Mark Richardson's Think Business: Earning the right to tell your story

Over the past several years your prospects have changed dramatically. These changes are not in their basic demographics (where they live or their income); the changes are in their behavior and attitude toward spending money on their homes. Your prospect is nervous. Your prospect is overwhelmed by all the choices.

May 05, 2013
Mark Richardson, CR

Mark Richardson, CR

Are you a product peddler or a home doctor? Are you a remodeling specialist or a dream maker? Are you a contractor or a long-term friend?

You are all of these—even if you don’t like some of the labels or connotations. Today, however, how you are perceived is the difference between gaining a client or not. It is the difference between winning or losing the sale.

Over the past several years your prospects have changed dramatically. These changes are not in their basic demographics (where they live or their income); the changes are in their behavior and attitude toward spending money on their homes. Your prospect is nervous. Your prospect is overwhelmed by all the choices. Your prospect is stressed out and fearful of diving into a remodeling project.

These conditions are well-documented with consumer confidence decreases and many key metrics in your business. How have you changed your role with the prospect in the sales process? How have you changed the type and nature of advice you give to a prospect?

To address this changing consumer, you need to change your own mindset. It begins by acknowledging that in today’s environment you need to “earn the right to tell your story.”

If you assume you are entitled to this right, you will not break through and ease the client’s fears and anxiety. Once you understand this key is required to unlock the opportunity to do business, you will begin to become masterful and see your sales and results dramatically increase.

Earning the right to tell your story begins by focusing on the client’s causes and interests, not yours. The client may have called you to discuss remodeling, but don’t assume you will do business with them until they like and trust you.

Don’t assume your price is more important than your relationship in their decision process. While this mindset adjustment may be tough at first, it not only is a positive one but also a sustainable one that will make you more successful in any economic condition. The following are some “trust-creating” tips and thoughts that do not require special training, only the conviction that they are required to see success in this environment.

Help them buy vs. sell them

If you want to build trust, take off your sales hat and put on your advisor hat. An advisor has the client’s interest in mind first and foremost. An advisor makes suggestions or shares insights that the client did not ask for. An advisor is an expert on related issues such as financial return on investment or perceived neighborhood reaction to the decisions. When you really show the client that you are a “buying tour guide” in this process, client fears will be greatly reduced. Your client will then likely proceed with a project, and most of the time it will be with you.

Be on time

This almost sounds like I am telling you to brush your teeth in the morning—you would be right. Trust cannot be built unless you do what you say you were going to do.

When you have an 8 a.m. appointment, arrive at 7:59 a.m. When you tell a prospect you will have samples or more information for them by next Wednesday, have it to them on Tuesday. This may sound a little mechanical, but it is all about building trust. If you do not do what you promise to do, then how can they trust you?

Always exceed expectations. The concept of delivering on promises is like adding deposits into a relationship bank—eventually you will get the sale.

Knowledge

It has been said, “Knowledge instills confidence, confidence creates enthusiasm, and enthusiasm sells.” It all begins with having the fundamental knowledge. Trust also comes from one’s confidence in your knowledge.

Would you trust a doctor more to operate on your heart if you knew he or she did this type of procedure five times a week versus once a month?

Would you trust a financial advisor more if he or she was certified and had been acknowledged as an expert in the field versus someone new to the profession?

Of course you would. This knowledge, and the accolades that follow, reduce the prospect’s fear and allows them to proceed with trust and confidence. While these may sound like simple suggestions, they are actually more complicated to adopt and master. If you can commit to this shift in mindset and see your role through different lenses, your level of success will dramatically increase and you will make a lot more friends in the process. PR

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