(By Alec Drake) In this environment of misinformation and false promises, the cynical meter in sales may be pegging higher. What can you do to earn the trust of prospects and clients? “Above the fold” was originally a print term to make something prominent and visible inside the newspaper stand to sell more papers. Take inventory of your actions to ensure that trust is at the top of your individual brand page to increase your chances for success.
Does Our Brain Process Trust?
The Neuroscience of Trust by Paul J. Zak explains one factor of how the brain and trust are related. In conducting experiments worldwide, he found that humans are naturally inclined to trust others—but don’t continually. It’s intriguing to learn that our brain chemically manages trust by adjusting empathy. Paul writes that our brains produce oxytocin, shown in mice, to signal that another animal is safe to approach.
Ten years of research concluded that oxytocin also plays a factor in lowering mistrust. They discovered that oxytocin increases a person’s empathy, a helpful trait for social creatures trying to work together. Conversely, high-stress levels are potent oxytocin inhibitors and lower empathy. When your clients or prospects are stressed, they may not interact with others as effectively. Therefore, lowering stress in your relationship with clients and prospects could help build trust.
How To Build Trust
“Say what you mean and mean what you say,” a quote by Stephanie Lahart, is a good starting point in building trust. Your actions above words alone speak volumes professionally and personally. Build trust by being consistent, sharing references from existing clients, listening instead of talking, and being knowledgeable about your products to promote the best solutions.
Phil Harding offered this point of view relating to a stressful situation, “If you say you’ll do something, make sure you do, but if things run late or go wrong, tell your client at the earliest opportunity.” Stalling any bad news is the best way to damage trust with clients. I would add that getting ahead of any issue, admitting mistakes, and fixing the problem as quickly as possible is always best.
“A reputation is worth more than money” is a favorite quote by Publilius Syrus, a Roman writer who lived from 85 to 43 BC. In our highly connected virtual spaces of LinkedIn and social media, you are out there and very searchable. Before you ever have a chance to meet or speak to someone, they may hear about you first, look you up on Google, and conclude your character. Manage trust by protecting your reputation with integrity in how you conduct business.
Trust Inside the Building
Living above the fold is not just about the client and prospect interactions. Your co-workers, company, and peers see you for what you do, not what you say. Their confidence in you and respect for your integrity in business dealings will support your success. Every salesperson who reaches the top performance levels needs help from others to succeed. Take inventory of your actions inside the organization; if you are falling short of building trust, it’s still possible to change course through your actions, not just words.
1. Living above the fold should be your standard for your behavior and decisions. Trust is in short supply and matters more today in how customers, prospects, and co-workers perceive you.
2. You are judged by your actions, not your words. Be mindful of what you promise, and make sure you can deliver. Your reputation precedes you and is supported by integrity in your decisions
3. How you conduct yourself inside your company is just as important as working with customers. The support of your team and other departments all contribute to your success.
Alec Drake is the President of Drake Media Group and a revenue management advisor. You can reach him at [email protected] and visit his “Sales Success Library” for more helpful articles at Drakemediagroup.com.