Five ways to build trust with your customers

You will always have a problem selling if your customers don’t trust you. In fact if you are selling products that have a long sales cycle or are managing major accounts you will be dead in the water without trust. Here are five ways to help you build trust...

  • Have the customer's best interests at heart. If your customer can see that you truly want to achieve a win-win situation they will be far more likely to open up and work with you.
  • Warts and all. When you present your product it's often a great credibility builder if you admit openly and frankly a minor weakness, or missing feature that you know isn't too important to the customer. Customers are so used to powerpoint-jockeys coming in and claiming every single feature of their product is world beating. They know it's unlikely your product is perfect; better that you proactively admit a minor wart and gain lots of cred in the process.
  • Respect their time. If you have a 30 minute slot with a prospect or customer, make sure that you stick to it. If you are still there an hour later working your way through every feature in the product spec what do you think happens next time you try to arrange a meeting? If you can't keep to the time you agreed, why should they trust you on anything else?
  • Don't lie to the customer. If you don't understand something or if there is some confidential information you can't share then say so. If you make a habit of lying to customers you will eventually get caught out, at which point you may as well give up and go home.
  • Don't knock the competition. I once had an appalling customer meeting with a technical marketeer colleague who ran out of control during his presentation, making boastful comparisons between our product and the competition. The customer (who likely had our competitor's product being tested next door) helpfully tried to correct him on some of his facts and was told that "no" he was definitely wrong. Fortunately for him, my colleague was across the table and out of my reach!