We already know that trust is the most crucial element to making a sale. People ultimately buy from people they trust. While liking someone can also affect the buying decision trust still leads the way. Science tells us that trust, at the required level powers about 40% of the buying decision. Almost half!
Since trust is so important, it’s probably a good idea to understand the elements of it, and even more importantly, how we most often lose or reduce trust. These trust fails are what Harvard Business School Professor Frances Frie refers to as a trust “wobble”. Wobbles cost you trust, and hence cost you sales.
According to Frei, there are 3 factors that make up the bulk of trust. Authenticity, Empathy and Logic. To the degree someone buys that you are being real, that you care about their needs, and that your logic is solid, they will be inclined to trust you more.
I believe that the most precarious trust element for sales professionals is logic. That belief is based on the bulk of my experience having shown me how often someone who believes in my sincerity, and my motivation to help them will still NOT buy, if I’ve failed to establish the logic side of trust.
Logic seems like an unlikely minefield to lose trust in, I know. After all, the facts are the facts. So how do we lose trust around the facts? It either comes down to our facts being wrong, or to a failure to communicate our facts effectively. Between those two, the communications failure is the most common culprit.
So, to summarize so far. The biggest threat to a trust wobble in sales, is OUR failure to communicate the logic of our proposal effectively.
That means that your math can be correct, we can have won trust in terms of Authenticity and Empathy, and still lose the sale because the client is not operating from the same fundamental assumptions. Sadly, most of the things we do in sales over complicates the data to the point that it confuses prospects. The cure for this simple. Boil it all back down to the fundamental premises, and get the prospect to agree to those fundamentals before you ever present data.
“There are no contradictions. Whenever you face a contradiction, go back and check your premises, for one of them is wrong.” — D’Anconia
The fundamental premises can be summarized as these 4 pillars:
1 – The existence of the problem (aka pain)
2 – The objective or desired outcome
3 – The method of measuring progress towards that outcome
4 – The specific goal using that measurement.
Here’s an example. I spent years working with a tech advertising company. (warning, if you know me from those days, the following example will ring a bell or two).
When we made calls on prospects, we tried to establish the 4 pillars in the following way:
1 – Current Advertising options are expensive and hard to track (Problem)
2 – Advertising should directly generate revenue (desired outcome)
3 – A business should be able to track revenue dollar to dollar compared to the costs of said advertising (Method of measurement)
4 – Ideally, you should be able to at least double your money using that measurement. (Specific success standard)
Experience showed us that we could use a fancy ROI calculator, tons of visuals, lots of bells and whistles, but if we didn’t have agreement on those fundamental premises, chances were that we would lose the sale.
What’s your version of the four pillars? Do you know them cold? Do they show up early and often in your sales and marketing materials? Are you communicating them effectively? Do you make it a priority for yourself or your sales staff to establish these and get confirmation from the prospect BEFORE you present?
If you’re not focused on these, you could be losing a lot of logical trust, because your prospects have a different set of premises. Matching beliefs on a fundamental level leads to more trust, and hence to more sales. Failing to do that leads to proposals that sit out there forever, stall and eventually fail.