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Trust: The lost art

Over the last 10 years the Internet and social networks have completely changed the way people buy. They can get as much information as they want about any product or service in the comfort of their own home, on their terms and without speaking to a single person.

Sales people existed because they were the primary way consumers could get all of the information they needed. This is no longer the case.

We work with dozens and dozens of sales teams every year. The reason they call us is because they are not reaching their goals like they used to. We have identified three reasons why:

1.     Prospects are harder to reach

2.     There is more noise in the marketplace than ever before

3.     The individuals on the sales team don’t bring additional value to the table

The last point is the hardest for them to grasp and the most important.

You see sales people like to pride themselves on product knowledge. While product knowledge is still important, it is the easiest for prospects to get themselves, but it’s also the easiest thing for sales people to learn and focus on.

So what are your potential customers really looking for?

Someone they can trust. Yes, trust. It’s the number one thing your prospects are looking for.

Chances are someone can buy what you sell from multiple sources, either online or through bricks and mortar. There are just too many choices today and you can no longer simply click on your open sign and wait for your register to ring.

I don’t know if people are smarter today, but they sure have access to more information. The problem is they don’t know what information to trust. The opportunity for today’s sales people is to become a trusted resource that prospects can count on.

It starts with having a give first attitude. What separates great sales people from average is that they help and give away their knowledge and expertise even if they can’t directly benefit from it.

We’ve heard from numerous sales people about how they need to make sales now and can’t wait for relationships to foster.

First of all if you’re focused on is sales and not creating life long customers you will be in trouble sooner than you think. Second, it’s not just about relationships, it’s about positioning yourself as a trusted resource. It’s about building credibility in your market and becoming known for something.

It doesn’t matter what type of sales you’re in.  From retail to services, from manufacturing to tourism, you can position yourself to your target market as an expert. The main thing to keep in mind is that this isn’t a strategy or a tactic; it’s a sales philosophy that must become part of everything you do.

Here are five things you can do to get started:

1.     Decide what you want to be known for. When you look at successful people they are known for something; they stand for something. What do you stand for? What do you want people to think of when they think of you?

2.     Understand what’s really important to the people you want to help. What are the top questions you get asked or that cause the most anxiety for your customers?

3.     Create content to share your knowledge, expertise and experience without expectation of return

4.     Constantly gather feedback from the people you work with and your customers about what they’re interested in and what their needs and wants are

5.     Work at this everyday. There are no short cuts

You have the opportunity to use technology to your advantage by using it to give trusted advice and extra value to the people you want to serve. If your competitors are not doing this, the opportunity is even greater.

So don’t wait for the perfect time of year to start this because that will never come, just get started today and soon you will see results you haven’t realized before.