The Latest from the ABM Experts
November 2, 2016
3 Keys to Creating Trust Through Honesty in Sales
Written by Drew Kelley
Once upon a time, image was everything. Big ad budgets helped you cast a wider net and swanky façades made the brand appear new and shiny. But now, in an always-on social scene, the mask has been lifted. The porticos and polish that once made the brand shine have been stripped away. Leaving behind just the core and beautiful heart of a brand. If you’re not ready to bare that to your customers, you’ll never earn their full trust.
We all know honesty is the best policy. But the trouble is, we too often believe it in theory rather than in practice. When we feel backed into a corner, stuck in a situation that’s uncomfortable either because you didn’t do what you said you would or you can’t do what they want you to in the time they want you to do it, we think lying, or withholding the truth is a better policy.
But we’re wrong.
Truth breeds trust, especially when there are problems. Sure, people won’t always like what they hear when you tell them the truth, but they’ll respect that you had the courage to own it.
Don’t be a seller of stuff, be a reliable resource.
People say they do business with people they like, but really, they do business with people they trust. The more trust you can create, the more a prospect will share with you. You’ll be in a position to earn the right to know their pain points. And, they’ll be more apt to share their hopes and needs so you can help them make their job easier, make them more efficient, get the raise they’re after. You’ll be able to help them do whatever it is they do, only better.
And when you know their needs, you can make a realistic judgement call whether what you have to offer is actually a good fit. When you’re honest enough to turn down a potential sale, you’re actually building a customer for life. They’re still going to tell their friends all about you and they’ll want to want what you have.
Harbor a community of honesty to lead the customer’s journey.
The key to ignited sales it to create trust through honesty. But creating trust takes time. It takes sales and marketing alignment to guide a deal from awareness to action. And it should be marketing’s goal to build relationships over time. Then, when it’s time to make the sale, prospects will already trust your brand and their ready to sign on the dotted line.
Build a trusting community by being worthy of trust over time. When a person first agrees to show interest in your brand, to read the blog your marketing department has posted online or watch your latest promotional video, they’re taking a leap of faith. They’re wary of you. You’re a new voice in the marketplace (at least to them). But they take a chance and put trust in you anyway because their interest has been piqued.
When they’re interested, prospects dig a little deeper. According to the 2014 State of B2B Procurement study from the Acquity Group, 94 percent of business buyers do some form of research online. So if your company is marketing consistently as an honest brand, and showing their integrity, it’s a good guess prospects will already feel more comfortable working with the sales team.
Trust builds business, but honesty builds trust.
In a world of increasing transparency, authenticity, honesty and integrity are the only means to success. The best sales teams are honest. They’re willing to speak up if conditions aren’t favorable for the customer, even if it’ll cost them the deal. They’re willing to lose the sale if selling would mean violating their word, their values or their principles.
Sell with your heart and your soul, with honesty and integrity all wrapped up in a warm blanket of trust.
Set and meet (or exceed) realistic expectations for your prospects as they enter the funnel. When expectations aren’t met, trust is broken. And broken trust leads to missed opportunities. All despite the countless hours of hard work you’d already put into almost making something happen.
You customers can handle the truth. So tell it.