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Does your sales approach build or destroy trust?

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 4/5/17 8:00 AM

There is a negative perception of sales today that has been around for a long time. Last week I was reminded why that is when I got this email:

“Thank you for creating stellar content! Your blog rocks. Thanks for providing unique stories. I always share it with my sales team and they love it. Thanks!

We launched XYZ company recently to tremendous success, focusing on <blah, blah, blah>. In the 6 month since launching, we have gained 16,000 users worldwide including <yada,yada, yada>.

We want to work with you to help take us to the next level. We have been allocated marketing budget to spend on developing partnership with blogs like yours. I’d love to set up a time to speak. Are you interested?”

However when I went to see if the person was subscribed to my blog, they weren’t.

In fact, no one at the company was.

And so I replied;

Thanks for your note- I didn't see that anyone from XYZ company is subscribed to the blog, how are you getting the updates ?

What exactly do you mean by partnering with blogs? Guest posting?

After all, it’s possible that they are using an RSS feed and not email subscription to read my blog. This was the response I got;

“Thanks for getting back to me Carole.

We have different models based on your audience and preferences, trust me that I don't want to waste your time.

If you're interested I'll be happy to give you a call next week and discuss.”

Trust destroyer #1: Ignore questions asked.

Trust destroyer #2: Tell people to trust you when you have done nothing to earn it.

I was instantly annoyed.

They ignored my question and are now asking me to trust them with my time, my most protected and precious commodity? First of all, this is coming from someone I had never met before at a company I had never heard of. And so before spending any more time, like most people would, I went online to find out more about them. Are they even for real? There wasn’t any people listed on company website. In fact, there wasn’t even an about us or team page.

Trust destroyer #3: If your website page says about us or team, give another version of your value proposition or positioning statement. Or if you have a team or about us page, only list the important people, certainly not the front line people that are interacting with customers, partners, or clients. Or better yet, don’t have an about us or team page at all- especially if you are small company. The absence of people is better than people thinking you are small.

And so then I went to LinkedIn and looked at their company page there. (I had to search on LinkedIn for the company, there were no links on their website.) On the company’s list of employees, the person who sent me the email wasn’t listed. In a further search on Linkedin, I found the person simply did not exist.

Trust destroyer #4: Create an imaginary person to do your appointment setting and outreach to make your company appear bigger or more established than it is.

However, on LinkedIn I did find the company’s marketing person and had several respected people in common with them. So maybe they are real? Curious, I forwarded the email to the group of people we had in common asking; “Have you done anything with them? Are they for real?”

And guess what? They all got the exact same mass email. Many shared how the CEO was great and the product good, but it was too late. In my mind, I saw them as liars.

How much does that little white lie cost you?

Last week, I talked with a BDR who wants to become an account executive. When I asked him why he believed he would do well as an AE he said, “I have found it is those first interactions with a prospect or buyer that set the expectation for the rest of the engagement.” And he is right, the close starts the moment you say hello. 

Experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov show that it only takes 1/10 of a second to form an impression. (If you still think your LinkedIn or other profile pictures aren’t that important- think again.) First impressions are instant, and powerful.

How are you and your team building, or destroying trust with your buyers? Are you making any of these fatal trust mistakes? What other hidden and not so hidden behaviors are making it difficult to build trust and credibility?

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Topics: sales conversations