11 Psychology Tips to Get Prospects to Trust You Faster

A shifty, duplicitous salesperson is unlikely to have a successful career. Business leaders want to buy from people they trust. Sell a few bad deals, and an unsavory reputation will begin to precede you.

However, the majority of salespeople don’t fit the slimy “used car salesman” stereotype. At the beginning of a sales engagement, most get stuck in that precarious middle ground between trustworthy and downright dishonest. The buyer doesn’t have reason to mistrust the rep, but they don’t exactly have faith in the salesperson either.

To become a “trusted advisor” — as so many thought leaders advocate — a rep must first gain their prospects’ trust. While trust is an intangible and somewhat slippery metric, there are still some concrete actions salespeople can take to build rapport with buyers and win their faith faster.

Here are 11 psychology-inspired tips to help you build trust with buyers in a snap.

1. Offer Social Proof

The bandwagon effect causes people to adopt trends and ideas because others are adopting them (think pet rocks, or more recently, yoga pants). When we see other people — especially those we trust — vouching for something by wearing it, using it, or talking it up, it colors our opinion of the object in question.

Harness the power of the bandwagon effect and social proof by soliciting LinkedIn recommendations from current or former customers. Did you help a client achieve incredible results, or earn a promotion? Ask them to write up a brief paragraph about your work together and share it for all to see on your profile page. Prospects coming to you cold might warm up to you a bit after reading a few glowing endorsements (especially if they know or share common connections with your referrer).

2. Establish Your Credibility

Humans naturally fear the unknown. This helped us from not getting eaten by a range of scary, sharp-toothed animals when we were still hunters and gatherers. Is that bush rustling in a menacing way? Maybe we should approach it slowly instead of running up to it and yelling loudly with a stick.

Today, our chances of being devoured by a lion have greatly decreased, but our odds of being screwed over by a vendor have not. Hence, buyers are wary to trust salespeople whose credibility hasn’t been proven. Providing hard data about results you’ve helped drive in your introductory call can do a lot to disarm the prospect, and inch closer to trust.

3. Look Them in the Eye

Maintaining eye contact when speaking with someone face-to-face is an important form of nonverbal communication, especially when building trust.

According to the Journal of Small Business Strategy, eye contact may help increase the level of motivation in those you’re speaking to, making them more likely to trust what you’re saying and increasing confidence in taking instructions.

However, staring directly into your prospect’s eyes for your entire meeting is bound to make them feel uncomfortable. Try maintaining eye contact for seven to 10 seconds at a time to communicate trustworthiness and confidence.

4. Bring Up Bad Experiences

Has your prospect been burned by another vendor in your space? Encourage them to talk about the experience, and how it’s affected their ability to trust salespeople.

This might seem counterintuitive, but digging up your prospect’s negative emotions could pave the way for trust with you. By probing into where specifically the previous rep failed them, you can make a completely informed promise to your buyer that you won’t go down the same path.

Psychology Today article also points out that people are innately more or less trusting based on their relationship with their primary caregiver as a child. You don’t need to (and shouldn’t) butt into your buyer’s childhood issues, but if you sense you’re dealing with a naturally distrustful person, you might gently make them aware of this inclination.

“Because our mental representations are automatic and not consciously perceived, we can combat their effect on how we interpret events and actions by bringing them into conscious awareness,” the article states. In other words, by bringing mistrustful tendencies to the surface, you might help the buyer reevaluate how they perceive you and your company.

5. Eliminate Decision Fatigue

Today, consumers have access to nearly any piece of information to support buying decisions at their fingertips. Though that may seem like a positive, it can be daunting for buyers. As shared by Gartner, having access to too much information is overwhelming for many consumers. In fact, when customers receive too much information related to a buying decision, they are 153% more likely to make a smaller purchase than planned.

Help your customers navigate this scenario and eliminate decision fatigue by offering to help your customers evaluate relevant information related to their buying decision, instead of merely throwing more information at them, leaving them to sort through it on their own. To do this, focus on simplifying what you share with your buyers, supporting them as they come to their own conclusions.

6. Leverage FOMO

When making the case for a sale, your buyer may be more motivated by what they will miss by not taking the offer than by what they could gain by purchasing from you. If that’s the case, creating a sense of FOMO or fear of missing out can be an effective tactic for your sales strategy.

