What’s More Important in Sales: Transaction or Trust?
What’s more important in sales? The transaction or customer trust?
How you and your boss answer this question determines if you see your sales actions as being short term or long term. That viewpoint decides how your business grows, how long it will last, and ultimately how rich you become.
What’s the Business Difference?
A transaction fills your belly and pays the bills today. Trust lines up business for tomorrow.
A transaction helps you meet today’s quota (how your boss chooses to measure performance). Trust puts business capital in the emotional bank account.
A transaction means you win. Trust mean you both win.
A transaction means they traded money for something. Trust means you both traded up for more.
A transaction sets the current spending limit of your customer. Trust sets the customer’s future spending limit.
A transaction has a beginning and an end. Trust has a beginning and can go on forever.
A transaction sets the ceiling on how far a customer will go with you. Trust removes that ceiling: the more trust, the higher the ceiling.
How Do You Measure Trust?
It’s easy to measure transactions: we count the number of customers and count the number of dollars.
Measuring trust is bit more challenging. The moment you ask, “How much do you trust me?” the data gets skewed. While pollsters will ask questions like, “What’s your trust level?” and then offer a scale from no trust to complete trust, how can you trust the answer?
Trust is best measured under duress. When something goes wrong, you know if you can trust or not. It’s that binary, there’s either trust or no trust.
Same happens with customers. When they’re in an emergency situation, you’ll know if they trust you because they’re calling for help. In times of trouble, they call the one they most trust.
By the same token, you earn trust quickest during difficult times. That’s why complaining customers present you with the opportunity to generate valuable business capital when you choose to engage with them, converting their complaints into trust.
Trust is Earned
You can’t generate trust by saying, “Trust me!” That phrase causes people to question trust, not increase it. Stop saying that.
The biggest trust creator is consistency: the experience customers can expect time after time. Ultimately, a consistent experience becomes your brand, whether personal or corporate.
Trust is most quickly earned under duress. That’s why the military uses boot camps to build comradery, an intimate form of trust, and why fraternities haze pledges.
While you don’t have the luxury to cause customers duress, you can respond to their stressful situations and become the hero, creating commensurate trust.
If you think about it, when customers come to you, they already have a certain level of trust that you can solve the problem that’s their top priority. It’s up to you to discover their duress and build trust.
Trust First, Transactions Follow
I recommend focusing on building customer trust knowing the transactions flow from your earned position of a trusted vendor, trusted advisor, and ultimately a trusted partner.
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