Warming for Business Owners/Sales Managers :
Trust is the first step towards building a long term relationship.
Customer trust and loyalty are essential for building a successful business. It’s hard to overstate the value of establishing a solid base of long-term customers.
Customer retention is much more cost-effective than constant acquisition. In fact, it costs five times more to earn a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.
Thus if you are failing to build trust ,you will be loosing your existing customers and hence you will be investing more money ,effort and resources to acquire new customers , in a way you will be loosing your money.
85% of customers say they’d recommend a business they trust to others. This means that earning customer trust can not only help you keep your existing customers, but can also help you passively earn new leads and sales through word of mouth
So be cautious , read this article in full, as this article is going to highlight the importance of building customer trust and retaining them for life time.This article will take you through the ways to build trust with customers and save money as a business owner or as a Sales Manager .
Yes, its true that people buy only from the business or the sales persons they trust
Trust plays an important role in building revenue. A study conducted by the MIT Sloan School of Management suggests that the degree to which a company is trusted affects the amount and frequency of customer purchases. Seems obvious. If people don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you. But many companies fail to deliberately invest in developing trust with their customers and prospects.
Trust or relationship trust, is developed through real human interaction and is based on familiarity. Today, fewer and fewer companies deliver every experience in person. As companies move more customer experiences to digital non-human options of purchase and service, the potential for human interaction declines. So, trust faces erosion. When trust fades ,so does the loyalty. Therefore, it is paramount that every company and sales manager understand how to build and strengthen trust.
How to build trust and generate more customer leads –
Both relationship and brand trust are needed to keep customers and gain their loyalty. Loyalty is created through the below attributes:
- Attitude and behavior of the sales person/Sales Manager
- Consistent product quality.
- Brand characteristics.
- Service excellence received each and every time the customer makes a purchase and uses the product/service.
Once relationship trust slips, brand trust, the positive association customers has with a company and/or its solutions, is at risk. Companies invest in a brand to develop a positive association that will over time impact loyalty, references, and repeat purchases, thereby ultimately driving growth and profitability. Brand strategy often incorporates broad reach tactics because a broad reach is a prerequisite for rapid growth. The key to making that reach effective is the ability to create trust. Trust that the company and its solutions will be delivered as promised. Trust that these will be of value. Trust that there will be no surprises.
Trust is the common factor that all-powerful brands deliver.
Relationship trust will always remain a critical and powerful component of the purchase equation (especially the repeat purchase equation), brand trust is a powerful driver of rapid growth. It helps convince more people to give your company and its solutions a try. Brand trust helps improve your revenue and margins by enabling the company to charge a price premium.
Trust simplifies the buying decision process – especially in today’s market where the power resides with the customers. This shift in power means companies must approach customers differently. Rather than trying to sell, companies should focus on creating trust and have customer’s centered approach .
The following Strategies can be used for building Trust with the customers-
From Business Owner’s Perspective–
- Excellent customer service and always putting your customers first-
The customer service you provide decides the impact on customer loyalty and retention. It’s absolutely essential to have dedicated support staff and to set high standards for the speed and quality of your service.
Once you’ve hired and trained a team of support agents, you need to make it easy for your customers to get in touch. Offer multiple support channels, and feature those channels prominently on your site.
Then, as customers reach out with questions and issues, make sure to be consistent with your responses. Create a set of guidelines for your agents that outlines appropriate answers for more common inquiries, and ensure that they have the tools they need to find solutions to more complex ones.
You should encourage your sales managers and customer service representatives to see these responses as the basic framework for their interactions, and to treat each customer as the individual they are.
After all, it’s hard to earn trust and loyalty when your customers feel like they’re being treated like numbers. Instead, your goal should be to offer an efficient, consistent service with a personal touch.
The sales managers or the Customer service executives should be trained to deliver the information each customer needs, and take the time to make sure that the customer’s needs have been met. And if there’s an opportunity to above and beyond — take it.
A few extra seconds of effort can be all it takes to make a customer’s day. And that can go a long way in establishing the kinds of relationships you want for your brand.
