Advertising
Advertising

The 5 Keys to Building Customer Trust and Loyalty

The 5 Keys to Building Customer Trust and Loyalty

Today’s customer simply does not trust salespeople. Their skepticism was validated by Forrester research that revealed 59% of B2B customers prefer to make purchases without the assistance of a salesperson. They believe that salespeople have only their own agenda to worry about and that this means they cannot make an unbiased recommendation.

In fact, many consumers decide not to make a purchase altogether because they are wary of being coerced into buying the wrong product or service. Another recent survey found that 48% of B2B purchasers want a new solution but are afraid to pull the trigger because they fear it’s too risky. If you want to build relationships with these customers and close more sales, you need to earn their trust. Here are five important ways you can build trust with a skeptical B2B customer:

1. Address big issues upfront

The key to selling truthfully is figuring out exactly what your customer needs, and knowing if you can fill those needs. Don’t stretch the truth about features or benefits, and don’t promise anything that you won’t be able to deliver. Customers are able to do plenty of research on their own and will be able to see right through you. Instead, be upfront and honest about any potential problems or shortcomings. By bringing them up yourself, your customer will respect your honesty and begin to trust you.

Advertising

If these issues can be overcome, you will be able to start working on a potential solution together. If not, at the very least you will get credit for not wasting your prospect’s time. This will be advantageous in future business dealings when your prospect has the budget, authority, need, and timing to purchase your product or service.

2. Start with a small promise – and keep it

The best way to earn a prospect’s trust is by keeping your word. The ultimate test relies on if your solution meets what they’re looking for, but you can start much earlier than that.

Begin by promising to call or meet them at a specific time or place and show up on time. Promise to send them additional materials the next morning, and keep your word. These are small gestures, but they show that you are serious about keeping your word and will go a long way to building an honest relationship.

Advertising

3. Offer an authentically personalized solution

If you simply offer a customer your standard elevator pitch, it’s going to be hard for them to trust you. After all, it’s the same spiel that you’ve delivered to hundreds of other prospects before them. In order to really start developing your relationship, you need to create a solution tailored specifically for them.

When you start a conversation, listen to their needs and make sure you completely understand the way their business works before making a pitch of your own. With this information at hand, you can develop a presentation focused on their unique problems and how you can address them. If at all possible, discuss how your services can be customized to fit their business. This helps builds trust and ensures your solution is well-positioned.

4. Speak of the competition respectfully

You should avoid mentioning the competition if at all possible, but sometimes you will need to speak about them. Your customer may specifically bring them up, or they could be the elephant in the room. Avoid talking poorly of the competition, even if it’s the truth. This only makes you look unprofessional and untrustworthy.

Advertising

Talk humbly about the competition, and use your own company’s strengths to curry favor rather than negatively exploiting a direct competitor’s weaknesses. For example, you should say something along the lines of: “Company X does provide a comprehensive security suite, but we’re able to offer some additional features such as…”.

5. Sabotage your own sale

In order to be truly trustworthy as a salesperson, you need to be willing to walk away from a sale that just isn’t a good fit. This means you should try to steer a prospect away even if they’re interested and you know for sure that your solution isn’t going to solve their problems. The value of making the initial sale isn’t worth as much as your integrity, or the bad word-of-mouth that could quickly spread.

Instead, you’ll want to build a referral network with other companies that service certain customers better than you do. You can refer these customers to other businesses in your niche and expect to receive referrals in reciprocity. You will help customers find their perfect solution and spread goodwill.

Advertising

Building trust with a skeptical customer is difficult, especially if they don’t give you much of a chance, to begin with. Keeping the information above in mind as you work through the sales process will help you overcome many of these issues, and close more business.

More by this author

Giving Gifts to Clients: How to Avoid a Generic Choice Should Your B2B Sales Team Use Video for Sales Calls? How To Future-Proof Your Website 5 Low-Touch Ways To Keep Sales Leads Warm When They Aren’t Ready To Buy 4 Compromises to Offer When Clients Ask For a Discount

Trending in Entrepreneur

1 13 Characteristics of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs 2 How to Start Working for Yourself and Become Your Own Boss 3 Top 5 Easy-to-Use Accounting Software for Small Businesses 4 10 Best Success Books You Need to Read to Be Great at Business 5 16 Young And Successful Entrepreneurs Who Prove That Age Is Nothing but a Number

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

Advertising

“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

Advertising

The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

Advertising

You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

Advertising

Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

Read Next