About three years ago I found this way of selling to people that adds a whole heap of value to them and helps them in their business and finds ways to be really useful to them. It’s not about being “snake oil”, it’s not about being dodgy, it’s just about finding ways to be helpful and useful. I call it Trust Based Selling and it works over a period of time and what I’m going to do is share it with you so that you can use it with your clients.
I’ll talk you through the whole idea of trust based selling.
The big picture here is that over time you want each of your client relationships and customer relationships to be increasing in trust. Often that takes time, and I want to explain the process of how I go about building trust over time and how that ultimately makes you more money and builds better relationships.
So here’s the thing. There’s basically two steps. The first step is getting clear on your avatar and I always call the avatar Bill and Sally, doesn’t matter what client or what customer I’m working with.
Who’s your Bill, who’s your Sally?
Fundamentally every time you’re selling something you’re still selling to someone. And if you can put yourself in their shoes and understand their world and their life, you can talk to them in a way that enables them to understand the value you can bring and enables them to ultimately purchase your products and services.
The first thing to be clear about is your avatar. Understand that there’s a person that you’re trying to target. The biggest mistake people make here is often they are too broad in who they target and not specific enough.
So who is your Bill & Sally, and then I want you to ask yourself two questions.
One is: What pain or problems can you solve for Bill or Sally? And how does your product or service solve those problems? Write down the problems that your avatar has that you can help them with.
The second is: What results or aspirations do Bill or Sally have that you can help them with? Once you’ve done this thinking around – What they are moving away from and what they are moving towards… And being really clear on what they want, you’ve captured here a whole bunch of language that will help you in your marketing and also in your selling.
What we’re trying to do over time once we understand Bill & Sally is we’re trying to either be more useful to them, or we’re trying to build the relationship.
The way we measure building the relationship is trust.
The way we measure being more useful is how much value we’re adding to them.
We do that by helping them solve their problems, or getting them towards their results over time.
One of the biggest misnomers is that to build trust and to be more useful you can do that immediately. People don’t trust. Actually a lot of people think immediately that you are trying to sell them something. So it takes time to build trust and credibility with someone and you’ve got to be aware that that’s going to be longer than you might be… that you would think it takes. How long does it take someone to trust you? Now how long does it take you to trust yourself. Think about that in terms of a two year cycle. You may need to over time, as this person initially becomes a lead or a prospect or you get a referral to them, you may need to choose a project that helps them solve a pain or a problem or helps them get to their results, that you can deliver over time to them that can prove to them that you can add value.
You may then need to choose a second project where you will generate an opportunity, convert that opportunity and deliver it over time until you get the opportunity to sell to them your one big product, right? Your big, well known Rolls Royce, favourite product of all, that you know can solve all their pains and get them towards their aspirations.
And the way that you help them move through that curve is through sending them content regularly and helping build that relationship. Right, so being useful, and building that relationship over time to the point at which at that end point you get permission to sell them your product.
So the idea here is Trust Based Selling. You cannot sell someone something on the first date. You have to be mindful of the timeframe that it takes to get them from meeting you for the first time to converting them to your big product.
And Bill and Sally all work at different points, because Bill and Sally all have different pains and they have different aspirations. Over time if you can be more useful to them and build a relationship ultimately you’ll get permission to sell them that key piece of work or that one big product.
Before I got I want you to ask yourself one question. If you thought about trust in this way, if you thought about trust from the perspective of it’s either about building a relationship or being more useful what could you send to your database, your top5, 10, 20 people that you know that would help them trust you more, and help them see you as more useful?