A 10 Step Guide on Building Trust with Prospects

October 9, 2021

It is not uncommon to overthink the sales process and methodically think step-by-step on how you can build rapport and trust with your prospects.

While many sales reps do this to some extent, building trust with your prospects is really not complicated at all - so don’t overthink it!

This guide will show you 10 key ways to build trust with your prospects on a personal and a business level, as both of these are equally important.

There are a 4 key methods used to communicate with you prospects, and it is likely that throughout your prospects’ customer journey, you will use all of them at least once. The methods by which you communicate will also have an impact on building trust.

These 4 methods are as follows, ranked in order of least effective for building trust, to most effective:

  1. Email
  2. Phone
  3. Video-calls
  4. In-person

Connecting with a prospect in a way where they can physically see you is always the best way to go. This is because it helps to push the personal level of trust; you have the opportunity to make a more personal connection, with a handshake, eye contact, etc.

Building Trust on a Personal Level

Building trust with a prospects on a personal level is essentially the same process that is involved in building trust in any relationship. This is because, simply put, your connection with a prospect is a relationship, and all relationships need to be nurtured. ‘Nurturing’ a relationship is what turns acquaintances into friends, and is a key ingredient in turning prospects into customers.

Trust is important in any relationship because it creates an environment where both parties feel comfortable enough to have a genuine conversation about their hesitations and concerns. This is the key information that you can use to build trust on a business level.

There are five main steps involved in building trust on a personal level.

Listen and ask questions

There is a reason why “being a good listener” is always seen as a great quality to have; this encourages the speaker to reveal more, and makes them feel valued and understood. You have to not only listen, but you need to hear them. This is demonstrated through asking good questions, and is a great way to build rapport and establish trust.

Empathize with them

Empathy is a key ingredient in establishing any meaningful human connection. Always remember to treat people how you would like to be treated. Sounds simple, but surprisingly no enough people do this.

Smile and make eye contact

This is obviously only possible when you are physically able to see your prospect. This is a great way to make people like you, which is why meetings with prospects are always more effective when done in person.

Share a personal experience/ story.

Nothing helps you to connect with someone more than sharing some information about yourself that your prospect can relate to. Find a commonality and then share a story about it. People connect more with those who they feel are relatable.

Be personable and warm.

Everyone like someone who is friendly, personable and makes them feel comfortable. The more comfortable someone is around you, the more that they will (a) like you, and (b) be more likely to have an honest conversation about your product.

Building Trust on a Business Level

When your prospect trusts you and your product, it is more than likely that they will become your customer. Building trust on a business level takes a bit more work than building trust on a personal level, but without it, you can say goodbye to your sales.

There are five key steps involved in building trust on a business level.

Highlight results

Know the benefits that your solution brings to the table, and have some stats to back that up. For example, does your solution reduce the cost of acquiring a new customer? If so, by how much? Stats are hard to deny, so have them in your back pocket to show your prospect that you solution delivers.

Demonstrate credibility

Customer testimonials are a great way to demonstrate credibility. Make sure you maintain a good working relationship with your existing customers so that they can be used as a reference. Further, be sure that you know offhand some of your largest accounts so that you can name-drop when the time is right.

Share a customer journey

Providing an anecdote for how you were able to address the pain points of a current customer is a great segway for you to discuss how you can do the same for your prospect. Through sharing a customer journey, your prospect will be able to visualize your product in action, and therefore, trust it more.

Validate their positions

Your prospect will no doubt have many questions and concerns, as implementing a new solution or investing in a product is a commitment. It is important to validate these concerns and speak to them by addressing exactly how your solution will alleviate these pain points and make their life more easy.

Offer a lot of information

Your prospect will gain a more comprehensive understanding of your business and your product if you are able to offer them a lot of information. Remember, they are making an investment, and oftentimes, have to pass along the information that you provide them with their co-workers/ co-decision makers. The more information you provide, the better.

The 10 steps involved in building trust with your prospects are summarized in the chart below.

Creating an environment of mutual trust makes the dialogue with your prospect more comfortable, open and honest.

Through building trust on a personal and business level, you will be able to make a connection and dig deeper into your prospects hesitations; by doing so, you will be one step closer to closing your sale.

These steps will help you to build trust with your prospects, assuming that you indeed have prospects. That is definitely a whole other issue all together, and one that I have previously addressed here. Take a look if you are having issues finding prospects, and I am sure it'll help you out.

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