What if everything you have learned about successfully selling was wrong – at least in this New Economy?
“Trust No One” is the new mantra. Today’s prospects, buyers, business owners, and consumers are the most cynical and jaded group of buyers in history – with good reason. They have been lied to and deceived by government, business and religious and media leaders of all ilk.
In a recent study:
Trust in media in the U.S. reached the lowest point in 201 since Gallop started measuring it in the early 1970s.
- Only 46 percent of informed respondents in the U.S. and 44 percent in the U.K. trust business to do what is right.
- Only 40 percent of people in the U.S. trust government to do what is right.
- Only 33 percent of Americans had a great deal of trust in medical leadership, down from 73 percent in 1966.
- 53 percent of U.S. workers do not think their boss is honest, and 69 percent are dissatisfied with the ethical climate in today’s society.
What About Salespeople?
How many buyers and prospects trust you, the sales professional? Trust, whether you realize it or know about it or have even given it thought is the currency of the New Economy.
In another study conducted in 2009:
- 77 percent of respondents said they refused to buy products or services from companies or individuals the distrusted.
- 72 percent criticized a distrusted company to a friend of colleague.
- 55 percent of respondents said they were willing to pay a higher price to companies and individuals they trusted
- 76 percent said they were willing to refer their friends to trusted brands they trusted. (This willingness to refer is the ultimate example of trust as a currency, in that it represents a “transference of trust” that goes from current customer to a new prospect and back to the seller.)
If you ignore these facts, stick your head in the sand and continue doing business as usual you may wind up the way of the dinosaur.
Smart companies and sales professional now realize that the #1 thing they are selling is trust. Without it nothing else really matters. These same companies and sales professional are setting about deliberately to develop marketing strategies and sales processes that focus on selling trust before they try to sell their products or services. You dear reader would be wise to do the same.
How Does One Go About Selling Trust
The biggest key and the most difficult task for companies and their salespeople involves fundamentally changing the way they view sales. Traditionally, sales have been made by solicitation initiated by the sales professional. This hunting or seeking out or prospecting, as it has been called for decades, needs to be replaced with a philosophy and process that attracts clients as opposed to seeking clients. This is not merely a play on words. It is a fundamental shift on the part of the sales professional. And the more one targets affluent clients the more important this becomes.
Frankly, hunting is antithetical for creating trust. If you want to establish trust you must get clients to seek you out. Becoming the sought after provider of choice involves instituting a sophisticated and comprehensive marketing strategy that involves many different activities and behaviors. It takes time and it takes effort and it takes some money – not a lot of money but it does take some money.
Of course, I realize most reading this will instantly reject this philosophy because they need to hunt today in order to eat. I understand this and agree that if you don’t have clients seeking you out today then you need to become a hunter and seek them out. Hunting does work. I have done it successfully in the past when I had to acquire a new client immediately and you can too. And you can take comfort in the fact that if you hunt, the landscape will be void of most competitors who are too lazy to hunt.
If you must hunt, by all means, hunt and hunt aggressively and expansively. But AT THE SAME TIME, work at not needing to hunt as much, by developing a longer term strategy that will get clients coming to you so that one day you will not be dependent upon the grunt work of having to solicit and seek new clients.
If you fail to do this you will forever be on the treadmill looking for the next deal. This is exhausting, not much fun and will eventually lead to burnout. All highly successful sales people have figured this out and have developed multiple strategies that position them as authority experts with a certain local celebrity status in their marketplace. Some of these strategies include speaking, writing and publishing, developing local media relationships, becoming involved and taking leadership positions in business and civic organizations, hosting radio or television programs, conducting educational workshops.
The better you get at this, the less hunting you will have to do.
Wishing you all the success you have the guts to grab!
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