Trust is the underlying foundation of every transaction. I trust you to give me what I’m paying for. I trust that it is what you say it is, because I trust you. Yes, caveat emptor, but without trust, there would be no buyer to beware.
So the seller’s first job is to establish trust with the possible buyer. There are countless programs, tricks, techniques and strategies for building trust. Some of them even work – some of the time. But most of them are built on air. They don’t relate with the fundamental trust issue – are we trustworthy people? Are we real? Can we be relied upon to provide what the buyer is paying for?
How can you be a more trustworthy person?
Here is Sales Tip #1 – Be Yourself.
Whoever you are, be that way. In the heat of the moment, this usually means – be obvious. If you are nervous to meet Mr. Important, start the conversation off by saying “I’m really nervous!” If you are sweating from the sprint to the meeting after your car died because you forgot to get gas last night, say “Oh my God I’m soaked! This AC feels great.” If you are psyched to be in the meeting because you love this person’s work, geek out on it for a bit – be admiring, be enthusiastic, but be specific and be genuine.
As you prepare for a meeting, Be Yourself by preparing yourself to Be. I’m a genuinely enthusiastic person (as are most salespeople), and I love to find things to appreciate about other people. One time I was going into a meeting with Comcast. I was enthusiastic about the chance to get Comcast as a customer, but I just couldn’t get pumped about Comcast itself. An old friend had brought me into the meeting, so I was genuinely excited to catch up with him. But first I was presenting my company’s products to several executives in my friend’s division. Comcast is known for its terrible customer service, and being a Comcast customer myself, I was not going to be able to genuinely talk about how much I loved Comcast. Nonetheless, I wanted to find something real and immediate to appreciate about my friend’s company.
Luckily, the Comcast reception hall provided exactly what I needed – it was incredible! They have LCD screens stretching 80’ by 30’ wide! 10 million pixels! And not only that, but the content that’s developed for the screens is as good as the best stuff on their cable service. I opened the meeting with how psyched I was to see such a beautiful lobby, such great architecture, such a clear example of a reception hall embodying what the company did. Since I knew myself, and had identified my genuine enthusiasm as an effective personal attribute, I just had to find something to be genuinely enthusiastic about.
In the long term, Being Yourself is about being honest with your strengths and weaknesses. If you are technically smart, show that. Blow your prospects away in your first three minutes by demonstrating your technical grasp of their situation. Are you skeptical that your products can help the prospect? Say that up front. Anyone listening will be impressed with your directness.
Getting to know yourself and then acting yourself are results of a personal process. In the short term, they don’t always work out. You will not close every deal, you will not convert every prospect, by being yourself (so it’s lucky that there are lots of prospects out there – more on that later). You will, however, be more effective in building genuine relationships, and in building trust. And trust, as I said at the top, is the foundation of every transaction.