In the business world, we tend not to think of major organizational decisions (such as entering into a new contract) as being emotional in any way. Images of executives buttoned up in their best suits come to mind, sitting in a well-lit conference room, shaking hands and exchanging promises for the future based on detailed contracts. But this stereotypical view of business exchanges leaves out one major detail that’s hidden in the lines of any contract: trust.
It’s a universal truth that people don’t do business with people they don’t trust. Trust may sometimes manifest as a gut feeling based on a company’s reputation and experience, but its foundation is rooted firmly in emotion.
Let’s take a look at three easy ways your team can earn the trust of your prospects and clients to lay the foundation for a successful B2B relationship.
1. Open the Lines of Communication
Sales used to be a very singular experience, where your team members would talk a cold prospect through the sales funnel until they bought. Now, though, the focus is less on selling and more on the prospect’s experience—on establishing and fostering a culture of trust.
By flipping two stages of the funnel—awareness and interest—your team will engage with prospects who are aware of the problems they want to solve. In this case, you have the unique opportunity to get to know your prospect on an emotional level by learning more about their challenges and goals—as well as how your solution fits into the mold.
Of course, we advise against strictly selling a solution. Instead, you want to have genuine conversations that promote unbiased feedback to discover a prospect’s unique pain points. From there, you will have a better understanding of your prospect’s goals. This candor also establishes a level of trust that is often missing from traditional sales pitches. When your prospects genuinely like you, they are more likely to do business with you.
2. Ask the Right Questions
To begin building a trustworthy relationship, you’ll need insights into the prospect’s key customer outcomes. Because while data about price, scale, and service variety is important information, it only offers a limited perspective into how the prospect operates.
For a more comprehensive understanding of your prospect’s situation, consider asking the following kinds of questions:
- Is your company getting sufficient value for your services’ prices?
- How do your team members feel about your company culture?
- What kinds of innovations or ideas would you like to pursue but have been unable to?
- What has your company growth been like in the past few years?
Ideally, you want to be asking questions that support a relationship and seek to understand the prospect’s company at large, not just at a superficial level with regard to dollars.
3. Walk the Walk
It’s one thing to talk a big game about how great and results-oriented your organization is, but it’s another to actually deliver on those lofty promises. The prospect delivered on their end of the bargain by providing you with high-quality, quantitative information about their company. Now, you need to follow through on it and do what you say you will.
The exact meaning of following through will depend on what your organization specializes in, but it should speak to the trust your prospect has developed so far—what does your prospect now expect from you? Whatever that answer is, provide it with the same fervor and genuinity they’ve come to expect from you. After all, you’ve done the hard work to establish yourself as an invaluable and trusted partner, not just another vendor—make sure you don’t lose that reputation.
Contact us today for more information about earning your prospects’ trust.
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