Seven Steps For Building Trust with Prospects:
A prospect who trusts you becomes a client who trusts you. They will work with you through challenges and will not hesitate to be a referral source in the future. Trust is not just the main ingredient in the sale, but it’s also the main ingredient in a referral… and referrals are the lifeblood of successful B2Bs.
When calling a prospect for the first time, it’s likely you have some basic marketing records to work with. The temptation is to plow through a list of prospects like it’s a numbers game, trying to find the warm leads in a pile of cold leads. But a good salesman warms up his prospect list by building trust.
So How Do You Build Trust With Prospects?
It’s important to be adequately prepared before reaching out to a prospect. This means gathering as much information on the prospect as possible. Visit their website to learn more about the company. Check out their social media pages. Are they bragging about recent milestones on their LinkedIn Page or announcing a new location on their Facebook page?
Did you know you can Append Website Addresses to an Entire Business Database?
Are they members of their local chamber of commerce? BNI? Rotary? Knowing these things can help give insight into the culture of the business before making the call.
When reaching out to prospects, ask thoughtful questions. The earlier research comes in handy here. You already have very specific and personalized topics to ask them about. It may be tempting to dive into a script, but you already know your sales offerings like the back of your hand. Getting your prospect talking about themselves builds the kind of rapport that will allow you to deliver that saved up sales pitch to a willing audience as the conversation progresses.
This is the part where the sales person isn’t talking. That also means not interrupting. When it is your turn to speak, don’t talk too fast and overwhelm your prospect. Allow ample pauses in case they have any questions or objections. Allow them to interject and then listen to what they have to say. It’s vital to know this person’s needs, frustrations, goals. Take note of any problem you might be able to fix or help with – even if it has nothing to do with your services or products. Keep an ongoing list as you hear your prospect identify their needs.
“Most people think ‘selling’ is the same as ‘talking.’
But the most effective salespeople know that listening
is the most important part of their job.” -Roy Bartell
Because you’ve been actively listening, you know what your prospect needs. This is the perfect time to offer help. It could be as simple as a useful link, a cool app or resource, or even a service or product that you offer. It could be a case study that addresses one of their objections or a detailed price list to help them understand the costs of what is being offered. Whatever you offer, offer them something you already know they’ll say yes to, because they just told you they need it.
Whether trying to establish a meeting, or simply find time to discuss offerings via the phone, it is important to accommodate the needs of the prospect. Always meet them more than half way. Allow them to designate a preferred time to meet or speak. Accommodation is like gift giving. People feel the need to reciprocate when they are given a gift, and they may very well reciprocate by saying yes to your sales pitch.
Commitment is a reflection of integrity, and integrity is the cornerstone of trust. Former publisher of SUCCESS magazine, Darren Hardy once said that commitment is doing the thing you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you. But just as important as committing to doing the things we say we will, is not committing to do the things that we might not be able to do. It takes humility to know one’s limitations, and to demonstrate humility is to demonstrate integrity. In short, never over-promise, and always keep your promises.
Checking in is simply a friendlier way to execute the process of “following up”. A follow up schedule could extend as far out as 12 months. In this time, it is important to utilize the information gathered in previous talks. With a list of their needs, problems and concerns on hand, ask them how they are doing in each area. Even after the sale, it is important to offer help and support. If done right, the trust built from being actively invested in their success will lead to improved closing rates as well as ongoing referrals.
If you aren’t doing all of these things yet, that’s okay. If building trust is your goal, you are already on your way to being a better salesperson.
Get a Head Start on the Checklist by Building a Robust, Targeted Prospecting Record