Use FOMO to your advantage by creating a sense of urgency or scarcity when making the sale. Whether that’s by sharing your offer is only available for a limited time, or offering special pricing within specific terms, helping your buyers remember what’s at stake if they don’t take action can be a powerful motivator.

7. Be Consistent

Unflinching, total trust isn’t built in a day. It takes days, months, or even years of proving yourself to earn someone’s faith. But what if you only have a two-minute-long cold call?

Regardless of the length of time, consistency is a key factor in building trust. Over the long term, you should deliver on the terms of your client’s contract and follow up on any promises you made during the sales process. However, you can also establish credibility in the super short term.

For example, many salespeople start their cold calls by saying “This will only take five minutes.” And yet, they talk on and on. Pretty soon a half-hour has gone by. The call ends only when the prospect hangs up.

This is inconsistent behavior. If you say you’d like to talk for just five minutes, talk for just five minutes. When you time yourself and stop promptly at the five-minute mark, the buyer knows that you mean what you say, you respect their time, and the seeds of trust have been planted.

8. Put Your Faith in Them

In a Business Insider article, Darlene Price, president of Well Said Inc., recommends the phrase “You decide — I trust your judgment” as a way to build trust. Why? Because demonstrating your trust in your prospect will encourage them to trust you back.

The underlying psychological phenomenon here is known as the Pygmalion effect, or the idea that positive reinforcement promotes a positive behavioral response. Researchers Rosenthal and Babad who coined the term in 1985 describe the effect as, “When we expect certain behaviors of others, we are likely to act in ways that make the expected behavior more likely to occur.”

So if you think someone is trustworthy, you’ll treat them as such. And because you treat them like they’re trustworthy, they’re more likely to reciprocate.

9. Be Competent

This is a no-brainer. If you’re not good at your job, prospects won’t trust you — and quite honestly, they shouldn’t.

So what does it mean to be a competent salesperson? Here’s a brief list of foundational skills you should master:

  • Pre-call research
  • Asking the right qualification questions
  • Listening to the buyer, and pivoting conversations according to what they care about
  • Crafting thoughtful answers to objections and having them at the ready
  • Presenting tailored demos
  • Knowing when to close, and doing so effectively

If you’re weak in one of these areas, ask your manager for help or seek additional training.

10. Demonstrate Genuine Concern

Trust often prompts people to share personal details about their lives, or divulge information not publicly known. And I doubt they would do this if they didn’t think their listener would care, or at least empathize.

According to the American Psychological Association, empathy often feels like hard work, however, in sales empathizing with your customer is worth the effort. The best salespeople are concerned with helping their buyers above all else, and their genuine interest and empathy is repaid with the buyer’s trust.

11. Smile

Trust is a serious topic, but that doesn’t mean you have to look dead serious when you’re trying to get people to trust you. In fact, an overly somber expression might have the opposite effect.

In an experiment between trustees and potential senders, smiles that were perceived as more genuine strongly influenced the senders’ opinions of who to trust and send money to. Offering a genuine smile and open body language can go a long way when speaking to prospects.

Again, trust isn’t built in a day — but the foundation for trust can be. Employ these tips to get to trusted advisor status with your prospects faster (and increase your sales in the process).

Source: hubspot.com ~ By: Emma Brudner ~ Image: Canva Pro

5 Ways to Build Authority With Any Prospect

But while trust is necessary to a good working relationship, it’s not enough. You have to establish authority as well.

When you call a prospect for the first time, you probably haven’t given them any reason to care about what you’re saying. They’re thinking:

    • Who is this person?
    • Why should I believe anything they say?
    • Do they even know anything about me?

Authority is different from trust. Establishing authority requires showing that you’re a specialist in a particular subject matter or process, and possess a particular skill set that can help your prospect.

Establishing authority is also necessary to staying in control of the sales process. If you seem like a hot mess, your prospects won’t believe that you’re able to truly understand their problems, much less help them come up with a viable solution. Sales reps who convey authority come prepared to calls, think a few steps ahead, and project confidence.

Generally speaking, being authoritative usually requires a person to be forceful, confident, and direct. But authority takes on a slightly different meaning in sales, and is therefore expressed in different ways. Here are five techniques salespeople can use to build authority with prospects.

1) Start your calls with an agenda and a question.

