The Key to Building Trust With Your Clients

Is your product great, but your prospects arent buying?

You know your product or service will help customers, but do theyfeel that you know and understandthem?

Are they feeling the love in your sales process?

Falling in Love with Your Product

I was recently coaching a portfolio manager of a financial firm whose fund was performing above the industry norm. However, she was having difficulties raising money from the investment marketplace.

Essentially, her product was good, but her sales efforts were not. The firms sales team had all but given up on taking her out to the marketplace.

After working with her for an hour, I could see why. We ran a mock pitch, and whenever the customer would mention some of his investment challenges, she would go right into how good her product was.

She was in love with her product and wanted to push it on buyers. She wasnt showing the love to the client.

Hurting Your Value Proposition

Imagine your right knee is troubling you and you visit a knee specialist.

The doctor greets you warmly and politely asks you about your summer holidays. After some more rapport-building, he asks, So what can we do for you today?

Well, doctor, you start, my knee has been aching for the past few weeks.

At first I thought it would go away like most things, but it doesnt seem to be getting any better.

The doctor looks at you and says, Ive got the perfect solution. Lets transplant it.

Sorry? you ask, with a huge dose of skepticism.

A transplant will have you feeling like 20-years-old again, the doctor says.
Ive got the most technologically-advanced synthetic knees ever developed. Guaranteed to last a lifetime. Recuperation time is under 45 days.

The doctor continues to provide you with a handful of features of the product, a synthetic knee, and then really sweetens the deal.

And Ill tell you what. If you decide today, I can do both of your knees for the price of one. That includes materials, equipment, my time and the clinic.

Medical professionals dont do that! So why do so many business development and salespeople?

Professional Selling

Being a truly consultative, customer-focused salesperson is not about tailoring a presentation to suit what you believe the prospective customer will want. Its about interacting in a consultative way during the meeting and after any initial opening or presentation.

The axiom diagnose before you prescribe applies to sales.

On the one hand, this helps you identify the real issues the customer has in areas where you can potentially help.

On the other hand, this builds trust.

Youre not a sales dog; youre a business professional seeking partnerships.

Here again, its like love. Youre not a pick-up artist; youre a well – rounded individual seeking partnership.

Building Trust

Listening is one of the greatest trust builders. Asking good questions promotes listening. And asking great questions demonstrates professionalism and also builds trust.

Of course you know your stuff, and you know how it applies to customer needs. But proposing a solution at the mere mention of a problem wreaks of prescribing before fully diagnosing.

A good knee doctor will ask you a series of questions and explore:

Are you a runner?

Is it dull and constant, or acute and intermittent?

Roll up your pant leg. Let me have a good look.

I would suggest a scan before we can really see whats happening

This example may seem rather simplistic, but thats the point.

No matter what youre selling, from financial products to consulting services, youre dealing with people. Trust is paramount.

Trust is the greatest factor in a sale. Pushing your solution at the first mention of a customer challenge is like prescribing before diagnosing, and thats a real trust-breaker.

Plan good questions (topic for more than one future post here), listen, and follow-up not just with the planned questions, but questions relevant to what the customer is saying.

A good knee surgeon has questions that he probably uses every day. He diagnoses before he prescribes.

As a professional salesperson, so should you.

Go deep into your prospects mind and heart. Build trust. Spread the love.

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Jack Vincent is a Contributing Editor to LiDAR News in the area of Sales Effectiveness. The above is an excerpt from his upcoming book, A Sale Is A Love Affair Seduce, Engage & Win Customers Hearts Forever, which will be published in time for Valentines Day 2015. Jack is a sales advisor and trainer who divides his time between Woodstock, NY and Luzern, Switzerland. You can contact him and follow his blog at

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