Have you ever thought about why your customers buy from you and not someone else?
Maybe you think it’s because you offer a superior product. Maybe you feel that your service is second to none. Or maybe you just feel that you now more about your area of expertise than anyone else. While any or all of these things may be true, there is another reason that is far more important; one that transcends the rest. I’m referring, of course, to trust. Your customers buy from you because they trust you.
How does trust develop?
It’s based on a relationship. It begins with just liking one another. That’s what “small talk” does. It gets the conversation going. It affords you the opportunity to see what you have in common; and most of all, it tells you if you want to get to know this person better.
What are the grounds for trust in a business relationship?
The first thing is that there must be confidence in your ability to deliver. A track record or a list of former clients doesn’t carry the weight that it once did. No one cares much about what you did for someone else. What they want to know is what you can do for them.
And that leads to the second thing
Who do you care about the most? It has to be them. They know that you want their business, however they will not give it to you if your primary concern is just to get it. You must be solely and wholly focused on giving them all of the value that they need, which may be more than you can give.
That leads to the third thing
You have to be willing to refer them to someone else when what they need is outside of your expertise. It is rare to find someone who can do more than one or two things really well. It also takes a certain humility to be willing to recognise that fact. And so that means that if you really want to demonstrate that you’re trustworthy, you have to be willing to tell your prospect or your customer not only what you can do, but also what you can’t. Quite possibly, you won’t get the order as a result. However, it is just as likely that you will. If the prospect likes you, then he or she will be more inclined to buy from you. In fact, that person may modify the project just so that you can do the work.
How can you destroy that trust?
There are three ways, and they all begin with a shift in your thinking, from a-friendly-chat to a-deal-to-be-made. Notwithstanding the small talk, deals should still come from friendly chats; but some people change the relationship fundamentally when they start to talk about business. And so the first way that trust can be destroyed comes when you change the relationship. Instead of concentrating on how to help the other person, you start to think of the money. The goalposts move, and both of you know it.
A second way comes from trying to impress the other person with your capabilities
You can be sure that the other person wouldn’t be interested in you if he or she didn’t think you could do it. And so to make a special effort to draw attention to your accomplishments sounds very much like: “The lady (or the man) protests too much.” Now instead of appearing to be competent, it may make the other person doubt that you can do the work.
The third way to destroy trust is by lying
This is easily done, even those who wouldn’t dream of doing it. An incorrect assumption the other person makes, for example, can cause him or her to believe something to be true of you if you fail to clarify it at the time. It may seem petty or even embarrassing to you, but you put the relationship on rocky ground if you fail to nip this in the bud. This things have a way of resurfacing, and each time they do, it gets harder and harder to correct the wrong. Not only does lying become necessary, in order to save face; it also becomes easier. And ultimately, that will affect your other relationships as well.
Trust, which takes time to develop, can be lost in a moment. It therefore behooves all of us to protect it at all costs.
If you would like to know more about developing trust in supplier-prospect-client relationships contact me here