Establish Credibility Before Asking Your Customers to Trust
Jun 10th, 2011 / Tags: Marketing & Sales
Trust is an important element in the sales process. We all strive to gain the trust of prospects but perhaps we would be better slowing down. Trust never comes instantly or even quickly and is damaged if you try to establish it too soon. The precursor to trust is trustworthiness.
Trustworthiness is about credibility. Evidence that you can be believed. A period of consistent credibility will build trust. It is difficult, if not impossible, to build trust on a first meeting and dangerous to try. You can demonstrate credibility, however, right from your first contact.
People will see the potential for trust in a person who can establish credibility. A person who can demonstrate reasons why they should be believed.
It so happens that the things which establish credibility will, over time, develop trust.
You may be trying to build credibility for a product, yourself, your company or your service. The things that make you credible remain the same.
1. Have a deep and demonstrable knowledge of your product.
Be prepared and able to answer questions. If you do not have an answer do not bluff. Indicate that you know where to find out and return with the information quickly. Only people who do not know are threatened by what they do not know.
2. Be able to call on experts to back up your claims.
In this case customers who have successfully used your product and are prepared to say so may be considered experts.
3. Deliver on promises.
Whether this is something on the packaging, or in the sales blurb or that your sales team say. Make sure it is deliverable. If a claim has not proven itself deliverable, do not make it. Improve your product or sell it differently. Build credibility through the sales process by delivering on your small promises. If you can't deliver on small promises how can you be trusted on large ones?
4. Be able to produce hard evidence if required.
Testimonials, studies, photographs, videos, whatever it is.
5. Background and qualifications.
Show that you, your company and your products have the qualifications to make their claims believable. Again don't stretch the truth. There is nothing wrong with being young and new. It is only a problem if you are pretending to sell on experience.
6. Be reliable.
Whatever it is you said you will do, do it or if not explain quickly what has gone wrong.
7. Be consistent and clear in the way you speak.
If you are relaxed and consistent in the way you speak, even when being challenged or facing objection, you are much more likely to be considered credible.
8. Keep your composure.
Loss of temper or irritability will always be taken as a sign of uncertainty and will damage credibility.
9. Admit mistakes and move quickly to correct them.
Any pretence that there are no mistakes will not survive a credibility test and will not be trusted in the long term.
Consistent application of principles like these will go a long way to establish credibility and over time build the type of trust which underpins a successful business.
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