Consider any of your relationships, whether in business or personal. If there is one thing we’ve learned throughout our existence, it is that no relationship can thrive without trust.
Particularly in business, earning the trust of your potential customers very early on is a critical part of the sales process. If you miss your first chance at trust, the customer will almost certainly take their business elsewhere. If done properly, however, your business may gain a lifelong customer who will eagerly promote you to other potential customers.
So what can you do to ensure trust is built with your potential customers? We asked Service Direct’s Vice President of Sales, Ryan Bohn, for insight into best practices he and his team implement to ensure trust is established early with each potential new customer.
"The key to gaining trust is to be genuinely interested in helping others and show them that's what you're interested in. Don't focus on closing, focus on helping."
- Ryan Bohn, VP Sales at Service Direct
Nothing says “untrustworthy” as quickly as not being around when your customers need you. Even with the added flexibility of support by email, chat, and social media, 68% of all business is still conducted over the phone.
Answering your phone isn’t always easy. If you’re with another customer, or in the process of completing a job, your missed calls may start to pile up. Hiring a receptionist or answering service may be the key to increasing your call answer rate, perfecting your phone etiquette, and be seen as trustworthy by your potential customers from the first interaction.
Trust and respect go hand-in-hand. Listening to what your customer has to say lets them know you respect and value what they have to say. It also allows you to correctly determine what the customer needs so you can recommend the best option. Often times, it’s best to hear your customer out before you even begin talking about your company and what you can offer.
Conveying Service Direct as a trustworthy business is one of the sales team’s main focus. Bohn states listening is a key component of building trust as it’s difficult to know if your service is the best option for a client if you didn’t listen to their needs. He says, “If you're selling a car and someone clearly needs a truck send them down the road. The key to gaining trust is to be genuinely interested in helping others and show them that's what you're interested in. Don't focus on closing, focus on helping.”
Transparency is key.
As the great William Shakespeare said, “No legacy is so rich as honesty.” Being upfront about your pricing, policies, etc. allows your potential customers to know from the start you are not trying to pull the proverbial wool over their eyes. If you’re purposefully ambiguous or dodgy regarding something as basic as price, customers may see this as a red flag alerting them to a potential scam.
But what about the worry of losing a customer by quoting a high price before you’ve established the value of your service? Bohn says that shouldn’t matter. “Give them a straightforward answer even if you know it may kill the deal. You'll be surprised how often it doesn't. In fact, it increases trust and they will likely swallow that pill of an objection they have.”
Provide a consistent, exceptional level of service.
It may sound like a no-brainer, but providing a high level of service will do wonders for your business by establishing respect and trust. But having a few team members who deliver great experiences isn’t enough. To truly earn the trust of your customers, you’ll need to demonstrate you can provide this level of service in each interaction.
Even if you have thousands of employees, your customers should be able to have a reasonable expectation of experiencing a consistent level of service with each interaction. Having a team dedicated to customer service and setting expectations on how to provide service is an excellent way to remain consistent. Being consistent easily establishes a precedent that allows you to be seen as trustworthy.
Establish credibility with customer testimonials.
With popular sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, and now even Google, potential customers can read what others are saying about your business with the push of a button. With 90% of customers checking review sites before buying, you cannot afford to ignore the power of a great customer testimonial.
Being proactive in checking your reviews will allow you to identify those customers who have the potential to promote your business. You can also have a handful of positive reviews ready to share with your potential clients. Plus, keeping an eye on what customers are saying gives you an excellent opportunity to publicly address any negative reviews that will show your potential clients that you do care about resolving client issues.
Protect your image.
When you run a business, your reputation is your most valuable asset. As we mentioned above, the overwhelming majority of consumers check out a brand’s reputation by user reviews. Within that same study, it was discovered that 72% of those surveyed equate positive reviews with the trustworthiness of a particular brand. So how do you protect your reputation?
With the growing importance of having an internet presence, now more than ever it is vital to set clear rules and expectations of your team members who are engaging with customers online. Whether it’s via social media original content, your company blog, or how you respond to negative reviews, potential customers are always watching you. Staying consistent with your brand’s messaging goes a long way to being identifiable.
It’s clear earning the trust of your potential customers (and keeping it once the relationship is established) should be at the forefront of your mind when developing your sales and support strategies.
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