Sales is a tough profession; it is not intended for the faint of heart. I compare it to the “glass ceiling” that challenges very talented and accomplished women to succeed in today’s business environment. It’s the sales stigma that works against most salespeople trying to advance an opportunity with a new sales prospect.
“Slick”, “sleazy”, “pushy”, “insensitive” and “arrogant” are often used to describe the way salespeople do their job and “force” the prospect to buy what they are flogging.
It’s not a fair characteristic but it’s real.
It’s almost impossible to sell a prospect anything when they have this bias; when they are predisposed to believing that you really have no interest in their problems, needs and desires and that all you want to do is get the sale and move on to another prospect with the end game of making your bonus.
In sales, no trust = no sale.
Here’s some basic rules to follow to establish “newbie trust”. Remember there is absolutely no reason the newbie prospect should even give you the time of day, much less buy something from you.
Here are my proven trust-building actions.
- Accept that every newbie thinks you have a hidden agenda; all you want to do is make a sale and move on. Factor this reality into your attitude, demeanor and body language.
- Have a medium to long term goal in mind. Choose to maximize sales from this prospect over the long term. Your monthly quota will beget actions that will confirm to the prospect that indeed you are a flogger. Interested only in what YOU can get from the engagement.
- Ask lots of questions in your first encounter. Pitch your stuff only as an answer to a question THEY pose. Stay off your soapbox or you will lose your audience as they run for cover.
- Discover something personal about them. I’m not saying be invasive; simply listen for clues as to who they are and what they value. AND REMEMBER THEM.
- Make notes. Lots of notes. Ask for permission and ensure they see you as a copious note taker. It shows that you care about what they have to say.
- Forget about making a sale in your first encounter. The first conversation with a prospect should be about earning the right for a second conversation. As trust builds the number of potential conversations increases as well. And then… the sale!
Prospects need time. Rush it and you’re done. Push it and you’re done.
Take time and you just might earn the right to their business for more than one transaction.