Setting an agenda shows your prospect you’ve thought deeply about your business relationship and how to advance it in a productive manner.

Always ask your prospect to review your agenda and confirm it makes sense. Steamrolling your prospect is the opposite of authority — there’s a huge difference between being controlling and being in control (more on that later). Be flexible and willing to adapt if that’s what your prospect wants.

The question signals that while you’re in control, you’re not going to force your prospect into anything. You care what they have to say. Some examples of good opening questions include:

  1. “How’s everything going [in relation to discussed goals or plans]?” Ask for a status update early on to quickly surface potential roadblocks.
  2. “When we last spoke, we discussed X and decided on Y. Does Y still make sense?” Confirm that you and your prospect are on the same page. If you’re not, find out why.
  3. “Before we get started today, is there anything you think I should know?” A mix of #1 and #2, this question gives your prospect the opportunity to discuss information that’s important to them — and may wind up being crucial to your sale.

2) Demonstrate your experience.

If a salesperson said to you, “Trust me, I’ve seen your situation a million times — everything will be fine,” how would you respond?

If you’re savvy, you’ll say, “Oh, really? Give me an example.”

Your prospect has no reason to believe that you have a track record of success unless you show them what you’ve done. Whether it’s sharing anecdotal examples, setting up a call with a satisfied customer, or providing a walkthrough of the sales process, your prospect will be far more likely to listen to what you say if you’re able to prove you know your stuff.

3) Work how the prospect wants to work.

What’s the difference between being controlling and being in control?

A controlling salesperson is rigid and inflexible. He won’t change his approach no matter what his prospect says, because he believes his way is the only way. And guess what? He probably doesn’t close a lot of deals.

A rep who’s in control knows this isn’t an effective tactic. She’s not afraid to change her strategies if it turns out her prospect needs something a little different. By being adaptable, she’s demonstrating that she’s an expert seller — all while making her prospect feel as comfortable as possible.

The takeaway? Always ask your prospect if they’re in agreement with you before taking a step. For example, you might say, “What I’d like to do now is spend 30 minutes taking you through X. Is that okay with you? Will you let me know if I start talking too fast, too slow, or if you have any questions?”

By getting your prospect’s buy-in, you’ve automatically made them a stakeholder in the process and confirmed that you’re proceeding at their desired cadence.

4) Be businesslike with a personality.

I love making people laugh. When people are having a good time, they’re more relaxed and more real.

Authority doesn’t mean being so lofty and out-of-reach that your prospects can’t relate to you. I use analogies to make my prospects smile — “moving faster than a hungry dog to a hot dog cart” is one of my favorites. Humor allows me to foster a connection with my prospect, who is then more likely to tell me the truth.

Here’s another way in which I bring my personality to selling. I like to ask whether the process has been easy or hard, stressful or relaxing, fun or a pain. This tells me whether the prospect has done this before and is following a set plan, or is winging it and needs a bit more help.

Like trust, authority is easier to gain if your prospect believes you’re genuine. You can’t get by on likability alone, but I always bring my personality to the table because the rapport I build with my prospects makes them more receptive to my direction. Ultimately, prospects are more likely to be forthcoming if they feel you’re genuine. And unless you understand their needs, you can’t tailor the sales process to their unique situation.

5) Recap.

At the end of every conversation, clearly list next steps for both you and your prospect, and attach due dates. Email out a written summary after each call recapping what’s been done and what’s next, and ask for updates, changes, or questions.

Keep in mind that your prospects are busy people, and they depend on you to keep them organized and remind them of what to expect next.

It’s essential to stay in control of a sales process. You simply can’t close deals if your prospect doesn’t put stock in what you say. Moreover, you can’t successfully anticipate objections or accurately forecast deals without a plan and the ability to get your prospect to follow you. And to do that, you need to establish authority.

Source:  hubspot.com ~ By: Dan Tyre ~ Image: Canva Pro

What Is Authority and Why Does Your Business Need It?

Authority is a term that gets thrown around a lot in the business realm. Clearly, most of us understand the concept of authority in a general sense. We’re supposed to respect people with authority, but how does this relate to businesses?

Your company must have authority, but why? What does it mean, and how come it’s so important?

What is authority?

