“Trust is everything. It is the most valuable commodity in business.” – Stephen Covey
Trust: The Foundation of a Successful Business
Trust is the foundation of a successful business. When you think about it, your clients want to know that they are giving their hard-earned money to someone that they can trust. In order for there to be a lasting relationship between your company and your client, you have to earn their trust. The more you can show that you are trustworthy, the more they will be willing to do business with you.
The Truth About Trust at Work
According to a recent study by Deloitte, 75% of people surveyed said they would rather make a purchase from a company they trust. In this age of social media, where consumers pay attention to what people say about companies and products online, trust becomes even more critical. Achieving trust takes time and dedication to building relationships with customers by listening to their concerns and frustrations. This means we need to be patient, and explore the customers situation alongside the customer in order to get to the bottom of their situation. This naturally necessitates that we not only ask the right questions, but that we listen well.
Let’s look first at how to ask the right questions
How to ask open questions
The main problem I see in the world of selling is asking closed ended questions. The issue with closed questions is that they often elicit a limited response. What we’re aiming for is getting the customer to open up as much as possible, and if we stick to asking closed ended questions, then we keep having to re-start the conversation, which can be both frustrating and time consuming.
This can be a particular problem in conversations about your business. In order to get the information we’re looking for (and which is beneficial to the client), it’s vital that we ask open-ended questions.
This way, instead of just getting a “yes” or “no” answer, you’ll be able to get the story behind a person’s response. One of the most important skills for a sales professional is to be able to ask open questions.
Asking open questions however, is only half the story. The other half is listening well, so that we may ask intelligent and probing follow-up questions.
To listen well we must listen actively
Active listening involves reflecting back to the speaker what they said, rephrasing it in your own words, and showing empathy for their feelings. The goal of active listening is to make the person feel understood and valued – the key here is that until they feel understood and valued, they won’t be willing or able to listen to what you have to say in the first place.
Once they feel understood and valued however, it is much more likely that they will be willing to accept that you might have something of value to offer.
But keep in mind that everything starts and ends with trust.
Invest the time and energy to build trust with customers up front, and you’ll never run out of business.
If you truly want to survive in the modern business environment, you need an ongoing commitment to trust. This is the one thing that will help your business grow and prosper.