I was talking to a business owner recently and she said something very interesting. She was trying to get my business and while she was sharing some facts and figures with me, I mentioned that I was already working with someone that I liked. Her response was (loosely) “Well, you like me, too, but if someone has a better deal, you’ll go with that person.” Just so you know, that statement is really far from the truth. In his book, “The Art of Persuasion,” Bob Burg says, “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”
This particular person was trying to win me over with statistics and facts when in reality, there had been a breach of trust between us in the past. I didn’t care about her facts because I wasn’t completely trusting of the source. A little time spent trying to repair the break in trust would have gone a long way in earning my business.
You may have a superior product, you may be the most knowledgeable person in your field, but it won’t matter if people don’t know you, like you and trust you. A great way to build trust is to ask questions. There’s nothing more irritating than to have someone tell you what you need, why their product or service is the best for you and why you can’t live without it when they have no idea what you need or what you want.
Consider using a consultative sales approach. Get to know your prospective customer. What do they like? What are they looking for? What are their needs? If you’re selling the newest curling iron, it might be helpful to know that your prospect is bald underneath her baseball cap before you insist she desperately needs your product. If you ask a few questions – take a minute to get to know her – you may learn that she occasionally wears wigs that need to be styled or that she has friends and family that would love your curling iron.
Don’t let your drive to close the deal ruin your chances. It doesn’t take long to build rapport. Ask a few questions, make a few jokes and help your customer get what they want. In the end, you’ll get what you want to.
photo courtesy of Dionysius Burton