We live in incredible times of change; there’s no disputing that. Old business models are dying out, new business models and disrupting technologies are being born every day that are turning industries on their head.
At the same time, trust is at its lowest level ever. We no longer trust politicians, we no longer trust banks and bankers. We no longer trust the proven models and establishments that have supported us for years, never more proven than in recent times with Brexit and Donald Trump becoming US President.
Underneath that for years, businesses and buyers have never trusted sales people. In fact, salespeople must have an agenda, in a buyer’s mind, because they get paid for what they sell; it’s in their job description after all.
Buyers are now armed with more information
The difficulty in today’s world is that buyers now have more access, to more information, on the features and benefits of our products than ever before. The digital world has levelled the playing field in terms of sellers having more information than buyers; it’s changed it forever.
In fact, a recent survey said that 90% of all buyers do all their research before ever talking to a salesperson. In other words, they are 90% of the way through the sales process before they get to talk to a salesperson. That means that your opportunity, as a business owner, is to become incredibly good at trust-based selling.
In a recent survey of ‘business-to-business’ buyers that were spending over £2,000 to £5,000 pounds on a purchase, 53% of them said that they had made their decision based on the buying experience, and not on the price, or the product features or benefits. Not even on the credit, but on the buying experience alone.
The importance of the buying experience
This inside knowledge offers you a massive opportunity to beat your competition by adopting a trust-based sales model.
The goal here is to understand that ‘trust build’ is built by adding value, and that buyers are looking for a value-driven salesperson; somebody who is passionate about them winning by adding value through becoming their trusted adviser.
Ultimately, if you’re able to do that, you’re able to find what I call ‘Customer Flow’. You’re able to tap into this concept of finding customers that are fun to work with; that they remain loyal; that they are open-minded to buying other products and services from you and who are, ultimately, willing to refer you to people just like them.
Customer Flow is vital for business growth
Customer Flow is one of the most important things in business growth, and if you don’t understand how to build trust and add value, you’ll never achieve Customer Flow and could find yourself running out of Cash Flow!
So how does trust-based selling help business owners just like you grow?
Well, in a nutshell, it will help increase your sales conversion rate because you will ultimately ‘sell’ the way people want to buy. It will also help you grow your engagement with your customer base, and improve the depth of relationship you have.
You’ll enjoy high levels product adoption by existing customers, ultimately, builds greater profits for your business.
Fundamentally, you’ll also extend the lifetime value of your customer because they will have high trust for you, as well as referring, which we’ve already mentioned earlier.
The power of ‘trust-based selling’
The concept of trust-based selling is incredibly powerful. It’s based on work I’ve done with clients for the last 10 years which has delivered proven bottom line results time after time.
Who needs to know this information? Well, if you’re a business owner right now or sales manager or you employ salespeople, this information is literally transformational in terms of how your business operates and gives you one of the biggest competitive advantages available today. Knowing how to sell the way customers like to buy!
How do you apply this, though? Well, the first thing is to sit down and take a piece of paper and work out three columns stating:
- During and
Before you meet a buyer, there are things you need to do to build trust. The key thing here is to understand that in trust-based selling, we sell the way buyers wish to purchase, and this is based on the four buying energies outlined in my book;
- Dynamo energies
- Tempo energies
- Blaze energies and
- Steel energies.
Now, unless you understand what they are, you may actually behave in a way that will create pressure and stress for those buyers, as opposed to building trust and value.
Understanding the way you interact with each of those buying energies is going to change the way you interact with people before the sale, during the sale, and after the sale.
4 Different sales models
You’ll want to have different ways of explaining how your products and service add value to your customers. The key here is to understand your own talents first, to understand what puts you in Flow as a salesperson or as a business owner. What are the activities that you do effortlessly and easily and, ultimately, how do you expand and grow that?
Next up is to understand the talents of your team in your business, so that you have the right people, working with the right customers, at the right point in the sales cycles. Thirdly is to understand a customer’s buying energy and how to match it.
The key thing here is that by adding value, you add value in different ways for different people so they recognise it and purchase from you.
Each of the four different buying energies looks for value in different ways;
- Dynamos look for value in innovation, new ideas and ways to speed up results
- Blaze energies look for value in how it will help their relationships or team
- Tempo energies look for value in proven concepts, consistency and customer service
- Steel energies look for value in data, detail and proven products that drive efficiency and reduce costs and waste.
You need to understand the language of the buyer
Now, unless you understand how to position benefits of your products or service in a way that they will hear it, it’s like talking a different language to the buyer.
Imagine trying to buy something from someone who only spoke Japanese or Italian and you don’t! It’s not going to be easy for you to make an informed decision, as things will get “lost in translation”. That’s how if feels when you only sell the way your energy likes to buy.
Here are three steps you can take right now to get started matching how you sell to your buyers dominant energy:
Step 1: Know yourself in terms of your own profile and which way you like to sell.
Step 2: Look at your top 10 customers work out which buying energies they are, Dynamos, Blaze, Tempo or are they Steel?
Step 3: Start changing to way you sell to match they way your customer like to buy. The customers who match your natural energy will be easy to spot, as they are usually the ones you like working with the most.
Obviously, I go into a lot more in depth in the book, but I hope this has been a helpful overview. Just remember your job is to serve more people by add more value; building more trust; and find customers who put you more in flow.
Do that and your business will continue to grow.
About the author
This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Paul Avins, author of ‘The Authority Guide to Trusted Selling: Building stronger, deeper and more profitable relationships with your customers to create lifetime loyalty’. Published by SRA Books as part of the Authority Guides series of pocket-sized business books.