Every one of your potential customers has been burned by a salesperson who used dishonest tactics to separate them from their money. Because of this, many of your would-be customers don’t initially trust you. You can cross the “trust threshold” if you genuinely care about the customer. However, caring does not guarantee the sale. They also have to respect you.
Buyers are used to being taken advantage of. Frankly, they expect it. Why wouldn’t they feel this way when seemly everybody is trying to separate them from their money at all costs? Salespeople and marketers use more sophisticated tactics now than ever. Never before have there been more powerful tools they can take advantage of to track buyers’ movements (online and in the real world). However, the most powerful offenders that are to blame for the erosion of buyer trust are those that research and study the latest trends in buyer psychology and practice the tradecraft of “emotional intelligence.” Their goal is to understand what the buyer is feeling, and then skillfully manipulate those emotions and feelings to their own advantage.
Ultimately, these people only care to serve one person: themselves.
The Buyer’s Defense | Experience + Intuition
What defense do buyers have against these skilled modern day “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who hide their true intentions behind a well-constructed veil of deceit? Well, it really comes down to a combination of experience and gut intuition. At a fundamental level, our human brains have evolved over 200 million years to help us detect friend from foe. This evolutionary trait is in all of us, and it is this “gut intuition” that helps us determine whether someone is out to help us or hurt us. This is our first line of defense against virtually any would-be assailant in our lives.
Experience gained over time by virtue of having many interactions with many different salespeople help the buyer be more attuned to detecting those who are only looking out for themselves. Over time, these buyers are exposed to more and more unscrupulous salespeople that can cause the buyer to take a default stance of distrust towards anyone who comes calling. According to Harvard Psychologist Amy Cuddy, humans have evolved to judge others on two criteria as soon as they meet them: can they a) trust them, and b) respect them (read more here).
Crossing the “Trust Threshold”
Your first challenge as a sales representative is quite clear. Before you can do anything else, your first goal needs to be focused on winning the initial trust of your potential client. Again, this is no easy task thanks to buyers’ exposure to various degrees of manipulative tactics by other salespeople. When it comes to trust, you have to understand one thing: trust is binary. Either someone does trust you, or they don’t trust you, and I like to call the line that divides the two the “trust threshold.” So how do you get across the “trust threshold” with your would-be customers? To answer that question, one needs to analyze the defenses your buyer uses to protect themselves: a combination of experience and gut intuition. They are trying to use their evolved human senses to determine whether you’re truly genuine or not. So what’s the best way to effectively cause the buyer to willingly lay down their evolved defenses against being taking advantage of? Simple–be genuine.
When it comes to trust you have to understand one thing; trust is a binary thing. Either someone does trust you, or they don’t trust you, and I like to call the line that divides the two the “trust threshold”.
Approach your potential buyers with a genuine sense that you care about their best interests Again, your buyers are trying to sniff out deceitful and manipulative tactics, so don’t use them! . When you approach a potential client with a pure, genuine, and deeply-rooted sense of caring, you will nearly always get past their trust threshold.
A deep and true sense of caring does not guarantee you’ll close the deal, however. During an initial interaction with another person, that individual is subconsciously trying to work out whether they can trust you AND respect you. And just because they trust you does not necessarily mean they will respect you. Respect is another topic entirely, but the general rule to this is that respect is earned. Respect is earned when you are good at your job. Respect is earned when you know your customers’ problems, how those issues affect their business, the frustration those problems cause, and, most importantly, how to fix their problems. If you actually do care about the customer, you’ll put in the work to be the best sales rep you can be. The better and more prepared you are, the better equipped you’ll be to solve their problems.
It all starts with caring. Caring helps you genuinely cross another person’s “trust threshold.” The more you care, the more you will win. Caring sells.