The internet is inundated with “experts” trying to convince us of something. In a world where anyone can host a website and blog their brains out with no accountability, who can you trust? In the information age, it has become increasingly important to be wary of what we read.
Interestingly in the SalesEdge Summit – Customer 2.0 this week their study gave testimony to this same issue: they said that customer trust levels have fallen 20% with regards to sales people – from 58% to 38%!
I’ve always been a fairly skeptical person myself, so I can relate. How do I decide whether I can believe something or not?
• Does the person making the claim have credibility? Are they walking the talk?
• Research the claim – can it be verified by other sources that have no connection to the first and nothing to gain by their agreement with the claim?
• Discuss it with peers – what has been the experience of others who I DO trust?
• Apply reason and intuition from my own personal experience. Does it make sense? Does it feel right?
I don’t think my process is all that different from most people; which begs the question: what in the world has happened to cause customers to further lose trust in salespeople? More importantly, what can be done to restore that trust?
To me the answer is pretty simple. Customer’s don’t trust salespeople for the same reason most people have for not trusting someone:
• Customers have been lied to.
• They have not gotten what was promised.
• They have been underwhelmed by some sales person (and it didn’t have to be you).
How can I fix that? There’s only one way I can think of: Engage them with the opposite behavior.
• Tell them the truth.
• Deliver what I promise.
• Overwhelm customers with helpful, sincere actions that align with their goals.
Stephen R. Covey put it well when he said: “You can’t talk your way out of what you’ve behaved yourself into.”
The only way I know to recover trust is to be trustworthy; and even then, it takes time. Customers need to experience me living up to my word in relevant, helpful ways many times before they will be comfortable trusting me with their business needs. If you don’t believe it, ask a customer.
About the author: Don F Perkins is a sales professional and writer with a background in mobile supply chain and technical solution sales.
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