The business of sales is ultimately about building trust and establishing strong relationships with customers. Good sales people know how to convey a sense of confidence and inspire trust in the people that they meet, while other sales people might struggle to get past the initial obstacles to making a sale – not because they don’t know the technical specifics of the product or solution that they sell, but because they are lacking in the subtle interpersonal skills of building trust.
If your sales are too slow, and you can’t figure out why your product isn’t selling, or you don’t know why your sales numbers are lower than last quarter, there’s probably a more fundamental reason. If people aren’t buying from you, more often than not, the real problem is that they don’t trust you.
Here are a few possible reasons why customers don’t yet have enough trust in you, your brand, your company or your product – and how to overcome this trust deficit to build a lasting business relationship:
1. You Lack Smart Content Marketing
One of the most important ways for B2B buyers to get information about new products and solutions is to read about them online via content marketing – blog articles, white papers, case studies, and more. If your website is lacking in valuable, informative, non-self-promotional content, and if your customers can’t find sources online that they trust to learn the latest news about your products, then customers are going to be less likely to trust you. “Seeing is believing,” and if they can’t easily read about your product to do some upfront research on their own before they even talk to a sales person, they are likely to respond in a lukewarm fashion to any cold call from your sales team.
2. Your Follow-up Process is Uninspiring
What if a prospective customer finds your website or reads a review of your product and then decides to contact your company for a price quote? What happens next? Many B2B companies make the mistake of not doing anything to qualify their new inbound sales leads. Instead of asking questions upfront to engage the prospect and find out more about their needs, too many companies just pass along all of the new sales leads to the sales team – without really taking time to learn more about how to sell to these prospects or how to solve the prospects’ specific problems. If a prospect is ready to talk to your sales team, only to find out that their first conversation is disorganized and lackadaisical, with no clear expectations set for next steps, the prospect might lose confidence in your company and will start to look at your competitors instead.
3. Your Sales People Are Not Customer-Focused Enough
Many sales people are naturals at building relationships – they’re charismatic, they know how to work a room, they know how to make people feel special in everyday conversations. But other sales people might struggle with a few fundamental skills in dealing with customers – and the most important is, “keep the conversation customer-focused.” Make the customer feel like you’re really interested in solving their problem. Be a well informed “industry peer” who can talk the talk and who knows the language of people in the industry. Ask good questions at every stage to uncover the customer’s unstated needs and get a bigger perspective on how your solution fits into their broader business challenges. Show customers that they are more than just part of your sales quota, or a means to an end of closing a deal, and they will be more likely to trust you.
Many sales challenges ultimately come down to a lack of trust. Especially in B2B sales where buyers are investing a lot of money and a lot of time in making their purchase decision, they want to have a strong foundation of trust with your sales people and with your brand. Build trust, establish credibility, and win confidence – and the sales will follow.