Trust Begins by NOT Throwing Up on the Prospect (Part 2 of 2)


Earlier this week, I posted Part 1 where I discussed what it means to “Throw Up On Your Prospect”. In Part 2, I’ll share four tips that will not only make it easier for you to set an appointment, but will also start the trust building process.

1. Don’t call and throw up on the prospect by telling them who you are and what you do. Instead, share with them two or three facts about what you are hearing in the marketplace from other business owners. It might sound something like this.

“Mr. Prospect, I’m not sure if you are like most of my clients, but I’m hearing the three biggest concerns business owners are dealing with are shrinking margins, increased overseas competition, and a decrease in lead time.”

This is very different from my earlier example of what not to do. In this case, I want to draw special attention to the words “I’m not sure if you are like most of my clients”. What this is really saying is that you don’t know, nor are you assuming you know this prospect. That’s a big deal and goes a long way towards building trust. Many times salespeople say things like “I know I can help”. While I understand they really believe this, the prospect is wondering how in the world you know you can help when you don’t know anything about them. Again, I’ll bet you really do know a lot more about the prospect than they think you do, but to them, you don’t know anything.

Now let’s look at the next piece of this statement, “but I’m hearing the three biggest concerns business owners are dealing with are shrinking margins, increased overseas competition, and a decrease in lead time”. How would this statement help build trust? It gives you credibility because you’ve been working with other business owners and your experience might benefit them. Do your homework on the issues your prospects are dealing with. Become an expert at solving the issues.

2. Ask for permission to continue with an example of how you’ve helped others. I can’t stress strongly enough how important asking for permission is in the trust building process. When you ask for permission, you give them a chance to provide feedback. Good, bad or indifferent, feedback helps in moving things forward. If they say they don’t have time, ask when you should call back, try to set a time or a day and make sure you follow through. It could be as simple as saying:

“Do you have a minute where I can give you an example of how I’ve helped a local company solve these issues?”

This statement is very low key, non-threatening, and by asking for permission, you show that you respect their time. Rarely, if ever, will you be told no they don’t want to hear an example if they have the time.

3. Give the best example(s) of how other people have benefited from meeting with you. Start with a detailed scenario of what the situation was for the customer, what specifically you did to help them, and finally, what the positive results were. An example might sound like this:

“I have a client that was seeing margins shrink to record lows. One reason was because their key customers were asking for year over year cost down programs and to make things worse, they had to reduce prices to keep some high volume business or risk losing it China. In addition, their customers did not want to give them the usual four week lead time so they were seeing an increase in overtime in an attempt to meet customer delivery requirements. We helped them by facilitating a five step lean manufacturing program which resulted in a decrease to set-up times by 50%, over $45,000 in tool savings, improved on-time delivery to 98%, and most importantly, we saw significant improvement in employee morale and work efficiency. All said, through various cost reductions and multiple efficiency gains, this customer added to his bottom line.”

There is a lot to this example. Let’s start with the first section, “I have a client that was seeing margins shrink to record lows”. This is important because it goes to show that you’ve helped other clients with this problem and is a small step in building trust. It also lets them know that they aren’t alone as other people are dealing with the same issues.

Then next section is much meatier, “One reason was because their key customers were asking for year over year cost down programs and to make things worse, they had to reduce prices to keep some high volume business or risk losing it China. In addition, their customers did not want to give them the usual four week lead time so they were seeing an increase in overtime in an attempt to meet customer delivery requirements”. If you are on top of your marketplace and what issues most of your prospects are dealing with, they should be listening and thinking you just described their company. This is BIG when it comes to building trust!

The last section, “We helped them by facilitating a five step lean manufacturing program which resulted in a decrease to set-up times by 50%, over $45,000 in tool savings, improved on-time delivery to 98%, and most importantly, we saw significant improvement in employee morale and work efficiency. All said, through various cost reductions and multiple efficiency gains, this customer added to his bottom line”, really provides a great visual of not only what you did, but what the results were.

4. Provide a powerful closing statement and ask for an appointment to learn more about each other. Resist the urge to sell product or service. All you are asking for is an opportunity to meet and learn. That’s it, keep it simple.

“Mr. Prospect, my name is John Doe, and I’m with ABC, Inc and while I don’t know enough about your company and your unique situation, I’d welcome an opportunity to meet and learn more about each other. Would you be available to meet for an hour next week?

Notice I don’t say who I am until the very end. Why? The answer is because who I am and who I work for really doesn’t mean much until they have a reason to know. If I start out with my name and company, the prospect could already be in shutdown mode because they have a preconceived notion they don’t need anything I have to offer.

The section “while I don’t know enough about your company and your unique situation, I’d welcome an opportunity to meet and learn more about each other” is really important because again, it states that you don’t know if you can help or not. You are not selling product or service here, all that you’re asking for is an opportunity to learn more ABOUT EACH OTHER and see where it goes from there.

My goal with this article is to share another way to open doors for new opportunities and more importantly, a way to establish trust early on in the sales process by focusing on the prospects needs rather than on products and services.

Thank you for reading this post. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!!

If you like this topic, please share with your contacts on LinkedIn or Twitter. I regularly write about sales related topics. If you would like to read my regular posts, please click “Follow” and send me a LinkedIn invite.

Gary Kieper, CEPA, CFBA, is President at Kieper Sales Solutions.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Archive
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square