For most of us selling a solution, whether a product or service, we have come to expect a long, often drawn-out sales cycle. There are a lot of factors that go into the decision to buy or not to buy, including the product or service in question, the needs of your customers and your salesmanship abilities. But one of the most underrated, yet powerful aspects of the sale is building trust and credibility with your audience, and this requires four elements.
1. Them-centric Behavior
No different to when you are face-to-face at a first appointment, building trust and relationship requires you to think of them, the customers, as the key drivers for your actions. What do they want and need to know? What will they respond to?
For example, if you see an article or news that you believe from your discussions with your customer they would value or be interested in, send it to them even if it may have nothing to do with what you sell. The receiver will view you as being interested in their success and not just making a sale.
It may be more how you behave than it is what you say. Think of friends that you view as trustworthy and dependable. What do they all have in common? Regardless of their differing personality types and characteristics, you know that you can count on them to live to their promises.
That is how you want your prospects to think of you. As salespeople, just like in any personal situation, we need to be consistent in everything we do. We need to set precedents we know we can maintain. We need our audience to be able to entrust us to do something and know we will always deliver.
Call when you say you will, deliver what you promise, be honest about pricing, be on time, be prepared and show respect.
3. Less but More Frequent
Recognize that even extremely interested prospects have busy lives and short attention spans. Your prospect is being bombarded with information all day, so pick what genre you want to focus on—your company or your products and services—and keep it short and spread it out.
If you have, for example, five pieces of information you feel your prospect should learn about you, break it up and send one at a time over several weeks. It will be easier for them to digest, not to mention the fact that you now have the chance to get your name out there five times instead of once.
In the world of educating your prospective customers, variety can be the difference between your message successfully getting across or not. Remember that not everyone likes communicating in the same way. Some prefer e-mail, some enjoy hard copy and others really just want to see your face.