Phone representatives have to constantly fight an uphill battle to do well at their job. One of the worst things that you’ll have to face is a prospect who is in defensive mode. We all know when this happens – they offer as little information as possible when responding to your questions. Truth be told – prospects and customers are generally not trusting of phone salespeople to begin with, which is a big hurdle that you’ll have to overcome.
Being a good listener helps build trust because it shows the prospect that you are actually…well…listening to them! Nothing is worse than being ignored, especially from someone who is supposed to be helping you solve your problems.
Actively listen to your prospects and customers. Repeat back what they tell you and confirm that you understand them. Never interrupt them, even if what they are saying is incorrect. Take notes at appropriate scenarios. Ask follow up questions based on what they tell you. By doing this, the prospect will feel as if they are being listened to, which will allow them to open up and tell you more.
Build your own Credibility
A huge component in building trust is building your own credibility in the eyes of the prospect. This means that the more of a subject matter expert that you are, the more the prospect will trust your recommendations. Essentially, by showing the prospect that you are the authority in your industry, they will be more open to buying from you.
A real-life example can be found in the “Science in Persuasion” video by psychologist Robert Cialdini. Cialdini gives the example of how a real estate agency applied this principle to its business by instructing its receptionists to mention to callers the length of experience of its real estate agents before putting them through. This resulted in a significant increase in contracts that were written. Nothing changed here except the prospect felt as if they were talking to a credible source, which increases trust.
Use Testimonials and 3rd Party Stories
People look towards their peers for help and advice on whether they should do something or not. Yelp and TripAdvisor have become immensely popular because people want to hear from other people who have been in similar situations.
While you probably cannot bring in some of your clients to provide positive testimonials right there on the spot, you can always tell their stories. Relating a similar story to a prospect’s situation can often be the deciding factor if a prospect trusts you and your company or not.
Your reputation will always precede you. Your trustworthiness can be demolished before you even walk through the door if you lie to a prospect and the word spreads like wildfire. The best way to avoid this is to simply not lie. Lying will never help your situation. It will harm your reputation, hurt your brand and your company, and will essentially be a major factor in whether or not a prospect will even listen to you.
Trust is key when working on the phone and is often the element that separates out those who are successful from those who fail. Try out the above methods for building trust with prospects.