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This Expert’s Corner Article on ‘The Secret Equation Of Earning Trust In Sales’ is brought to you by Joe Templin, from Unique Minds
If you were to think about it for a moment, what would you say is the most critical component of sales? Go ahead, take a minute.
Based on my experiences and research I would have to say “Trust”. It is the catalyst that allows two parties to interact on a favorable basis, and without Trust, there can be no long range, mutually profitable relationship as each will be looking to screw the other out of the scarcity mentality.
Trust is in many ways like the assumption of pornography “I can’t define it, but I’ll know it when I see it”. But we can actually model Trust, or at least the Trust Factor that is a major indicator of the level of Trust and whether or not another will take action.
The Trust Factor was originally defined by Maister and Green in “The Trusted Advisor
The Trusted Advisor” back in 2001, one of the most influential books on my personal professional development and ethos.
Their work has been extended by Dr.John Stolk and I to encompass more of the neurological basis that was overlooked, creating a psychological and biological foundation for moving into profitable, long range relationships.
I more complete description is available in our book Choices: Creating a Financial Services Career.
So instead of teasing around the edges, let’s dive right into the equation that succinctly summarizes the secret to sales…
TF= (C + R + I + A) / SO
The Trust Factor is equal to the sum of the Credibility, Reliability, Intimacy, and Association of the individual, divided by their Self Orientation. Let’s explore each of these briefly.
Credibility (C) is if you know what you are talking about.
Do you have the right licenses and letters after your name? This is why doctors put up their Board Certifications: to make the patients believe they are endorsed by the Establishment and so MUST be right. What letters are on your business card to portray this?
Credibility is both rational and irrational.
Bedside manner (or tact in sales) is needed for all but the greatest minds, to have both cranial hemispheres engaged in the consumer. We have all avoided working with the brilliant jerk. Well-grounded confidence is highly attractive in sales.
Reliability (R) is doing as you say you will when you will.
DO NOT BE LATE! If you say, “I will send this”, there is no excuse for the potential client to not have it when you say so. We have seen tremendously talented executives short circuit their careers by being late habitually. There are many remedies for this if you think about it creatively.
Intimacy (I) is how well the client believes you know each other. This is one of the reasons new financial Representatives are taught to have meals with clients: the act of breaking bread and bonding is ancient and powerfully ingrained.
Do you know more about the important concerns of your client than your competitors?
This is where you can gain a competitive advantage over a superior competitor.
Association (A) is how your client perceives you.
Do they look at you as a professional resource or an order taker?
Are you remembered for being there with them when it was tough to make payroll and helped them, or are you the Johnny Come Lately? What image of you do they have in their mind’s eye?
Each of these four factors (Credibility, Reliability, Intimacy, Association) are positive, higher scores are better.
The last factor is inversely proportional to Trust though, so can actually be more powerful than the other four combined.
Self Orientation (SO): Are you in desperate need of that sale? The client can feel it, like a dog smelling fear. This is the single greatest area of opportunity for a salesperson to work on themselves and see quick results.
Ask yourself: am I recommending this for my good or the good of the purchaser?
If it is the former you need to step back and re-evaluate, to understand their needs better so as to NOT be that pushy salesman. Honesty really is the best policy here, and the numbers support it.
Always remember that sales is a transfer of value from one party to the other and it doesn’t matter if the value is a physical object like a car or an intangible like the peace of mind of a life insurance policy. Making the other party truly feel that they are getting the best of the deal is critical to success, to ensure that trust is built.
Focus on getting them what they need to get what you want, and if you do it with enough people you will never worry for a sale. We have taught this Trust Factor equation to thousands of Advisors that have seen fast and significant improvements.
Take a piece of paper and sit down and rate yourself on each factor, then answer the question: what can I do TODAY to improve on this?
If you do so you too could now see some quick changes. Do it once a month and at the end of the year, you will see radical improvement, both in your sales and in your person as you evolve into a Trusted Advisor.
Thank you for letting me share this insight with you. If you were to want more, reading our book would be a smart move.