How Do You Answer Questions On The T-Mobile Application Assessment Customers Don’t Buy From People They Like, They Buy From Those They Trust

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Customers Don’t Buy From People They Like, They Buy From Those They Trust

It is often said that customers buy from people they like. While we don’t usually buy from people we don’t like, there is another dimension to this old adage.

Customers buy from people they trust

To illustrate this point further, let’s look at how typical prospective customers react to new sales people making initial contact with them (otherwise known as cold-calling ):

1. They look for an excuse to hang up the phone as soon as possible

2. They make themselves very busy during sales appointments

3. They keep their mouths shut as much as possible when salespeople ask questions

4. They do not refer sellers to a higher authority even when such a need is clear

5. They often use delaying tactics such as “If something is needed, we will call you” to appease the sellers, etc.

These are just a few examples of customer behaviors when they don’t trust the seller. That said, in order to get customers interested and excited about what you have to offer, you must first earn their trust.

A Question of lust

The reasons that customers don’t trust salespeople are very simple: they feel that the only thing salespeople care about is getting their money. Unfortunately, this “lust for customers’ money” is true of many sellers out there, AND customers can smell them from miles away.

When customers shop, what they really want in return for the money they spend is reliable value. In other words, do the products or services they buy bring better productivity, reduce waste or simply improve the quality of their lives.

So, the first step to building trust is this: you must be perceived as being on the customers’ side and actively helping to solve customers’ problems.

Here is a simple example. When most sales people approach their prospective customers, they say something like, “Hello, my name is xyz, and I’m from abc company. How are you today? I want to show you a demo of our latest productivity-enhancing gadget . As I’ll be at your place on Tuesday afternoon, can I come and see you around 2pm or 4pm?”

The problem with this approach lies in how these customers respond. They just say “not interested”, or say yes and then their secretaries tell you “the boss has an urgent meeting, please leave your materials at the front desk, and we’ll call you if we need anything”.

The reason for such responses from customers is that they don’t trust what you are saying. They’ve probably seen too many “productivity-enhancing gadgets”, and heard too many “I’m in your neighborhood” stories and are definitely too busy to meet another gadget seller. Plus, they don’t trust you enough to tell you their “productivity” challenges, if that’s what your product can solve.

To overcome such trust issues in the first contact, salespeople and their managers must work together to build trust and allay customers’ fears that they will be ripped off, or that they will waste their time.

From the sales person’s perspective, he should give the customer what Miller Heiman calls a Valid Business Reason to his opening call, eg “Hi, my name is xyz. I understand that many companies in your industry are facing serious challenges due to the sharp increase in raw material costs. I would like to explore with you whether we can help improve your productivity, and thereby reduce your costs.”

From the perspectives of sales managers, trust must be built beyond the initial cold call. Customers are likely to increase their confidence when they see testimonials and case studies of past successes, BEFORE the first phone calls from salespeople.

Build Credibility, NOT Benefits

Traditionally, many companies only focus on “Features, Advantages and Benefits”, none of which will work IF the customer does not trust you enough. Therefore, sellers must establish credibility during the sales process, namely:

* Listen

* Do your homework and ask intelligent questions

* Provide assurance to your customers

Many sales people tend to put so much emphasis on their company, and the products they offer, that they forget to listen to their customers’ needs, wants and concerns.

To ensure that customers spend more time talking, salespeople need to ask intelligent questions. Often, customers expect sales people to have done some basic research on customers’ web sites. Sellers can improve this by going through customers’ annual reports (if they are listed companies) or source news reports about these customers. If a prospective customer is a competitor of a current customer, you can learn more information from the latter. Web 2.0 social networking sites are also a good source of information.

While some sales managers may argue that spending too much time on the Internet eats up sales time and therefore, harms sales. However, going to a customer and not knowing the right questions to ask can make the customer feel unprofessional and incompetent, which is worse. Sales managers must strike the right balance by allocating enough time for research as well as sales.

Finally, customers often have bad concerns about buying from you. Instead of avoiding concerns out of fear that addressing them will hurt your sales, the opposite is likely true. If customers have any unanswered questions or concerns about your products and services, they can:

* Buy less

* Buy less

* Drive a hard bargain on your price

So, when you are nearing the end of the stages of your sale, look for symptoms that indicate that the customer is nervous or uncomfortable. Then seek to address those concerns and provide relevant assurances.

The Politics of Truth

Perhaps the biggest destroyer of trust is “over-promise and under-deliver”. The reasons for this breakdown are twofold:

* Sellers make promises to customers of things they can’t (or aren’t sure they can) deliver

* Companies that deliver less than expected levels of product qualities to their customers

For the first, sales managers must ensure that sales people do not make promises to their customers just to get the sale or reach their sales target. Doing so will seriously damage the trust between buyer and seller, and make it difficult for future sales efforts to succeed.

For the latter, nothing stops people from selling more than answering customers’ questions they don’t have answers to. No amount of marketing effort will succeed if the company does not invest enough in quality to ensure that customers get the value they paid for. If companies deliver poor quality, not only will there be a decrease in sales, there will also be an immediate increase in sales staff turnover. It’s not a question of “if”, it’s a question of when. After all, who wants to sell for a company they can’t trust?

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