It has been the slow erosion of trust: the lateness, the lack of communication, the lack of commitment and the forever and last-minute changing of targets. Since leaving the group last week, I have analysed what changed for me. I begin to anticipate the little disappointments, my expectations began to lower, and my attitude was falling in with the low expectations it did not matter if I arrived late as no one is ever on time’ I was not generous or relaxed but felt anxious and aggrieved towards the members.
The higher the trust, the stronger and more profound the relationship
Selling is all about confidence and trust is measured by the transfer of value. Trust is gained through building relationships-but can equally be destroyed by the behaviours demonstrated within the relationship.
What is Trust?
Stephen Covey author Speed of Trust said, “trust is not an intangible, elusive quality that you have, or you don’t; rather, trust is a pragmatic, tangible, actionable asset that you create over time.”
The Three Levels of Trust
- Organisational Trust: supported by the company mission, reputation, culture and brand.
- Interpersonal Trust: how company individuals emotionally relate with empathy and social intelligence and engagement to their internal and external customers.
- Personal Trust: supported by personal values and integrity demonstrated by their knowledge and expertise, and actions in delivering on their promises.
Trust is built one day; it is one interaction at a time; however, it is fragile and can be lost in a moment. If lost, it’s difficult but not impossible to regain says Stephen Covey.
Why Trust is Critical to Sales Relationships?
89% of executives believe that strong client relationships are the reason why they meet their targets each year. However, only 1 in 20 companies provides specific strategies for strengthening client relationships. The power of leveraging business relationships to accelerate deals, negotiate better terms and meet sales targets is one that sales leaders and executives can’t afford to overlook.
The recent Watson Wyatt study showed that high trust companies outperform low trust companies by 286%! Trust and commitment have a significant impact on the creation of value.
The cost of low trust is lost sales reduced revenue and higher costs. Stephen Covey explains what happens when trust is low in a company or relationship, “it places a hidden “tax” on every transaction: every communication, every interaction, every strategy, every decision is taxed, bringing the speed down and sending costs up. My experience is that significant distrust doubles the cost of doing business and triples the time it takes to get things done.”
Interestingly trust and confident is a key driver across many industries. Research into purchasers of professional services found that buyers expected the following qualities: technical ability 27%, responsiveness 25%, interest and attention 23% and trust and confidence 25%.
Feeling empathy and understanding your customer and buyer’s perspective and showing genuinely interested in their issues is a critical part of the sales process. You need trust to build customer relationships and confidence to develop sales conversations. Trust is the foundation of any relationship, whether, personal or professional and critical in sales negotiation.
Four Ways to Create Organisational Wide Trusted Relationships?
- The three levels of trust, organisational, interpersonal and personal must be aligned. If there is a lack of support or commitment for the customer goal, then there is a slow degeneration of value, relationship and revenue results. Organisational strategy and culture must play out in the interpersonal relationships to enable personal relationships.
- Are your organisational behaviours geared to building trust? No one person can instil trust throughout an organisation, but trust is essential for sustained growth that it is must be central to the organisational mission and culture and this is by creating a customer-centric organisation.
- The real transformation starts with building credibility at a personal level. The foundation of trust is personal credibility, and it can be a real differentiator for any sales leader, executive and all employees. A person’s reputation is a direct reflection of their credibility, and it precedes them in any interactions or negotiations. It helps customer to decide how trusted you are in keeping your word. The higher your credibility and reputation, the higher the trust this increases the speed of negotiation and reduces the cost of engagement.
- It is an asset to have deep, trusted relationships with all customers and stakeholders. However, it is more efficient to focus your energies on those relationships that you have the strongest business fit, potential opportunity and mutual connection. These are what I call your most valued customers. Narrow your focus on the two or three customer segments you know best and have the greatest strengths and can add the most value to the customer. Customers with the highest lifetime values (LTVs) and retention rates.
I have work with many sales organisations that aim to imbued trust in their service; however, sales professionals lack confidence in the internal processes to deliver or the interpersonal trust is gained but the pressure to hit quarter or annual target is not aligned with their integrity.
Trust affects the quality and depth of every relationship, every communication, every business opportunity and every sale. Sales leaders and executive that recognise how much trust impacts sales results will not overlook its importance.