Everyone knows we live in a post-trust era. The days when people trusted others until they gave them a reason not to are gone. These days, trust has to be earned.
But trust is what advances the sales opportunity. So how does today’s sales rep build the trust needed to succeed with customers?
Value = Trust: the 21st century sales equation
Today’s customers demand value at every step of the relationship. No value = no trust. No trust = no sale. The 21st century sales rep, who demonstrates value from the beginning of the relationship, builds trust.
What your reps do after the first meeting with a customer has the power to advance the sales opportunity or cause the customer to slam on the brakes. What they do here can either build trust or break it.
A rep’s behavior following sales meetings will either:
- solidify the customer’s impression that the rep offers value and is working to solve his problems, or
- let him know that the rep is just trying to sell him something.
And a rep who’s just trying to sell something is not to be trusted.
Here are five ways you can add value and build trust after a sales call:
- Follow up immediately after the meeting with a summary email stating the customer’s current business issues, proposed solutions, and potential next steps. Ask if there is anything you have missed. This lets customers know you value them because you listened well and want to make sure your understanding of what’s important to them is full and complete.
- Establish a timeframe in which you will respond to any questions the customer raised during the meeting for which you need to do research. Then follow through on providing the answers when you say you will. This lets the customer know that their concerns are important to you, and you’ll respond promptly to them.
- Send a hand-written thank you note expressing appreciation for your prospects’ time within 24 hours after your meeting. This demonstrates that you know how valuable their time is. Making an extra effort to show it differentiates you from the competition.
- Connect with them on LinkedIn, and ask if there is someone in your network they would like to be introduced to. Facilitating connections with folks your customers are interested in creates trust and is a great way to add value during the sales process.
- Send an article on how others have addressed some of the challenges they are facing, even if it seems a small issue that was mentioned in passing and is not related to your product or service. This shows that you have a good knowledge of the customer’s industry and you care about what’s important to them and helping them solving their problems.
Positive experiences after sales meetings have greater impact on a customer’s perception of your sales rep and your company than the initial meeting itself. If your sales reps cannot consistently add value, then it would be better for them never to call on a prospective customer at all than to reinforce a negative impression that they – and your company – cannot be trusted.
If you are a sales leader in today’s world, it’s more important than ever to make sure your reps are creating the right kind of experiences for your customers. Even in this post-trust era, a sales rep who is consistently focused on ways to add value from the very first sales call will build trust and achieve greater success for himself and your company.