Lead generation is not about how many numbers you dial or how many decision makers you talk to – ultimately it is a matter of building trust. Every time your sales team talks to a prospect, they have a chance to build trust so that the prospect will want to hear more from them.
At a time when prospects are feeling overwhelmed with too much to do, too little time, and too many bad cold calls, your sales team can stand out from the competition by learning how to build trust.
By avoiding the pitfalls of a canned sales pitch and giving prospects a reason to listen, you can build stronger sales relationships that lead to better conversions and bigger profits.
Here are a few ways that your small business can build trust with sales prospects:
Do Your Homework
Too many sales reps pick up the phone and start making sales calls without really knowing anything about the person they’re calling. Don’t go into a sales call flying blind.
Before your sales reps pick up the phone, they need to know who they are calling and why. The easiest way to build trust is to show the prospect that they’re not just another name on a calling list. Show them that you know something about their company, you know the industry, and you have a specific reason for why you thought they would like to hear from you today.
Instead of making the classic mistake of launching into a canned sales script that will quickly cause the prospect’s eyes to glaze over, your sales reps need to ask questions to provoke a thoughtful response.
For example, instead of jumping the gun by telling the prospect, “We can help you improve productivity by 15% and reduce your costs by 20%,” lead into the value proposition by asking the prospect open ended questions such as, “What is the biggest challenge facing your business (related to our solution)?” Or, “How would you feel if your team could achieve a significant productivity boost at a lower cost?”
Listen for Unstated Needs
Sales people often make the mistake of steering the conversation in one direction, and then when the prospect says “no” or “not interested,” the sales rep has nowhere else to go and has to end the call.
Instead of getting shut down, talented sales reps know how to “read between the lines” of a conversation to find hidden opportunities. Prospects will rarely tell you flat out, “This is what we need, and this is what we’re willing to pay.” Instead, your sales team needs to uncover the prospect’s needs by delving deeper into the conversation and really listening to what the prospect has to say.
Offer Something Valuable
Every time you or your sales reps talk to a customer or prospective customer, that conversation is an opportunity to show the prospect that you genuinely care about their challenges and that you want to be seen as a trusted industry peer and colleague.
Instead of just breezing through a sales script and asking for a sale, the most credible sales reps know how to offer the prospect something of value without tying it to the expectation of a sale. Could you offer your prospects some valuable business intelligence or thoughts on industry trends? Offer to share a white paper or presentation with them? Share a success story from a similar company in their industry?
All of these little acts of generosity are building blocks for a more trusting relationship and possibly an eventual sale.
Take Your Time
One of the most common mistakes in B2B sales is when overeager sales reps ask for the sale too soon. Or they get discouraged by “not interested” responses and let long-term sales leads languish without any follow-up. B2B sales leads need to be nurtured and managed over a long period of time, sometimes months or years, depending on your sales cycle.
One of the best ways to build trust is to show your prospects that you are in it for the long haul and are willing to develop a sold working relationship with them over time – you’re not just swooping in for a quick sale. If you show prospects that you are committed to their success and you’re willing to keep talking with them for the long-term, they’ll be more likely to trust you and eventually buy from you.
Some of the most valuable business relationships require nurturing, time, an investment of resources, and that most important ingredient of all, trust. The reason B2B sales leads are so valuable and elusive is because they are worth much more than simple transactional one-off sales – each B2B sales relationship has the potential to deliver significant profits to your company.
For this reason, it’s worth investing some time and attention to build trust with your prospects.
Building Trust Photo via Shutterstock