Trust is Outcome Neutral
True trust is very challenging, because when you trust someone it is outcome neutral. Authentic trusting relationships are about striking a balance between honoring ourselves as sales people and at the same time honoring our customers. The more we know ourselves and are comfortable with ourselves, the more effective we can be in connecting with our customers in building trust.
A trusting sales person does not claim to be an authority, does not pretend to have all the answers, does not preach, does not correct, does not control and does not monopolize. Rather, a trusting sales person tends to go heavy on acceptance, support, objectivity, acknowledgment of reality and encourages customers to find their own answers and their own truth.
Most sales people confuse trusting relationship skills with good customer service skills; attention to detail, good follow-up, prompt service and a sunny disposition. The reality is some sales people are really good customer service representatives, but not necessarily good trusted advisors.
Trust is established first and foremost when sales people become a sounding board and a customer advocate where they really listen and care about all the variables that surround their customer's unique circumstances and their business problems. As Charles Green states, "Most customers have never met an expert who cared." Or they had met sales people who cared and were trustworthy, but they did not value their input or expertise.
Trust is everything in a sales relationship. Trust does not have to be naïve and blind, because when you trust customers, you trust them and not necessarily their behavior. You recognize and honor the good intentions not the outcomes. "As you get better at relating and building relationships, you start to live in an undefended, unprotected state more the time. You become more open and free, you worry less. You learn to live without your habitual ways of protecting yourself from the anxiety of the unknown. You accept you cannot and do not need to control how people react to you. You learn to prefer an honest response to hearing a response that sounds good. In doing so, you come to trust that you'll be able to handle others honesty," says Susan Campbell.
Trust is recognizing the good intentions of your customer, regardless of a positive or negative outcome. Trust is knowing someone did the best they could under the circumstances. This is a far more inclusive definition that will not breed hardness and distrust, yet it is also practical, objective, real and not naïve. To take relationships to a new level you must change the way you see yourself before you can change the way others see you. "Your prospect is always asking themselves one question; will this person act in my best interest?" states Bill Caskey.
When we know that we alone create our own experiences, good or bad, we significantly lessen our tendency to point our finger at our customers, or blame outside triggers. We become a lot more nurturing and trustworthy, because we do not have a need to be defensive. Our relationships can be easily crippled by our past customer baggage we carry around. We carry around pass judgments and irritations, mostly unconsciously, that if not properly resolved has us repeating past relationship mistakes. Regardless of who is to blame, we need to acknowledge full responsibility and forgive ourselves before we can hope to clear the slate.
The more you are self-aware and know your own strengths and weaknesses, the more of a foundation you will have to understand your customers. Self-knowledge and self-reflection are great tools to enhance trusting relationships. Until you completely accept personal responsibility in your business relationships, there will always be undercurrents of blame, struggle, distrust and resentment. The harsh truth is you will never find a customer who rubs you the wrong way unless they remind you of your yourself consciously or unconsciously.
It is our natural tendency to hold others to higher standards than we hold ourselves to. We tarnish our relationships with customers by not taking a balanced perspective on how we are treated and how we treat others. A balanced perspective allows you not to take things so personally and therefore you do not come across as so needy.
Great relationship sellers have faith in their customers. If you look for the good in your customer and expect it, you surely will. Know that your expectations of your customer has everything to do with your expectations of yourself. Imposing your expectations is damaging to trust. Bottom line is we get whoever we are. We attract customers who reflect our own beliefs, convictions and experiences.
Accepting your customers exactly as they are is the ultimate gesture of trust. Most customers simply want respect, recognition and dignity to manage their own affairs as they see fit. Giving customers space is the ultimate gesture of trust and when they feel trusted, they are inclined to reciprocate it.
Sales people sometimes try to build relationships too much on concessions and giving too much to win the approval of their customers at the expense of their companies limited resources. Good relationships are created on a mutual basis of give and take. Sales people lose trust and respect when they prematurely give too much and do not get a fair return on their efforts. "I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure-which is trying to please everyone." says Herbert Swoop.
We cannot come to trust so long as we are afraid of it. And you will be afraid of it until you are willing to give up the need for control. The need to control is ruled by a lack of trust. Once you experience the qualities and attributes within yourself that you seek in your customers, then you will be prepared to find them and attract them. To encourage your customers to be honest with you, you must first be honest with yourself. Once you are honest with yourself, you will find it is easier to attrack like-minded customers.