The Importance of Trust in Sales

Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust (Zig Ziglar).

Of all the components to the sales process, “trust” is the one least understood. Many sales training courses will talk about creating desire and urgency, how to overcome price objections and how to emphasize benefits to develop the need — but not every teacher or sales method talks about trust.

In ‘The Inevitable Sale’ process I teach, trust is at the core. It is a ‘trust-based system.’

As Zig Ziglar said, ‘no trust’ is one of the basic obstacles in the sales process. I agree. You can address all of the other four obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire… but it is still difficult to successfully advance the sale without gaining your prospective client’s trust.

And learning how to address the first four obstacles without first building trust OFTEN leads to what many consider an ‘adversarial approach’ to sales (wherein the potential customer or client is the ‘target’ whose resistance to buying must be overcome in a ‘push to close’ manipulation).

The Inevitable Sale approaches the sales process as a transaction between seller and buyer that is low pressure, low stress, and beneficial to both parties.

It is designed to make the single most important function in any for-profit business (sales) an enjoyable endeavor that produces long-lasting customers who know the seller is genuinely concerned for them and their business success.

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What is trust?

A dictionary definition of trust will tell you something like this: “Trust is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.”

You exercise trust every day and in 1,000 ways. You couldn’t leave the house or drive a car without it. The absence of trust is “doubt” and enough doubt leads to fear and paranoia.

Do your customers or clients trust you? Do they believe you are reliable, that you have the ability to make good on your promises to them? If they don’t, they are wide open (and may even be seeking) an alternative to your product or services.

Moreover, it is important to remember that salespeople don’t normally begin on flat ground. Because the selling profession consistently ranks low in the public trust (Gallup’s last survey put sales at 8% — just one percent above members of Congress), the sales process most often begins with the prospect instinctively doubting the salesperson.

How does it feel to be doubted?

That’s why sales is often viewed as a distasteful and anxiety-ridden process. Many people would rather take a beating than try to ‘sell something.’ Even within the ranks of the sales force, companies seek ways to differentiate the team – maybe calling their salespeople ‘account executives’ or ‘product advocates’ – anything is better than being ‘in sales.’

Or is it?

Once trust is established, both seller and prospect can relax and work on making sure the product or service fits the need. Working out the terms of the sale ends up being just a byline in the process.

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A better approach to sales

You can fall in love with sales again. You can begin to enjoy bringing in new business and watching your company’s bottom line grow.

The late, great Zig Ziglar loved to read the following note to his audiences. Zig knew the first job of management is to sell the salesperson and the first sale a salesperson must make is to himself.

If you’ve been struggling with sales then this is for you.

There’s nothing at all wrong with sales. Our economy depends on sales, and your business depends on sales.The problem lies within us – and the good news is that we can do something about it. Let’s talk about that next time.

I Am a Salesman

I am proud to be a salesman, because more than any other man, I and millions of others like me, built America.

The man who builds a better mouse trap — or a better anything — would starve to death if he waited for people to beat a pathway to his door. Regardless of how good or how needed the product or service might be, it has to be sold.

Eli Whitney was laughed at when he showed his cotton gin. Edison had to install his electric light free of charge in an office building before anyone would even look at it. The first sewing machine was smashed to pieces by a Boston mob. People scoffed at the idea of railroads. They thought that traveling even thirty miles an hour would stop the circulation of the blood! McCormick strived for 14 years to get people to use his reaper. Westinghouse was considered a fool for stating he could stop a train with wind. Morse had to plead before 10 Congresses before they would even look at his telegraph.

The public didn’t go around demanding these things; they had to be sold!!

They needed thousands of salesmen, trailblazers and pioneers – people who could persuade with the same effectiveness as the inventor could invent. Salesmen took these inventions, sold the public on what these products could do, taught customers how to use them, and then taught businessmen how to make a profit from them.

As a salesman, I’ve done more to make America what it is today than any other person you know. I was just as vital in your great-great-grandfather’s day as I am in yours, and I will be just as vital in your great-great-grandson’s day. I have educated more people, created more jobs, taken more drudgery from the laborer’s work, given more profits to businessmen, and have given more people a fuller and richer life than anyone in history. I’ve dragged prices down, pushed quality up, and made it possible for you to enjoy the comforts and luxuries of automobiles, radios, electric refrigerators, televisions, and air conditioned homes and buildings. I’ve healed the sick, given security to the aged, and put thousands of young men and women through college. I’ve made it possible for inventors to invent, for factories to hum, and for ships to sail the seven seas.

How much money you find in your pay envelope next week, and whether in the future you will enjoy the luxuries of prefabricated homes, stratospheric flying of airplanes, and new world of jet propulsion and atomic power, depends on me. The loaf of bread you bought today was on a baker’s shelf because I made sure that a farmer’s wheat got to a mill, that the mill made wheat into flour, and that the flour was delivered to your baker.

Without me, the wheels of industry would come to a grinding halt. And with that, jobs, marriages, politics and freedom of thought would be a thing of the past. I AM A SALESMAN and I’m proud and grateful that as such, I serve my family, my fellow man and my country.

~Author Unknown

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