Many sales leaders urge their salespeople to become trusted advisors—but just telling them to do so doesn’t work, obviously!
And the stakes are high. A Salesforce study showed that 95% of customers say that if they trust a salesperson and company, they’re more likely to become loyal clients.
So what does it take to achieve trusted advisor status—and the rewards that come with it? Let’s explore three key principles that point the way.
1. Creating the Trust in Trusted Advisor
We’ve all seen the pronouncements that “relationship selling is dead,” but salespeople know that trust—the very foundation of relationship selling—is the foundation of strong advisory relationships with customers.
Building trust requires both a mindset and a set of actions. As a mindset, salespeople must truly believe helping customers solve problems is their job. Customers can sense when a salesperson is more focused on making a sale than on the customer’s needs and priorities.
In addition to the right mindset, trusted advisors know how to demonstrate their sincere interest in helping the customer—showing empathy, demonstrating credibility and competence, and anticipating and addressing concerns that the key contact, and his or her stakeholders, have.
In fact, building trust starts before the meeting. The Salesforce study showed that 78% of B2B buyers seek salespeople with knowledge of their industry and needs. The biggest mistake a salesperson can make is asking a customer, “What keeps you up at night?” Customers expect salespeople to do their research and at least have a sense of what their primary concerns might be.1
These actions and mindset help salespeople approach the buy/sell process with authenticity, passion, and positive intentions. Building trust is about who the salesperson is and what he or she does—how the salesperson communicates through actions focused on customers and their needs.