In a business sense, companies with authority are seen to be on a pedestal above the rest. These businesses know a lot about their field – they’re experts. If consumers are looking for advice, or they want to know which business to trust with their money, then they’ll look for authoritative sources.

So, in many ways, your authority is your reputation. It relates to the amount of respect that everyone has for your company, and how people view your skills. If you’re not seen to have much authority, then you’re viewed as a business that’s low down in the pecking order.

Why does your business need authority?

We’ve already established one key reason – to gain respect and raise your reputation. As a consequence, this can have an effect on your sales figures. Imagine a consumer is faced with a decision. They want to buy something, and they’re looking at two businesses. One has been around for ages and has established itself as an authoritative source in the industry. The other is relatively new on the block, and nobody knows much about them.

Who will they choose?

Obviously, they pick the business with a sense of authority, because there’s more trust between the two parties. Think about it another way, you go to a doctor when you get sick because you know they’re qualified to help you over, say, your friend from down the street.

So, gaining a positive reputation is one reason, but there’s also another – SEO. Search engine optimization relies on authority. Google wants to display the best and most authoritative websites to its users. If you demonstrate this, then you get ranked higher. Therefore, you can see more traffic, leading to more leads, and more sales. The secret is learning how to build your authority in the first place. With things like Digital Score SEO, you can slowly build your reputation, alerting Google to your prowess. Then, funnily enough, as one of the higher ranking websites, you gain even more authority. People see you as a source of knowledge because you’re one of the top results. From here, the benefits grow!

Lastly, authority helps you develop better business relationships. Other companies are more likely to enter partnerships with an authoritative enterprise. They see it as a benefit to work with a company that’s already well-respected. As a result, you can start growing your business and entering new markets thanks to your new business relationships.

So, business authority means that you are highly respected, and people see you as an expert in your field. Your company should work on building authority as it can lead to the following benefits:

  • A positive reputation
  • Improved SEO
  • More leads
  • More sales
  • Better business relationships
  • Business growth

If you feel like something’s been holding your company back, then it might be down to a lack of authority. Fix it, then reap the rewards.

Source: robinwaite.com ~ Image: Canva Pro

10 Top Ways to Recruit Mentors Within Your Business

Recruiting mentors is one of the biggest challenges organizations face when starting a mentoring program, so here are our top 10 ideas to help you out.

How effective your mentoring program is entirely dependent on the participants you recruit. Mentoring within an organization is becoming increasingly significant with 67% of businesses reporting an increase in productivity and 55% stating an increase in profits due to mentoring programs. Starting a program within your company is the start of truly exciting times ahead and a chance for real transformation.

Over the years, mentoring has proven extremely beneficial to organizations with the benefits outweighing any costs involved. However, one of the most frequent challenges faced is actually how to recruit effective mentors within your organization. You should be considering these ideas when it comes to recruiting and retaining your mentors:

1. Having a target audience and key objectives
The first step and arguably the most important factor in promoting your program and recruiting mentors is to understand your target audience and key objectives. You need to work together with your team to fully comprehend why you need a program and who it is targeted at. Are you looking to improve employee engagement? Is there a barrier between departments? Is employee retention low? These are just some of the more common reasons people implement a mentoring program in their organization. Once you’ve identified your key objectives and audience, you can begin acting on ideas to promote the program company-wide.

2. Get senior leadership involved
Creating a successful mentoring culture and program within your organization begins with senior leadership. You need to ensure the senior members of your business are advocates of the program and efficiently convey the importance of mentoring to their colleagues, their success stories, and positive experience. This will improve the visibility of the program and how it’s received across your organization. By engaging with senior team members and having them on board as mentors (or reverse mentees) is highly impactful on how the organization as a whole embraces mentoring and inspires your employees.

3. Success stories
When trying to relate with your staff members, personalized messages work great. Personal stories from participants of your mentoring program are the ideal way to showcase the influence and success of mentoring within your organization. Video testimonials and quotes about things such as how the mentoring program has allowed for promotions to be made, the new skills learned by the mentees/mentors, and the personal goals met are some of the things you should be convincing when trying to attract people to the program.

4. Case studies
Although considered similar to success stories, case studies also show the challenges faced and how the individual was able to overcome any obstacles. Case studies are a great way to showcase the success of the program within your organization. You can share the case studies with your organization through the use of emails, articles, and social posts.

