We live in a world of increasing political uncertainty in which it often seems as though nobody trusts anyone and we’re constantly at each other’s throats. On social networking sites, we’ve developed a call-out culture in which people try to catch other people out, often “exposing” them for remarks that they made ten years ago which have been taken out of context.
On top of that, even social media influencers, who used to be a key source of information for many people, are no longer to be trusted. In fact, one study found that only 4% of people trust social media influencers, with people trusting their government more than they trust influencers.
This has a huge impact on the way that people make purchasing decisions, and it’s actually moving the balance of power away from marketing teams and towards salespeople. After all, with people unable to trust what they read online, it falls to sales teams to establish that missing trust.
But establishing trust when people know that your ultimate goal is to sell to them isn’t easy, and that’s not the only barrier that salespeople face when they’re trying to build relationships with their prospects. And so with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at why sales teams struggle to establish trust and what they can do to combat that.
Trust is already at a premium
As we’ve already established, trust is at a premium in today’s day and age, and people are inherently more likely to mistrust you than they are to give you the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to combat this other than to be patient and to work hard to earn their trust. It takes time, but the good news is that once you’ve established a relationship, as long as you put the time in to maintain them, they’ll continue to pay dividends for the months and years to come.
People don’t want to feel like metrics
People aren’t idiots, and they know that salespeople are measured on metrics like the number of calls per hour they make or the number of conversions they score. As human beings, none of us wants to feel like a number, and yet when we take a call from a salesperson, that’s exactly what we can end up feeling like. It falls to you as a salesperson to show people that you value them as individuals and not just as a source of potential income.
Helping people is more important than converting them
Building on from the last metric, there’s an attitude amongst some salespeople that it’s more important to sell something to someone than it is to actually help them out. It’s true that conversions are important, but it’s also true that if you help people now, you’ll help to build trust and loyalty that will work in your favour in the future. If you can make a sale and help someone at the same time then even better, but the focus should be on helping first and selling second.
There’s a lot of noise to cut through
One thing that a lot of salespeople forget is that each of the prospects that they’re reaching out to is typically fielding calls from other companies too. They don’t have to be direct competitors for it to affect your chances of scoring a new customer, though. If they’ve been being bothered all week by another salesperson, it’s going to affect whether they want to talk to you.
People prefer to play it safe
One of the biggest threats when it comes to converting sales leads into customers is the fact that as human beings, we tend to prefer inertia. For a lead to convert into a customer, they have to take a risk. You’ll need to be able to show them that the risk of the financial investment is worth the rewards that you’re able to offer them.
Now that you know what the landscape is like and why sales teams struggle to establish trust, the next step is for you to go ahead and make changes at your organisations to help your team to build long-term relationships. Long-term relationships build trust and trust leads to sales. It’s win/win for everyone.