The sales pipeline can be unpredictable. But when you’re running a business, your pipeline is essentially your company’s lifeline. Here’s how you can encourage your sales team to build trust and secure those leads.
As the old adage goes, business is built on trust. Customers commit to the sales process when they can fully trust it. Once trust is established, they are more likely to be loyal to the process. Particularly when they fully trust the person behind the process. But how do you build trust? Let’s look at an example.
Gregory is a sales professional who is expecting a big deal to come his way to meet his target. The potential prospect has agreed to a deal a month in advance, however, recently pulled out. Did they lose interest? Did another project overtake priority? Unfortunately, prospects don’t owe you an explanation for changing their mind. However, the impact on your company’s cash flow can be significant.
Because Gregory was waiting for this opportunity, some of his other potential deals slipped through the pipeline as well. He may have thought it was a sure thing, but prospects can be unpredictable. Now Gregory’s chances of meeting his targets are not looking so great.
Unfortunately, many sales professionals are similar to Gregory. Prospects may back out of deals at any stage within the sales pipeline. These bad surprises are usually due to a lack of trust and commitment in the buying process. Building trust is the most difficult part of the acquisition game. Gregory failed to build trust in the early stages of the sales pipeline. Therefore his prospects were not loyal and did not feel the need to commit long term. The sales process is inevitably complicated and to get on top of the game, trust is essential.
How to sell to multiple decision-makers
Sales isn’t always a one-on-one process with a prospect. Sometimes organisations have multiple decision-makers with different objectives that need to be considered.
Did you know that up to 7 people are involved in a B2B purchasing decision?
Each stakeholder is an important buyer and when a sales professional forgets to address the needs of each specific buyer there is chaos (such as Gregory’s last-minute sales glitch). At times these buyers may not showcase their interests, thus the need to do background research.
Salespeople must look towards gaining information from a ‘buying committee’ as one contact may not be enough to make the ultimate buying decision. Prepare your sales pitch according to the general interests of the stakeholders. Avoid the risk of failure by addressing the needs and interests of all stakeholders in the buying committee. See this buying committee as part of your decision-making flowchart.
Maximise the chances of sales success
The customer is king, but do you really know them? Knowing your customer is a major principle to follow if you want to convert a maybe to a yes. Make sure you have a thorough and firm understanding of all people involved in the buying process. Show buyers how you can give them everything they require.
Give your customers all the information they need by providing them with the prices, terms and conditions. Full transparency is key to building solid relationships with buyers. Do some research into your buyers market to gain an understanding of their organisation at a broader level.
Believe it or not, many salespeople underestimate the value of building trust when it comes to securing a sale. Sales teams who understand the importance of trust within sales are able to create loyal customers.
3 steps for building trust through sales and loyalty programmes
How do you build deeper levels of trust? How do you drive customer loyalty? There is no easy answer or approach but loyalty programmes can be a great asset for a business focused on customer satisfaction. Here are some steps that can help you along the process.
1. Integrity, values and purpose
The idea that you’re just trying to make quick money will stop buyers from trusting your sales efforts. A sales approach with good intentions will result in successful relations and better results. By “good intentions” we mean providing effective solutions and wise counsel to address your customer’s marketing needs in a way that stays true to your company’s ethos. Loyalty programmes are a good example of showcasing strong morale. They provide customers with consistent rewards for their commitment to the business. Once you’re able to understand the core values and motivation behind the process you will be able to help your customer with a more authentic approach.
2. Relevancy and business value
Make sure to do research on the prospects’ working environment in order to gain an in-depth analysis of their needs and challenges. Will you be providing them with the utmost business value? If the answer to this question is yes then you have a higher chance of reaching the final acceptance stage of the sales pipeline. Loyalty programmes are able to reinforce the idea of business relevancy by offering reward schemes according to the specific needs of the business.
3. Customer advocacy and loyalty perks
Good salespeople are aware of the importance of developing a partnership with prospects rather than an ordinary buyer-supplier status. Partnerships are more likely to affirm trust and loyalty. Loyalty programmes provide membership perks which creates value for customers. Work towards being a “trusted advisor” and sooner or later, you may just become an extension of the prospects’ buying committee.
Invest in your customers to bring them value
Sales professionals don’t want to end up like Gregory.
Make sure to give your customer a sales pitch with high levels of business relevance to guarantee them good solutions. Loyalty programmes are a strategic engagement tool in retaining customers making it more likely for them to trust your objectives. Keep noble intentions to build an authentic experience for your prospects. Ultimately, your customers are your partners in growing your business.
Don’t just depend on luck for successful sales but work on trust as your first priority.
Prosper² believes customer loyalty programmes are integral for businesses. They use a powerful strategy to build trust and loyalty within the Prosper² Rewards Programme.
Want to learn more about sales prospecting and getting them over the line? Read more from Prosper2media’s content resource for SMEs here.