Your ability to earn customer trust depends on your ability to reliably give your customers what they want. And one of the best ways to do this is to build a company-wide customer-centric culture.
Within some companies, the only employees that really focus on customer needs are customer service and support staff. And this is far from ideal.
Instead, it’s in your best interest to encourage all of your employees to think about your customers, and how they can work to make a positive impact on those customers in their own role.
When each of your teams is encouraged to consider how the decisions they make impact your customers, they’ll be much more likely to make the kinds of decisions your customers want.
2) Be Honest and Transparent to customers–
If you want your customers to trust you, you need to be deserving of their trust. That means being honest and transparent about what they can expect from your company.
And this should start right from their first interaction with your brand. Avoid misleading sales copy and gimmicky marketing campaigns, and don’t attempt to grab your audience’s attention with exaggerated claims about your products or services.
Instead, aim to be as clear as possible about what you have to offer, and establish accurate customer expectations from the start.
Reaching this goal also requires the involvement of your sales team. They should be straightforward with pricing information, fees, and any policies that may impact prospective buyers in the future, like return and cancellation procedures.
Essentially, every customer should know exactly what to expect before signing a contract or placing an order. And while sharing certain pieces of information may dissuade a lead or two from converting, that’s okay.
When it comes down to it, making sure that all of your customers are satisfied with their experience is much more important than generating as many sales as possible.
After all, customers that are caught off guard a few months into their relationship with your brand are highly unlikely to stick around. But those who are given all of the information they need to make an informed decision will be appreciative of that fact — and will know that they can trust your team.
3) Customers Reviews and Testimonials should be made Public-
Every customer feedback, review or testimonial is going to be a brand ambassador for you, and customers believe more on what other customers speak about your brand than what you speak about your own brand. It’s because customers know that no matter how unbiased you may try to be, you’re ultimately going to position your brand in a positive light.
But you can use your audience’s trust of other customers to your advantage by publishing reviews and testimonials on your site.
You must encourage your customers to leave reviews and add those reviews to product pages.
If you run a service-based business, ask your current and past clients if they’d be willing to share their experiences with your company. Then, use their responses to create a testimonials page.
Regardless of the exact approach you take, hearing from other consumers will make prospective buyers more comfortable giving your business a chance — and will help them trust your brand right from the start.
4) Take Feedback of every Customer-
Feedback helps any business know where they stand, feedback also gives a chance to the customers to share their genuine feeling about your product or service.
Customers want to know that the brands they purchase from care about their opinions and needs. And the best way to show that you do is to ask for feedback and inputs regularly.
Surveys can be taken on a regular basis and the customers may be asked to share their opinions. Questions like ,have your products lived up to their expectations? Are they able to get the support they need when they have questions? Are they satisfied with their overall experience with your company?
Most importantly, your surveys should include an area in which customers can provide suggestions as to what you could be doing better.
Then, as you review the responses, look for opportunities to improve. When you use feedback to make real changes, you not only show your customers that you value their input, but can also make the kind of adjustments that have a positive impact on your entire customer base.
5) Roll out a number of loyalty Programs-
Everyone wants to be rewarded for their actions, so rolling out some loyalty program will make the customer rewarded and they will feel that their decision to make a transaction with your business was right and they will be your customer for future. These customers may advice their relatives or friends to take advantage of these loyalty programs and ultimately they will win more customers for your business.
When you offer rewards for repeat purchases, you give your customers a clear incentive to stick with your brand instead of switching to one of your competitors.
And this is a strategy that can be adjusted for any industry and business model. While discounts are the most popular form of reward, the possibilities are endless.
E-commerce retailers, for example, often offer free bonus items to frequent shoppers, along with early access to certain sales and promotions.
B2B companies, on the other hand, can offer perks like exclusive content, and invitations to webinars and in-person events.
Regardless of the exact approach you take, the goal is to make it more advantageous for your customers to continue buying from you than to test out their other options. And the more you cater to their needs, the more effective you’ll be in getting them to stick around.
