Throughout my 15 year sales career, I’ve had the privilege of working for several successful sales companies–both as an outside sales rep and as a sales manager. Each company had their own sales process. Often times, these sales processes were complicated and as a manager, it was expected of me to ensure that my sales teams followed the “steps of the sale.” In sales, I believe in keeping everything simple–not only for the sales professional but also for the customer. As a result of my experience and success, I have created and developed the TRUST PROCESS. It’s simple and it’s the only PROVEN sales process that works. Let’s break down the T.R.U.S.T. PROCESS:

TELL YOUR STORY.

When it comes to your competition, how do you handle yourself during a sales call? Have you bashed them? Do you exaggerate your company? Do you argue or debate with a prospect why they should do business with your company rather than your competitor?

You’re not supposed to be the subject-matter-expert with your competition; however, you must be the silver-tongued orator of your company.

Unfortunately, if you’ve gone down this road, your emotions got the best of you, and you probably didn’t earn the customer’s trust or respect. We all want to aggressively compete, but “mudslinging” your competition is not the right approach. So, how should you properly address the competition? Simple. Tell YOUR company’s story.

You’re not supposed to be the subject-matter-expert with your competition; however, you must be the silver-tongued orator of your company.

RAPPORT.

Whether you’re in retail or outside sales, your customers/prospects go through an internal process during a sales encounter. As you present your product or service to your customer, they are observing your body language, communication style, listening skills (or lack of), knowledge of what you’re selling, and most importantly how your product/service will make their lives better.

If people like you, they will LISTEN to you. If they TRUST you, they will BUY from you.

Sometimes we as sales people are not as prepared as we should be or we start shooting from the hip if we don’t know the answer. Falling into the trap of not listening or asking questions we already know the answers to is another buzz killer during the sales call. Building rapport leads you down the path to establishing trust.

UNDERSTAND.

Today, customers have information overload. Skill set today is to make sense of all this information. As a sales professional, you need to understand a customer’s perspective. If I could narrow it down to one skill set that needs to be honed in today it would be the ability to LISTEN. You see, sales people have a difficult time listening to their customers/prospects. Why? They have pressure every single day from their manager and company to “close” a deal. The culture in most sales organizations is “What have you done for me lately?”

The TRUST Proven Sales Process

We need to listen to UNDERSTAND instead of listening to RESPOND.

Is there a coincidence that SILENT and LISTEN have the same letters?

Communication is an instrumental part in our life. But we don’t just communicate with our mouth. Active listening is necessary on how effective we communicate—not only in sales but also in life. Even though our ears are capable of picking up so many words, our brain doesn’t necessarily process all of them. In fact, most people usually only remember about 17% to 25% of the things they listen to.

When talking with a customer or prospect, put yourself in the lower power position instead of a higher position. This allows you to enhance your ability to understand where your customer is coming from. Listening is a skill. It’s a lost art. But if one can hone in on this skill, one will instill trust, build relationships, and in the end increase sales performance. Listening helps us better understand the customer.

SOLUTION.

If a customer already knows they have a problem before you walk in the door what makes you think they’re going to fix it just because you showed up? On the other hand, if you uncover a problem that the customer didn’t know they had during your meeting, how much more value did you just bring to the table? We need to focus on problem-finding instead of problem-solving.

We need to focus on PROBLEM-FINDING instead of problem-solving.

TIME.

The market and economy has drastically changed since the 70’s & 80’s (especially after the recession). Here are just a few reasons how the market is impacting sales teams:

  1. Sales cycles require more contact to get meetings even with your better clients.
  2. Today’s customers are less loyal than in the past.
  3. Clients have a decreasing willingness to try new products/services early in the product/service life cycle.

The famous phrase “Always Be Closing” doesn’t apply any more. “Coffee is for Closers” has been the montage of the hunter’s society for decades. To my surprise, the term hunter is still a qualification in the majority of sales job descriptions. While the hunter approach worked several decades ago, the sales hunter approach no longer works today. When it does work, it’s for the short-term or for that matter a quick sale.

“Coffee is for closers” has been the montage of the hunter’s society for decades.

Some of you may be thinking that in sales, you always need to be cold calling, hitting the streets, generating a full pipeline, and of course closing. Companies that embrace hunters don’t have patience. They want immediate results. It’s all about the numbers, numbers, numbers. They don’t have patience for farmers, and they think farmers are lazy. These companies truly believe that in order to be successful in sales, one needs to be a hunter. Um, no you don’t. It’s not always about the sales profession. Other parties are involved. To be successful in sales, you need to understand that Trust takes time. And the rewards are fulfilling.

CONCLUSION: So what do you do if you find yourself working in an “Always Be Closing” company? The only solution is establish TRUST! TELL your story. Establish RAPPORT. UNDERSTAND your customer. Provide a SOLUTION. And most importantly, TIME. If you follow this formula, you will not only increase your sales, but you will also develop long-term relationships with your customers which improves client retention.

TRUST is the glue that binds a relationship.

Download the complete TRUST Proven Sales PROCESS.


Greg Hahn

Greg Hahn is known for entrepreneurial vision and translating vision into revenue generation and productivity, thriving in a diverse and fast-paced executive environment. Throughout his sales management career, he has led several sales teams toward positive growth. His most recent accomplishment was with The Blue Book Network. In just two years, he was able to reverse an under performing region to one of the top regions in the company in 2015. Greg specializes in online marketing including website consulting, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and social media marketing.

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