repeat business , referrals and grow new business if you are ‘trustworthy'
Referrals are one of the most powerful sources of new business for sales growth and you can always dramatically improve and increase the number of referrals once you have built ‘trust’ with your customers. If you think about how most of us go about daily life - we are always much more likely to spend money to buy something or make an investment if it has been highly recommended or endorsed by a family member or close friend. The very same is true for business referrals - if your customer has a very positive buying experience and you have earned their trust - they are much more likely to put their own credibility on the line and be confident to recommend you to a friend or give you a referral. This is a really important aspect to successful sales growth- you are not just trying to make a single sale to one particular customer - you are building a reputation that will potentially spread to a much wider field through referrals from your customers network. Earning their trust is a very powerful and effective tool to earn referrals.
#3 Teamwork is much more effective and successful if the team have high levels of ‘trust’ in each other
Building 'sales trust’ with customers is not the only important kind of trust either. There is overwhelming evidence that teams are much more effective if they have high levels of trust in each other. Think of any examples of some of the most successful teams you have either been a part of or have seen in operation - you will realise that their overall effectiveness and success were always greater when team members have high levels of ‘trust' in each others ability to contribute to the team. This is a powerful component of developing ‘winning teams’ and the more team members that can attain high levels of individual trust in each other- the more effective and successful the team will be.
#4 Trust is a confidence builder
If you can build ‘trust' with your customers then their confidence in you and your business will continue to flourish. Customers are always much more likely to be more satisfied if they have placed their trust in you and then you and your organisation can meet or exceed their expectations. There are so many success stories from businesses all over the world where the relationships built by particular individuals have helped phenomenal growth for brands, organisations and SME’s because they earned ‘trust’ and helped build real confidence in the business. ‘Success breeds success’ is another truism -and very often success has been built on confidence that has been hard earned through building ‘trust'.
#5 Being trustworthy will spread good ‘word of mouth’ advertising about you and your business - this is still one of the most valuable marketing tools for sales in any competitive market
Whenever we read a compelling testimonial, case study or referral about a business or individual we will always naturally place ‘trust’ as one of the attributes we value the most highly. ‘Word of mouth advertising’ remains a very valuable source of promotion for business of all sizes and comes with the added advantage of not costing money to buy. People will talk about your own ‘credibility’ or recommend your business much more often if you have built up high levels of ‘trust’ with your customers. Just remember that trust is 'hard earned’ and ‘easily lost’ and having strong ‘word of mouth’ always cuts both ways for business and individuals - if you lose the trust of your customers they will spread the bad word about your business just as quickly as they spread good recommendations. So be sure to take your ‘trust building’ efforts very seriously and enjoy the success that comes with being a ‘trustworthy’ individual.
So there you go, five compelling reasons why you should pay some attention to the skill of building ‘trust’ . Technology is developing at a fantastic pace and automation will make improvements to our lives but also inevitably lead to job replacement for many tasks currently undertaken by people. That’s why it is increasingly important to build on your skills that machines cannot easily replicate !The truism still holds today - ‘people really do buy from people'- especially from the ones they ‘trust’ the most!
by Dave Hammond
Dave Hammond holds an MBA from Smurfit Business School and has established successful sales teams for leading organisations in the traditional and digital media and mobile sectors in Ireland Australasia and The USA.
He can be found on LinkedIn here linkedin.com/in/dhammondmba .