Manage episode 376854493 series 2952524
For most places in the world, and Japan in particular, when you find a good salesperson, you tend to stick with them. Why is that? There is a huge trust component to the idea that this person is someone you can rely on and who isn’t going to rob you blind, so that they get rich at your expense. There are so many unprofessional salespeople floating around on every continent and this is just base incompetence in action. Then there are evil salespeople who scam buyers, but this is a very small number of crooks and dirty dealers. The problem is that buyers are always thinking of the scammers in any sales transaction. They may not have personally suffered at the hands of these scoundrels, but the urban legends are powerful and the warning signals are always being scanned in the sales talk.
How do we build trust? The most basic requirement is to not lie to clients. Anotherbasic requirement is to have the buyer’s interests at the forefront of your mind rather than your interests. There are different profit margins for products and services. Sales Managers have opinions on what you should be selling, there are sale’s contests to push products etc., which can confuse salespeople as to what they are there for. Any time the equation surfaces that the sale should be more for the benefit of the firm, rather than the buyer, then we are destroying the basis for trust building with buyers.
Buyers follow salespeople they trust around and if your current firm is evil, then keep your customers and move somewhere else. What do the new firms look for in you – how many buyers have you got to bring to the company? Don’t put up with anyone in the company trying to get you to compromise your relationship with your buyers, for some short-term goal like a sale’s contest or a manufacturer bonus for sales over a certain number. These ideas are fine, as long as the filter of fit for the client is applied and you can honestly say that this is a good deal for the buyer, because it will deliver what they are seeking. That is the key consideration – will it give the buyer the outcomes they need or not?
When you operate like this you build up that key trust and your buyers recommend you to other buyers and your good name is out there in the marketplace as someone you can work with and who you can trust. What is the value of that reputation? It is gold! The issue though is you don’t get that prominence after one deal. It takes thousands of deals and many years to build up a following of current buyers and potential buyers, who will look at using you based on what they have heard about you.
From time-to-time things will go pear shaped and you have to do your best to repair the relationship, and that might have some financial elements attached to it, like giving them back their money. Often though, the firm hierarchy will not support you and this is where you can be compromised. That is why leaving for a more stable company who can see the long-term relationship as an asset, is a much better idea. Telling the buyer that you are unable to give them their money back, because of the firm’s policy and that as a direct consequence of their decision toward this client, you are leaving that company, leaves your trust element intact. Clients won’t be happy to not get their money back but you taking the high moral ground will be noted and appreciated. They won’t deal with your company again, but they will continue to deal with you and will speak highly of you to others.
We all know that gaining trust in sales is so difficult and that it takes a lot of time but that is how it is and we have to work within those boundaries. Walking away from a deal that isn’t in the best interests of the client, hurts at that moment, because the revenues associated with that deal won’t be arriving when you need them to get there. That is painful and financially can make things hard. Giving in to temptation to do the deal anyway is a sugar hit and you will suffer massive depression later, when the market hears you can’t be trusted, you are too expensive and because what you offer doesn’t work. Maybe you think you can skid from one client to another before the bad news catches up with you, but that is very optimistic in this internet world, where bad news travels at lightspeed.
The one-to-one personal recommendation from one buyer to a potential buyer is a much slower transition, but the value component of the stacked trust factor is enormous. We will question what we read in our social media feeds, but we will believe what our trusted friend or associate tells us about you. What would you pay to get that outcome? You would pay the price of doing the right deals that are in the buyer’s interests and sustaining that approach over many, many years. That is how you build a following – one trusting buyer at a time.