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Earning Clients' Confidence

Before clients sign agreements with you, they must have confidence in you. They need to believe that what you say is valuable. It's important for them to be confident in your abilities because by asking for the sale, you are asking them for a serious commitment that involves:

  • Entering into a long-term relationship
  • Parting with their money
  • Risking their customer relationships by exposing them to something new

To earn clients' trust and confidence, show them:

What You Know

Listening is the most important skill to use when meeting prospects, so how do you show them what you know without sounding like an infomercial for yourself?

First, you don't have to give prospects a resum<é> to show them what you know. Through conversation, share your skills, experience and expertise. When answering questions, pepper them with information that shows you know your products, market, competitors and industry.

If prospects don't ask questions about your experience and skills, go ahead and tell them about your qualifications anyway. Perhaps they didn't think to ask, or they are waiting for you to mention it.

Don't miss this opportunity to inform them of your years of experience, how you've seen the industry evolve and what you've learned. Don't let a fear of looking like a showoff prohibit you from getting the sale.

What Others Know About You

As a sales professional, your reputation is your calling card. A solid reputation serves as proof that others trust you. It will help new prospects have faith and confidence in you as well.

Have testimonials and references prepared to share with prospects. Don't wait for them to ask for references. Providing these upfront will demonstrate that you are confident in the services you've provided and sure that others are happy with the results. Also, highlight the customers who are important to prospects, such as neighbors, competitors or acquaintances.

If you have any training or mentoring experience, mention it. This shows that colleagues value your character and skills enough to want others to learn from you.

Tell prospects about your ties to the community. Perhaps you are a member of an organization that is meaningful to a merchant. For example, if you know that the merchant sponsors a Little League team and you are a coach, mention it. Any community action helps them get an idea of your character and also provides them with a source to find out more about you.

If your company has received any media coverage, have copies of the articles on hand. Perhaps The Green Sheet featured your company, or your Chief Executive Officer was quoted in a news article.

This information from an objective third party will help the prospect get a feel for you and your company.

What You Know About Them

While it is important to demonstrate to prospects what you know and that others trust you, also show them that you understand their business.

After all, how can you claim they need your products and services unless you understand what they do?

Be knowledgeable of prospects' current industry trends or sales figures. Be aware of what their competitors are doing. This information demonstrates that you've taken the time to qualify them as potential clients.

It also shows them that you value their business enough to make the extra effort, even before you have the sale.

However, you don't want to offend prospects by assuming you know everything you need to know, or everything they know. Explain that you want to understand their industry, and their place in the industry, as best as you can.

Ask questions that help you appreciate their particular experience. This will help you work together to determine their needs and which of your solutions fits them best.

To win the confidence of prospects and new clients, show them what you know, what others know about you and what you know about them.

Finally, give it some time. Customers won't have complete confidence in you right away. Trust is a process; it grows over time. With some patience and effort, prospects will come to trust you and have confidence in you and your products.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.
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