5. Host mentoring events
With the lockdown being lifted, people are more eager than ever to attend real-life events, however, these events can also be hosted online. Hosting a mentoring program kick-off launch or ongoing events can be a powerful way of drawing people’s attention to the mentoring scheme you have in place at your organization. Hosting an event where an inspiring mentor can speak to your employees, a place where they can have the opportunity to network with other mentoring members and discuss their stories is highly impactful.

6. Be clear on commitments
It’s essential that you’re clear on the commitments and expectations of mentors, not only to recruit them but to retain them. Provide your employees with transparent and realistic guidelines of what’s expected, including things such as time commitments and how they can help. Some of your employees may not have sufficient free time outside of work due to other personal life responsibilities and need to ensure they have enough time left in their schedule to help mentees before signing up.

7. Email communication
The use of email is a popular communication technique used by companies worldwide. This popular method of communicating with employees is a great way to get the message out there, without taking up too many resources. To recruit mentors to your program you can send a company-wide email outlining more about the program, what’s involved and the value it adds for the individual. However, as it’s easy for employees to miss or ignore their emails, there are factors you need to think about such as the time you send the email or the subject line.

8. Instant messenger channels
Besides email, since the beginning of last year, more companies are using other means of communication such as Slack, Zoom, or teams. If your organization has any of these in place it would be advised to also communicate about the program via these channels by sending out a mass message to all the members of your organization.

9. Team meetings
Have the managers at your organization host team meetings to discuss the implementation of the new program. Your managers know and work with their team members and know exactly who would be a great fit for the program. Your team leaders can also be advocates of the program, conveying its significance.

10. Portray the value
The main factor in recruiting and retaining mentors is ensuring your company can express the value mentoring brings to the table. As mentoring is a voluntary experience, it’s crucial to showcase the impression it can have not only on them as an individual but the business in general. To illustrate the value, you need to have a plan in place to fully understand how you’re going to reach these members and what methods you’re going to use. Examples of this could be utilizing email, and producing videos and internal blog posts.

Final thoughts
When recruiting mentors for your program, it’s important to strategically plan your methods and truly understand how as an organization you’re able to demonstrate the value and impact the program brings to your staff members. Don’t wait until the last moment and leave the mentors to come to you, utilise these ideas to guarantee your mentoring program is as effective and thriving as possible.

Source: pushfar.com ~ Image: Canva Pro

Data Shows Mentors are Vital to Small Business Success

A survey of more than 200 small businesses sheds light on the importance of mentorship among entrepreneurs.

Kabbage, Inc., a global financial services, technology and data platform serving small businesses, surveyed more than 200 small businesses throughout the US to understand the importance of mentorship to small business owners. The findings show:

Only 22 percent of small businesses had mentors when they started business. Another 17 percent indicated they have an advisor, which suggests a paid relationship for consulting and advice. This leaves a wide percentage of business owners, 63 percent, not pursuing professional guidance at the onset of their business.

92 percent of small businesses agree mentors have a direct impact on the growth and the survival of their business. A separate Kabbage report revealed that 84 percent of small businesses reach profitability in the first four years of their business, with 68 percent attaining profitability in the first year. The early years of any business is a crucial make-or-break period and most small businesses agree mentors are vital to success.

The study shows that 61 percent of small business owners mentor others, and 58 percent specifically mentor younger entrepreneurs. This shows that small business owners are taking the time and finding value in giving their time to mentor, and younger entrepreneurs are seeking mentors to help in their careers. This was most prevalent in industries such as real estate, property management, and construction.

Of all respondents, 89 percent of small business owners that don’t have a mentor wish they did. This represents the 63 percent of businesses that do not currently have a mentor, highlighting a need among the entrepreneurship community to easily find and connect with others that can deliver actionable advice and value to a business.

“A great mentor is someone who provides objective advice, provides counsel from a fresh perspective, is willing to collaborate, listen and learn, as well as remind you of your goals, your purpose, and what you’re working so hard to achieve,” said Head of People Operations at Kabbage, Amy Zimmerman. “Businesses have a great opportunity to provide everyone in a company the benefit of mentors—from the founders to the interns—as the data shows it’s critical for success. We began offering this perk at Kabbage and have seen great success as it can be an affordable benefit that businesses can easily leverage.”

Source: kabbage.com ~ Image: Canva Pro

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