I couldn’t be happier with the choice of book. For a long time, I have kept a list of required reading for business-to-business salespeople. Trust-based Selling will join that list, and in a very high position; it is that important to success in sales.
I have never spent much time thinking about trust, honesty, or integrity. For me, it seemed that all of these attributes are simply table stakes; without them, you don’t even get considered. If you are trustworthy and honest, you are so as a matter of course; it isn’t something that gets much of your attention. But it should.
Trust is one of the primary consideration buyers make.
Ideas and Questions
In Trust-based Selling, