There is a phrase in sales that states, "people work with people they know, like and trust."If you have worked in sales for any length of time, you know this saying.
We know this is true yet the question remains, how can we develop the skills to become more likable, trusted and knowledgeable to our customers?
Amy Cuddy, Social Psychologist and associate professor at Harvard Business School in her famous Ted Talk states people judge you on two characteristics; trust and competence. What Amy did not mention is competence is the second type of trust.
Trust and Likability
Trust and likability are woven together in our minds.Think about your relationships, do you like people you trust? How about people you do not like, do you trust them? These two emotions are rarely separate in the buyer's mind when deciding whether to trust you.
Personal trust is a combination of these four characteristics; humility, authenticity, honesty, and an appropriate amount of vulnerability. These components create an ability to connect with others. People decide with their hearts and then their minds. Create a bond between you and the customer by exhibiting these characteristics when communicating.
Professional trust includes the following characteristics, knowledge, skills, and capabilities. Being a trusted advisor, educator, and provider of business insights is a great way to demonstrate your credibility and initiate professional trust when communicating with your customer. Salespeople can vary significantly in achieving these two levels of trust; the following are four categories I see most often.
Four Trust Levels of Sales People
The first type of sales professional exhibits low personal, low professional trust. They show up unprepared in meetings and do not take the time to cultivate a relationship with the customer. They typically score low in making new sales.
The Second Type of Sales Professional
The second type of sales professional exhibits high personal and low professional trust. They have not done any research on the company and are not savvy with business acumen. They are great at relationship selling but lack the focus and knowledge to bring business value to the relationship. They are successful in sales that do not require strategy. They tend to make more friends than sales. The professional who educates the customer and provides vital insights will win more often in today sales climate.
The Third Type of Sales Professional
The third type of sales professional exhibits high professional trust and low personal trust. These individuals tend to have a longer sales cycle. If another competitor is involved with similar solutions, the competitor will often get the sale even if the product is not as good. This is where the term "you were outsold" comes from in sales. Establishing a low level of personal trust with the buyer is frustrating for sales professionals because they do not know why they lost the deal.
The Fourth Type of Sales Professional
This sales professional always "gets lucky" she has what it takes to succeed. She displays high professional and personal trust characteristics. Professionals who score high in business acumen, emotional intelligence, and likability often contribute the lions share to the overall sales volume. Understanding the reason behind the why of the psychology of gaining trust is key to developing sales.
Why This is True
Science tells us that all decisions are made in the emotional, or limbic part of the brain, then justified in the logical, or neocortex of the brain. This process is why storytelling works so well in sales. Painting a picture in the customer's mind with a well-told story is the fastest path to the decision making(emotional) part of the brain. A great story is one that will take both you and the buyer on a journey and create a sales "experience."
Why The Balance of Trust Works
Do you share a great story with your customers? If you tell your story with humility, honesty, authenticity, and an appropriate amount of vulnerability it will inspire personal trust. The best stories in advertising are low on information and high in emotional content.
If you combine your story with insight, industry knowledge, skills and capabilities to solve the customer's problems you will display credibility that translates into professional trust.
Gaining these two types of trust satisfy both areas of the brain responsible for decision making. When you can establish these two kinds of trust, the customer has all the information they need to make a safe, logical decision with a someone they can "trust."