How do I build trust?

December 12, 2014

By Ray Barry, Chief Shreducation and Member Relations Officer

In the information management and destruction industries, relationships rule the sales process. You get a new client as soon as you build know, like and trust feelings with a prospect. If you lost a deal, it’s most likely because the prospect knew, liked and trusted your competitor more. Ouch, that hurts.

I think most of us know how to build the “know” in our market and we certainly know how to be more likeable with our prospects. But the biggest challenge usually is how to build the trust with your prospects. If the relationship doesn’t start right, it will not end right. Here are some of the top ways to earn trust with your prospects:

  • Respect their time: In your initial conversations, say, “If I caught you at a good time, I’d like to ask you a few quick questions to see if what we have to offer may be of help to you. Would that be ok?” Also, find common ground, but don’t waste time getting down to business. Stick to their time budget as long as it is reasonable for you too.
  • Be on time and follow up on time: Unfortunately, some sales professionals rarely follow up when they say they are going to. Don’t just say “I am calling to follow up or touch base.” That’s what all salespeople say. I like to say “I am calling to continue our previous conversation.” Be different.
  • Be relevant: How does your solution help the prospect’s business? How does your service help them profit more? How do you make their life easier? How can you bring them more clients?
  • Do your homework: Know everything and anything about their business before you meet. There are many tools online to get as much information as possible.
  • Stop pitching, start asking: Jeffrey Gitomer’s mantra is “people don’t like to be sold but they love to buy.” In other words, don’t give a canned presentation or sales pitch to your prospects. Engage them about by asking questions and letting them talk about themselves. The trust meter goes sky high when you let people talk.
  • Down sell: What Ray? Are you crazy? Sounds unconventional? Exactly! Customers are used to the same old sales stuff and most sales professionals try to get as much revenue upfront as possible. Even if you know your prospect may need three bins picked up every month, suggest they start with just one to gauge the volume and test the waters. Their comfort level with you just went up because you didn’t try to take advantage of them like a stereotypical sales person.
  • Train their employees: Thanks to the NAID Customer Employee Training Program, you can train your prospects’ employees on proper document disposal and provide written instructions so they are compliant with current regulations (e.g., HIPAA, Red Flags Rule, state laws). BAM! You just became a trusted adviser.
  • Walk away unless you know you can help the prospect’s business: Trust is something you cannot force. Prospects have more respect for professionals that are prepared to walk away if they can’t improve their current situation. If you know you can improve their situation or business, don’t walk away and start building trust.
  • Speak! Public speaking is the best way to become the perceived expert in your market. However, the message should be about them. Remember, perceived experts gain instant trust.

In a competitive industry and tough economy, a prospect’s trust is more and more important every day. Think of your own purchasing decisions. You probably pay more to do business with those companies and people you trust. Low-cost bidders eventually go out of business while the most trusted companies thrive.