Do you ever go through those spells in your business when you’re having lots of great conversations with potential new customers who feel like your ideal customer?
The conversations go amazingly well, the relationships click perfectly, and everything seems aligned for these to become your new favourite customers.
And yet somehow, they all slip through the net. None of them turn into customers but you just can’t quite put your finger on why.
This is something I see happening a lot and I think it’s a big challenge for a many people growing a business. So I want to share with you today one really simple tip about the likely cause of this issue, so that by making some small changes you can secure a lot more of those lovely customers.
You see, the reason is very likely to be all down to trust.
Now I know that sounds very straightforward and trust sounds quite simple, although not necessarily easy, but simple to work on.
The challenge though is that for a customer to be ready to buy from you, they need to be absolutely certain that there are three different layers of trust in place and often one or even two of those layers are being missed.
So, let me explain to you what those three types of trust are.
1) Do they trust you?
This is the most obvious layer and generally the one we’re most likely to focus on and to get right.
What can you do to make sure that potential customers feel they can trust you? Well, some of this is just about the personal connection that you’ve got with them, but some of it is also about how professionally you behave and present yourself.
Consider things like: do you deliver in the way that they would expect? Because dependability breeds trust.
Are you consistent? Because consistency implies dependability and, as I’ve just mentioned, dependability breeds trust. That consistency could relate to things like the ‘latest news’ section on your website and whether that’s consistently updated, or whether it’s neglected and out of date.
Think also about things like … if you’re a member of a networking group, do you consistently turn up? Does your online presence such as your social media and your website match consistently with the offline, real you? Does that all feel consistent to a potential new customer when they meet you?
Things like testimonials and case studies are a great way to convey additional trust so make sure you update those regularly to build more trust with a customer.
So that’s the first layer of trust and probably the easiest one to work on.
2) Do they trust in your process?
The second layer of trust relates to the customer’s need to trust in your process. This doesn’t mean that they need the absolute nitty gritty about ‘this is what we’ll do at step one, this is what we’ll do at step two, this is what we do at step three’ etc.
Because if we’re brutally honest about it, customers get bored to tears by that level of detail! But they do want clarity about exactly what it is you’re going to deliver for them. And they may well like to be reassured that this process or this service, this ‘thing’ that you sell has worked for somebody in a similar industry to them.
Take a step back and consider whether you give customers enough of an understanding of exactly how you will work with them and exactly what you will deliver.
Sometimes, because you know your service inside out, you may not realise that you’re then skimming over it a little bit when you explain it to the customer so you may not be giving them a clear enough understanding.
Think of it like this: have you ever built a connection with somebody on social media but when you’ve looked at their profile you’ve realised that you still don’t fully understand what they do. Or have you met somebody at a networking event and thought, ‘I really like this person, I’d love to help them, but I’m not sure what exactly it is they do. I think maybe they can help some of my customers, but I can’t be sure how?’
It’s surprisingly easy to be vague about what you do!
You may well think that you’ve given a really good, solid representation of what you do and how you work. But by missing some of the detail you may leave the customer with doubts about exactly what they’re getting and how it will specifically benefit them. And those doubts will stop them from buying!
So, that’s the second layer of trust you need to focus on. Can the customer trust in your process?
3) Do they trust in themselves?
This is probably the layer that’s missing the most often. The customer will naturally have questions about what input they’ll need to provide to make this work.
They may think you’re the best thing since sliced bread. And they may be utterly convinced that what you’re offering is the perfect solution for them. But they may still question whether they’ve got the time, or the mental space, or the capacity to support this.
So, they may still not convinced that they can actually put the effort in that’s going to be required to make this work.
The crucial thing for you here is to make sure that you take enough time to really get to understand each customer and their individual challenges, and that you reassure them as much as possible that none of those things will get in the way.
If those challenges are around time for instance, then reassure them about exactly how much of their time is going to be needed to make this work for them, and how much of the load you’ll be able to take on on their behalf.
Look for real clarity from each customer on this. You’ve done the hard work by giving them the clarity about you and your process, but you need to get the same level of clarity from them about any concerns they have. What doubts or questions do they have? What do they think might get in the way or what other reasons do they have that could undermine their trust in themselves and their own commitment to this process?
It may be that they’ve worked with somebody in a similar industry to you before and it didn’t go particularly well. Often your natural instinct is to skirt around that because you worry that it might put them off working with you.
But by addressing this openly and finding out exactly why it didn’t work out last time, you’ll be in a much better position to put plans in place now to make sure that the things they didn’t like last time aren’t repeated this time with you. And that will potentially rebuild their trust in their own judgement and decision making so that they’re happy to go ahead with you.
So, whenever you’re having great conversations with people that should turn into sales, but don’t, these are the three layers of trust to work on… are you doing enough to make sure that a customer can absolutely trust you? Are you giving them enough clarity about how you work so they can feel confident they trust the process? And, are you finding out enough about them to be able to reassure them that they can also trust in themselves and their commitment to this process?
Hopefully that has given you some insights that can help you to make some more sales in your business. If you enjoyed this, then please leave a comment below or send me an email with your thoughts because I’d love to hear from you.