Sales Article: Don't Kill Trust - Have Your Client Goggles On!

24th July 2013 | By Frances Pratt

CLIENT_goggles

If you want to kill trust with a client - focus on you!

Client goggles help you focus on your client.  Here are some sales tips on the things that destroy trust - and how to avoid and navigate them.

This is the fourth article in my Trust Series based on the Trust Equation.

Trust Equation *  =  Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy
                                                Self-Orientation

* The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, Charles H Green, Robert M. Galford

The first three articles looked at the top of the equation, and how to build trust.  This article is about what undermines trust.  Self Orientation.

I also think about Self-Orientation as Conflict of Interest.  The reason for this is I think that there are business-based as well as personal conflicts. 

Conflict may be visible and invisible; real and perceived.

 

In building a trusted relationship, your focus should always be; and be seen to be; focused on the best interests of your client. 

You also need to represent your business needs, but these have to be secondary.  In any healthy relationship there is give and take based on the transparent sharing of each parties goals so that both parties help the other achieve them. 

So being open about what you want and asking probing questions about what your client wants is critical.  Without this, the lack of transparency leaves less room for your client to second guess you and your motives.

Tips for building a client-orientation

  • Tell sales stories about clients and other people – not yourself.
  • Learn to really listen well.  Watch for the non-verbal cues on how your client is feeling and if they are following you, or you are losing them.
  • Focus on the problem.  Once you think you know what it is, STOP.  Check your understanding and only then look to the solution.
  • If you don’t know …. say you don’t know.  Explain how you are going to get the answer and by when.
  • Be transparent about what you want to achieve.
  • Be able to talk about times when things went wrong, how you fixed the business problem and what you have learned from this and how it has changed in your business.

 

Company based conflict of interest

Have a clear picture of your ideal client.  Use this to see in which areas your prospective client doesn’t match your ideal --- This is likely where you or they may perceive conflict.

Conflict exists in a competitive situation.  Especially when you are markedly different from your competitors.  For example, when you are smaller than your competitors, this can be seen as a source of potential conflict for the client. 

Tips for avoiding conflict of interest

  • Build a clear understanding of your ideal client and be able to describe them to others.
  • If you see a potential conflict of interest, be first to bring it up.
  • Be honest.  If there is a conflict that will affect your ability to deliver, say so.

 

Last Thought - Don't Assume!

If you think there could be or sense that there is a conflict, ask.  Be upfront about how you are feeling and then ask your potential client to do the same.

 

Like what you've read, and want to know more

Why not have a look at my FREE ebook on the 11 Secrets of Sales Champions ... specifically for people who honestly hate sales! 

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