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The level of trust the prospect has in you, the salesperson, is going to be a direct reflection on the speed with which the prospect buys and the profitability of the sale.

High trust equals a higher close ratio and higher profit. Trust is an outgrowth of the salesperson’s ability to give the prospect confidence. 

Keep reading for seven steps you can implement to help the prospect gain trust in you: 

1. Speak with authority

This doesn’t mean to speak arrogantly or as the one who has all the answers. No, speaking with authority means discussing intelligently with the prospect in a way where they will see you as the key person who can help them. 

2. Demonstrate credibility

Prospects want to know you’re real and have the skill set to handle whatever might be required of you both during and long after the sale is completed. Credibility is you; it’s not your title. Don’t hide behind your title or the company you represent as a way to build credibility. The days of being able to do that passed long ago. Prospects want to know you’re the one who can take care of their needs.

3. Listen

It is sad to even have to list this as one of the seven steps to gain trust with a prospect, but the fact is too many salespeople simply do not listen to the prospect. Listening is not just hearing what the prospect is saying, but truly engaging them in the process through the questions you ask.

4. Value the prospect’s time

Time is the most valuable resource anyone has. It even supersedes money. The important piece is recognizing that it’s how the prospect views time, not how you view it. This may mean having to spend more time with a prospect than you want or meeting with them at a time different than you would like.

5. Respect their views

What good is it if you listen to what the prospect says, but don’t respect what they say? Respecting a person’s views does not mean you have to agree with them. What it means is you value their perspective and why they feel that way. One of the easiest ways to do this is by asking them further questions about what they share with you. Doing so shows you’re more than just listening, but you’re also placing value on what they have to say.

6. Show commitment

Are you someone who does what they say they will do?  The simplest way to demonstrate this is in how you value the prospect’s time. Showing up late for a meeting or going beyond the scheduled time does more to destroy a person’s credibility than nearly anything else. The other easy way to show this is when the prospect asks you when you will have an answer to something, you give them a time you know you can beat. Showing commitment is one of the easiest things we can do, yet because it’s so easy, it’s an area many of us fall short in doing.

7. Be genuine

Simply put – be you; be who you really are. Don’t try to be somebody else. Leave the fake personalities for the movies. Despite what some people might say, you can’t fake your way to success. Trying to be somebody we’re not requires far too much effort. Putting that same amount of effort into focusing on the prospect is a much better way to go. When you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t fake the answer. Let the prospect know you don’t know, but you’ll get back to them with an answer. Nothing is more real and genuine than admitting you don’t know something.

As you read through the seven points, you’re probably saying to yourself how easy each one is. You’re right. Creating trust should be a no-brainer in the sales process. Yet, just as we might think it’s a no-brainer, far too many times a level of trust is never developed and we are left wondering why our closing ratio isn’t higher. 

Which one of the seven do you do well? Which one do you need to work on?  More importantly, what do you think your prospects would say?

About the author 

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Mark Hunter, “The Sales Hunter,” is author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price. He is a sales expert who speaks to thousands each year on how to increase their sales profitability. He was named one of the Top 50 Influencers in Sales by Top Sales World.  To receive a free weekly sales tip and read his Sales Motivation Blog, visit www.TheSalesHunter.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Linkedin.