“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” said George MacDonald, the Scottish Novelist.
We all know that trust is essential in sales. But, often, trust feels like something that is hard to earn or quantify. In the bookThe Trusted Advisor,Green, Maister and Galford, found a way to deconstruct how to instill a feeling of trust with clients and customers.
Here is their trust equation:
< Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy
Self Interest >
In other words, the more credibility, reliability and intimacy is established, and the lower the perception of self interest, the more your clients and customers will trust you.
Let’s break this equation down so that we can really understand what we need to do to earn the trust of our clients and customers.
In order to be perceived as “credible” you need to consider how you communicate.
We form impressions very quickly and they tend to last. What would be the first words that a customer might use to describe you simply because of how you look? Are you dressed and groomed appropriately for the job you do?
Do you end your sentences with a rising voice? If you do, you will sound as if you are asking a question, undermining your sense of credibility. Imitate how newscasters commonly speak by dropping your chin at the end of each sentence. It will make your voice sound more credible.
Do you share your expertise through writing blogs, articles or newsletters? Does your LinkedIn profile have recommendations from current and former clients? Are you active in social media? Do your tweets share your knowledge with the world?
This one is simple. Do what you say you are going to do. Show up early for meetings. Send information when you say you will. Follow through on commitments.
This is really the most emotionally based component of the equation. Intimacy is about the level of safety a client or customer feels about sharing important information, and, how transparent you are in your communications with them. Asking how an issue or decision might impact a client or customer personally is one way to start building professional intimacy.
Even if you are extremely credible, 100% reliable, and have professional intimacy, when a client or customer feels that your recommendation will benefit you more than it will them, you will still not be trusted.
This means that you must always focus on what is best for your client or customer. The more your recommendations or solutions are client-focused, not you-focused, the more likely you will earn someone’s trust. The goal should be to become a trusted advisor. Sales people sell, but trusted advisors help people make buying decisions.
All this means that you need to STOP SELLING. Remember, as Jeffrey says “People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.” Follow this trust equation to help your client or customer consider you a trusted advisor and improve your performance, and ultimately, your bottom line.