One of the guiding principles of B2B sales is that ‘a buyer won’t buy from you until they get to know you… then like you… then trust you.” It can’t and it won’t happen any other way.
And of those, ‘trust’ is the most difficult to achieve. But ‘trust’ isn’t just about you. Your firm (and its staff and its services & products) also has to be trusted by the buyer. So, how can you help a buyer reach that level of trust in you and your firm?
There are a number of actions you can take to enhance your trustworthiness, but remember… before ‘trust’ comes ‘know’ and ‘like.’ So, make sure you’re supporting those, too.
Here are a few ideas to help buyers get to know and like your firm…
- Make sure your website clearly shows what you do, who you do it for, the kinds of client problems you solve and how you’re different from your competitors.
- Be active on social media; don’t just sell but be helpful, interesting and even entertaining.
- And importantly, showcase your employee profiles on your website. Buyers want to know who they’ll be working with. Show photos, share something personal and include links to their LinkedIn profiles.
To build trust in your firm…
- Showcase your expertise by producing your own content:
- Write blog posts
- Produce videos
- Present webinars
- Speak at conferences
- And prove that your firm can do what you say you can do:
- Have a ready list of references
- Include a list of clients and industries served on your website
- Make available case studies
- Referrals; those being referred come to you with a certain level of trust right from the start (Need more referrals? Ask current clients for them!).
All of those activities help buyers trust that your firm can get the job done!
But what about you personally?
First, establish the foundation of know-like. Do things like:
- Stay top-of-mind: send emails, check in occasionally by phone, meet them for coffee (after COVID), be connected on LinkedIn so they see you and your posts, etc.
- Send ‘thank you’ notes – handwritten, not emails – following important calls or meetings.
- Don’t just talk business, get to know your clients & prospects on a personal level.
- Be helpful, share resources, invite them to a webinar, etc.
- Be enthusiastic… someone who’s excited about what they do is magnetic.
- Most importantly, just be nice; be someone the buyers like to be around.
Once the foundation is established, ‘trust’ can be achieved by the following:
- Be brutally honest. Don’t tell the buyer what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. And if you don’t know the answer to a question… that them that, but also tell them you’ll go find out.
- Stop selling so hard… and focus, instead, on helping your clients & prospects. Show the buyer that you have their best interests at heart.
- Use good interpersonal skills… shake their hand when meeting (after COVID), look them in the eye when talking (even on Zoom), give them your undivided attention, etc.
- Do what you say you’re going to do (even the very little things). If you tell them you’ll send them the case study tomorrow… then send it to them tomorrow! Credibility leads to trust.
Building a trust relationship takes time. Every once in a while, you’ll meet someone and there will be an instant connection… and instant know-like-trust. But that’s really rare. In 99% of the cases, it’s going to take time, so be patient. And if you’re the one doing the selling, tell your boss to be patient, too.
Remember this: even if a potential client gets to the necessary ‘trust; level, there’s no guarantee they will buy from you. But I can guarantee that if they never get to that trust level, they will never buy from you.
Good luck and good selling.