In the modern sales process, trust is the most important factor. If your prospects trust you, they'll be much more likely to work with you and recommend your products and services to others. In this blog, Rowley Cubitt, Head of New Business at The B2B Marketing Lab, explains how salespeople should go about building trust.
Of all the professions in the world, marketers and salespeople are the least trusted to tell the truth. That’s according to IPSOS’ MORI Veracity Index report from 2018.
In the report, only 16% said they would trust advertising executives – a catch-all term for those in marketing and sales – to tell the truth. Nurses came out on top, with 96% of respondents saying they would trust them.
But the distrust of marketing and salespeople is well-known. Some would even argue it’s well-founded.
And it’s not surprising – especially when you think about how marketers and salespeople have been interrupting and pestering people for decades, forcing products and service onto them left, right and centre.
Fortunately, things nowadays are much different, and marketers and salespeople that interrupt and pester potential prospects put their emails on a one-way track to the trash.
To engage with prospects, marketers and salespeople need to build trust.
In this blog, I’m going to talk briefly about building trust and why admitting you don’t know something can be beneficial to your sales relationships.
Building trust and knowing when to say you don't have an answer
In our experience, explaining to prospects how you have helped others with similar problems and challenges will reassure them that you know what you are doing. This goes a long way to building trust.
But at the same time, you also need to be prepared to put your hand up and say you don’t have an answer when you don’t have an answer.
It might sound counter-intuitive, but by admitting to clients early on that you don’t know or don’t have an answer to their question, you signal to them that you are open and honest. You also avoid the awkward situation where you say you can do something but can’t.
That said, don’t end the conversation there. Admit you don’t know but follow up with something like: “I can get you in touch with someone that does.” At this point, you can refer the client to a colleague of yours that has an answer for them.
Using this approach ensures you don’t lose the client and can demonstrate value across different areas of your business. Don’t just say to your clients “I don’t know…” say to them “I don’t know, but I can put you in touch with someone that does.”
Why saying you don't know can help you when you do know
If clients know you are honest and open – when you do have an answer, prospects will be much more appreciative of your expertise and trust it.
Also, if you have case studies or reports that you can show to prospects to illustrate how you have helped clients with similar issues, do so!
Building trust is the most important part of the sales engagement process. If your prospects feel they can believe in what you have to say, it’ll be much easier for you to get them on board and working with you, as well as demonstrate value.
Starting new relationships
Through trust comes relationships, the holy grail of all sales engagements. Is this something you have done subconsciously? Is this something you agree with? Is this something you would never do?
Either way, the truth remains that if you don’t or can’t answer a prospect’s question, they’ll go to someone who can. Better to own that conversation, direct them to someone that can and provide them with any other information they need.
In the age of Inbound sales, helping takes priority over hard sales tactics. Buyers are more educated, have more choice, and can access huge resources (i.e. the internet) to check on what you are saying, so you can’t just ‘wing it’. You can’t.
My advice? Admit it when you can’t answer something and find someone in your business that can. It will help more than you will know.
Looking to enhance your sales processes? Why not book some time with Rowley and find out how he can help.