6) Tell Your story-
Telling your story is a crucial part of building a brand. It shapes how your audience views you and allows them to look beyond the products and understand where you’re coming from.
If you can convey your brand’s history, expertise and awards, you’re en route to developing a brand that people can identify with. One that’s loved for its approach, values and authenticity.
A true and authentic story helps the customer to connect with the brand and feel associated.
From a Sales Managers Perspective-
Every sales Manager who demonstrating his/her capability in the following ways will go a long way towards building trust:
- Be an expert. Too many buyers report that they don’t trust sellers because the seller doesn’t know their stuff. As a seller you need to know your buyers’ industries and businesses, competition, marketplace, full set of customer needs, and more—inside and out. You must answer buyers’ questions about your offerings and the market, as well as about the buying process itself. If you want to guide the way, you need to make it your business to be a source of knowledge in all of these areas.
- Know your impact model. Sales winners craft compelling solutions. The key to making solutions compelling is a concrete return on investment case. Be prepared to discuss, in concrete terms, what results buyers can expect to achieve. If you don’t know the impact your product creates—how you can affect their business—buyers will not trust your business sense.
- Develop and share a point of view. Let’s say a buyer says, “Ok, so what should I do?” If you don’t have an answer for that—if you’re unwilling to develop and share a point of view—they won’t see you as a trusted advisor. Part and parcel of being an advisor is, you know, advising. If you know your stuff, and you know your impact model, buyers will start to trust your competence. Then they’ll want your opinion.
Once you give it and they take it, you start a journey. Sometime in the near future they’ll ask themselves, “Was that good advice?” Let’s say it was. Now you have a track record. They’ll be more likely to seek and take your advice from here forward.
- keep your commitments . Successful sellers build trust by showing up and honoring their commitments consistently. Do what you promise and do it well. Make sure buyers have clear expectations for how you operate.
- Integrity-Every customer have their own expectations from the brand or product they are sold, as a sales manager you may convince your customer at the point of sale,but, if the customer discovers later that they have not got what they were promised then the integrity of the sales manager comes to a question and hence the customer will be lost for ever. Successful sales managers demonstrate moral principles. They always do the right thing, even in morally ambiguous situations. This can mean turning down business, suggesting alternative (and less profitable) solutions, or referring business elsewhere. Buyers trust sellers who have their best interests in mind.
- Create shared experiences. Shared work experiences expose buyers to your thinking, your work style, and your work product. Also, the more time you spend with someone, the more they tend to like you
- Be a person. Lots of sellers are told, “Don’t talk about politics. Don’t talk about anything personal. You can ask about the weather, but that’s it. Anything else might get you in trouble.” Yeah, it might, but if you don’t connect with people on a personal level, you’re leaving aside a critical component of building trust. Don’t be afraid to connect on a personal level.
Sellers who don’t work on building trust are missing out on a powerful differentiator. Trust is a major part of the sales equation, and it never gets old.
Trust and loyalty are the building blocks of a strong customer base. They’re essential for earning long-term customers and can make all the difference in your company’s success.
And earning customer trust doesn’t require any sort of complex strategy. The best step you can take is to offer excellent customer service, and make sure that your support team knows the importance of their roles.
From there, be as transparent and honest with your customers as possible at every stage of the buying process, and ask for their feedback on a regular basis.
You can also give customers an unbiased look at your brand by sharing customer reviews and testimonials, and give them an incentive to remain with your brand by creating a compelling loyalty program.
Essentially, the goal is to put your customers first and to make sure that those customers know they’re your top priority. When you accomplish this goal, you can be confident that Customer trust and loyalty will follow closely behind.
1 – https://www.inc.com/jeff-pruitt/why-your-businesss-growth-potential-isnt-in-net-new.html?cid=search
2 – https://www.forbes.com/sites/ajagrawal/2016/01/19/5-ways-to-build-customer-trust/#73534f3a3fe4
3 – https://www.inc.com/peter-roesler/5-ways-to-build-customer-trust-and-loyalty-in-the-digital-age.html
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