Build Trust: Slam Your Industry | Sales Outsourcing Services and Tips
The initial meeting between a seller and a prospect is a critically important time for the seller. First impressions will almost always determine the trajectory of the sales process. Make a powerful impression and your sales process will be launched upward but just a few missteps at the beginning might cause the whole enterprise to sputter and fall flat. Or crash and burn. If this happens, you might have to call us for our sales outsourcing services.
Sellers certainly know this - which is why they get pumped up about securing the initial call. Proposals are prepared and rehearsed. Hair gets combed and clothes get pressed. This is our time to shine.
But, what exactly are we supposed to be accomplishing during the initial meeting? The answers vary by the type of selling in which one engages. Since we provide expert sales outsourcing service, wetry to the uncover needs, wants, desires, goals and objectives prior to customizing a specific solution, the initial meeting is all about two action items: 1) Gauging our level of credibility and 2) Beginning to establish trust.
By far, the harder of these objectives is establishing trust. When someone first meets with a person they don't know, they do not trust them at all. That's not just true in sales, it's just normal human behavior. People are guarded around strangers.
Many sales outsourcing services attempt to build trust by finding and exploiting commonalities between themselves and the prospect. While this works fine at a cocktail party, this technique is fraught with land mines in a business setting.
Instead of something trite and easily recognized as a selling technique, try something completely different: slam your industry. Let's face it, the prospect is already thinking that sellers are all the same and that you're going to try to dazzle them with your credentials whether they be corporate (#1 for the last five years in customer satisfaction!) or personal (President's Club winner in two of the last three years!).
Instead, acknowledge the problems with doing business in your industry. In practice, it would look something like this:
Prospect: "So, tell me about your radio station."
Seller: "Absolutely. First, though, I want to let you know that there is a problem with the radio industry in general. We've trained sellers to lead with the credentials of their radio stations. So, we trot out rankings and other reports that show we are #1 in this, that or the other. After a while, prospects come to realize that every station can't be #1, so they don't know whom to believe. They find it safest to believe no one and we end up starting business relationships with extremely skeptical prospect who are suspicious of our motives. Have you found that to be the case?"
Prospect: (after a stunned silence) "Yes. We have that problem with all media sellers, not just radio but TV, cable, print, billboards - all of them."
Seller: "Yeah. That is definitely a problem that we've created and one of the results is that clients and advertising agencies have tried to find ways to commoditize our business and compare prices between us with artificial means that don't necessarily measure the nuances that different stations bring to the table. For those reasons and many more, that is why we've decided to do something completely different."
At this point, the prospect will say something but the meaning will always be "tell me more" and you will have a completely engaged prospect who is willing to exchange ideas. The reason for their engagement will be that they trust you - if not completely, then at least a little more than they trust everyone else in your industry.
Let's try an example for those who sell directly to consumers in their homes:
Prospect: "So, tell me what it's going to cost me to replace my air conditioner."
Seller: "Of course. First, though, I wanted to take some time to describe a problem in the HVAC business. Residential HVAC systems are custom built in each home to specifications identified by the seller to solve the problem of effectively heating and cooling the designated space. Since most home owners buy HVAC systems once every 7 - 10 years - if ever - they don't have the time to become experts at pricing HVAC systems. The result is a very wide price differential between reputable HVAC companies. Even though we're looking at the same space, we come up with different solutions based on our level of experience, the types of systems we sell, the expertise of our production crews, etc. Home owners end up confused and they view us with a lot of skepticism."
Prospect: "Wow. I've never heard anybody just come out and say it like that. I mean, it's true but most companies just come here and say they are the best and everyone else isn't."
Seller: "Yes, it's true and it makes us all look bad. That's why we've developed a completely different philosophy."
And, an example in the financial services business:
Prospect: "Why should I choose your firm for my investment needs?"
Seller: "There are several reasons, but first I wanted to let you know of a problem in the financial services industry. In an effort to establish our mutual funds and other financial products as being best in class, we quote rates of return in time periods that make us look good. If the one year rate of return is the highest relative to our competition, we quote that. If the five year is best, we'll quote that. Unfortunately, we've all engaged in this game and the result is that our customers don't know whom to believe about what. That's a real problem for an industry that relies on trust and credibility to grow its customer base."
Prospect: "Yeah, it's true. Everybody's mutual fund performance is 'best in class'. The sales materials don't make it easier to choose which firm is going to be best for me."
Seller: "We agree with you. That's why we've decided to do something completely different."
By acknowledging what your prospect is already thinking, you become a little more real, a little more human and a little more trustworthy. Pulling back the curtain and exposing your industry makes it appear that you have nothing to hide. That vulnerability builds trust and provides you with an advantage not easily duplicated by your competition.
With all things being equal - and with tough competition in every industry they often are the sale is more likely to go to the seller that is more trustworthy.
Now go close some deals! If you have trouble closing those deals, call us. Ask about our sales outsourcing services. Our contract sales force can help you with inside sales and outside sales issues. We can also help manage trade show leads. Call us today.
Lease A Sales Rep - Expert Sales Outsourcing Services