Four Strategies to Build Trust With New Prospects
Recently I posted the contrarian thought that your sell cycle might actually be too short! As a result, you could be losing new client opportunities because you’re trying to close new business too quickly. In IT sales, no matter how simple or complex the solution you sell, your new prospects need to feel a sense of trust before they’ll invest with you. That trust isn’t something you can build with one or two conversations. Just like dating, it requires some wining and dining.
I’m speaking metaphorically here. Yes, you could take your prospect out for frequent lunches but that gets expensive and somewhat suspicious!)
Stretch Your Sales Cycle a Bit
To establish trust and build a relationship, stretch your sales cycle a bit. Here are a few ideas you might try:
- Leave your technical consultant at the office for the first meeting. Use this time to better understand how the prospect’s company values IT, gather initial needs, uncover financial impacts, and get to know one another.
- Take several meetings to gather needs and uncover hidden concerns. In the first few meetings, your prospect is still assessing you and your company. Give him time to get to know you better, experience how thorough you are, and hear your ideas. As your contact gets more comfortable, he’ll share his concerns and broader needs more openly.
- Schedule a separate meeting for a site walk-through or application review. Your prospects are busy people. Don’t try to cram too much into one meeting. If you need to take inventory of their equipment or log into applications, schedule a separate meeting to do it.
- Prior to presenting the proposal, set a meeting to test your solution concept and discuss concerns. Proposals are time consuming and thereby an expensive part of the sales process. Spend time reviewing your solution concept to get your prospect’s impression, identify potential objections and determine where to make adjustments before you write the proposal.
If Your Prospect’s in a Hurry
Not every meeting must be in person. Nor do you need to limit yourself to one meeting per week. If your prospect has a sense of urgency, schedule a combination of phone and on-site meetings to occur within a week and then move quickly.
Don’t allow your prospect to limit your communications.
The objective is to give your new contact time to get to know you and your company, and leave a lasting impression so he’ll want to work with you. If you abbreviate your sales process, even at the prospect’s request, you won’t succeed in establishing trust or building a relationship. You’ll become just another price comparison on his spreadsheet.
You don’t need to add two months to your sales process to increase your win ratio. Just a few additional interactions may be all it takes to create a genuine desire to work with you. Maybe then your prospects will ask you for the order!
Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment. Read all of Kendra Lee’s contributions to The VAR Guy here.