Trust, The Power Word in Sales
By Harlan H. Goerger
We started out on an advanced concept of dealing with resistance from customers. As we
got started I could see the looks of confusion and frustration. This was not going to be
easy to get through to them.
"Ok, that's great", says one participant, "but we will never get the time to do this. They
hang up on us before that! Can you help us get them talking long enough to get to that
Now I had to hide my frustration and tossed the prepared material to the side. "Ok, give
me the skinny on what you're dealing with!"
Did I get them talking then! For 10 minutes they unloaded on being unable to crack the
tough customers that would not even give them the time of day. Have any of them
So here is what we didů..to get the group thinking a bit differently.
I'm not sure why, but it seems that sales people forget they are also buyers. For some
reason we get into the sales role and loose all understanding of what it is like to be the
buyer! It's the same with management and employee.
"This is what we need to do; you are all buyers and your phone rings with a salesperson
on the other end. What is most important to you in giving them any time at all?"
As they listed several items like benefits, fix problems, save money, new ideas, trust and
several others. The next question is, "Of all the items listed, if you could only have one,
which would you choose?"
The close to unanimous answer was "Trust"!
That is interesting, as a customer you would choose "Trust" as the most important
element in buying from a salesperson. Yet you approach the prospect with your product!
We continued to discuss what this word "Trust" meant to them as buyers and why it was
so important. They brought out what made a "Trust Relationship" such as,
dependability, quality, consistency, familiarity and every one of the 10 laws of persuasion
were touched on.
In his article last week, Dr. Hogan also referred to "Trust" as the quickest way to a sale.
One of his examples was top brands such as Coke, Starbucks and other national brands.
You order a Coke because you have a given expectation of the taste and consistence of
the product. If it did not meet those expectations what would happen to your "Trust" of
"Trust" also overrides much of the decision process. Starbucks has good coffee, you
think it is the best in the world or perhaps not. Yet when we go into a Starbucks we
expect to pay five dollars for a coffee and have certain expectations as to the taste and
quality of the coffee. As long as our expectations are met within reason, we pay the five
dollars without question. Why is that?
Here comes that word again; "Trust". As long as people's expectations are met, most do
not ask and will shell out what ever it takes to get those expectations! That is the power
of "Trust"! This is also why branding works; it meets up with the expectations in the
So let's get back to our sales team and how they can use "Trust" with these tough to
"So you are saying that the most important element in a buying relationship is whether
you "Trust" the salesperson or their company?" "Yes" is the answer.
What if we forget about our product, company and ourselves and approached the
customer with the idea of "Trust" first? After all we can reject the product, the company
and the salesperson. How easy is it to reject the idea of "Trust"?
We then worked on some approach language based around the "Trust" relationship they
said was so important. Here are a couple of samples:
"Mr. Grower, this is Joe with Grow Seed. Now I realize the last thing you want is
to have some guy bend your ear this time of night about seed... At the same time
how would you feel talking about starting a "Trust Relationship" that will be
valuable to both of us for years to come?"
"Mr. Grower, this is Joe with Grow Seed, now before you go hanging up, I am not
calling about selling you seed!.. I am calling about how you and I could start a
mutually beneficial "Trust Relationship" like the ones I have with my other
customers. How would you feel about that?"
All of the participants at the session felt they would have to respond positively to the
statements as customers. This idea of "Trust" is hard to reject.
The group was going to try several of these statements with the tough nut customers that
were not giving them the time of day. What do they have to loose? I've not heard the
results as of yet, but you might try it yourself on those tough ones!
As a customer there are many times that our expectations may not be met and if we recall
these times, what has happened to our trust in that product, company or person? So we
could agree that this idea of "Trust" is important foundational issue in sales and
To create, build and maintain this "Trust" what do we have to do?
First, when we approach a customer, employee or person, are we approaching them
based on our needs, wants or desires or theirs? If it is based on them you have a greater
chance of creating some initial trust.
Second, we needed to understand their expectations and if we can actually meet or
exceed them. Gaining a good understanding can be as simple as questioning them about
their expectations and how they measure or determine they are being met.
Third, we need to assure them we can meet those expectations through using evidence
such as testimonials, stories, examples or other means that support the same expectations
as they have.
Fourth, we have to consistently meet or exceed those expectations every time. If we do,
the results can be a customer for life!
This applies to customers, employees, family and friends.
Now I know myself that there have been times I have been unable to meet expectations
for many different reasons or excuses. This has resulted in lost customers, employees and
friends. The key is to learn from our past experiences and understand how we missed
those expectations. Then we can work to better meet the expectations we agree to in the
To meeting agreed to expectations and building "Trust"!
For more on building sales, management and personal relationships, check out our web
sites at www.BusArc.com or www.hgoergerassoc.com also check out the blog at
About the Author
Harlan Goerger has been in the training, sales, management and self development field for over 25 years. Currently he is president of H. Goerger & Associates.
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