As consumers we all know that if we trust the sales person it feels instinctively right to buy from them. But as sellers how well do we understand how to build trust with our clients?
Charles H Green developed an excellent, simple yet practical equation to help all of us in business to increase our trust quotient. Charles H Green’s equation is this:
T is Trust, C is credibility, R is reliability, I is intimacy and S is self-orientation. Looking at the equation to build trust you need to increase your credibility, reliability and intimacy whilst reducing your self-orientation.
So let’s break each component down and give you a few key tips.
Credibility is all about having people believe in you and it comes from the Latin verb “to believe”.
When you're building credibility it's important because your customers need to know, they need the assurance that they can afford to invest their time, their money and energies in you, they need to believe in you.
Here are three top tips for increasing credibility:
- Communication is key. In particular active listening and avoiding jargon.
- Have the knowledge that customers would reasonably expect you to have. Are there LinkedIn groups, professional bodies or publications that are relevant to your industry? If so use these publications, continually building your knowledge
- Be consistent, it’s much easier to believe in a person that doesn’t blow hot and cold.
This means delivering what you promise to deliver you do what you say you are going to do. So how do we go about doing that?
1. Be very clear on what you are going to deliver and when we are going to have it done by. Make sure we you don’t over promise on something that you can’t possibly delver to.
2. What are the core components and the key elements that we need to do in our job? Sales people often get dragged into activities that don’t help to meet the client’s objectives. We need to be crystal clear on what we need to be doing to deliver to our clients.
Intimacy is a strange word to be using in a business context particularly in Britain, it's very closely related to empathy and that's about recognising others emotions. So the question is, what can you do to increase trust by increasing intimacy? Well as with credibility there's a number of steps and these are the three that we believe are the most important, the most critical to building trust.
- Accept your vulnerabilities. You’re not Superman so if you make a mistake admit it. Similarly if you're in a very uncomfortable situation acknowledge it, it's not a sign of weakness it's about being bold and people will recognize that.
- Be positive, appreciate really appreciate what your clients do for you. Without clients where would we be? This is something that researchers call capitalisation and it's shown to strengthen relationships. So when your clients buy from you or give you a recommendation or a repeat order remember to thank them.
- Remember that whatever you believe you are not b2b you are not b2c you are person to person, we’re not being cheesy you need to remember to be human. What does that mean? It means remember to use your customers language remember to use their name, show them that you care.
Self-orientation is the only element that you need to reduce, so what is self-orientation? Well it's about where your focus is. Is it on you, your business, and your products or services or is it on your customer, their challenges, their needs and their aspirations? To increase trust we need to shift the focus to our customer especially in terms of our communications. Now this can be boiled down to two core elements:
- Listening, really listen don't dive in, don't dive in to fill a gap in the conversation, no diving on top of something that might lead to a link to your product or service instead wait be patient, and listen to build the full picture so that you genuinely understand.
- Shape your questions so that you're encouraging your customers to talk now this means avoiding the I statements, keeping away from leading questions and making more use of "tell me".
We hope you find these tips useful and you can see more of them via our Try This This Week video blogs. Short simple to implement tips to try that week. Simply follow this link.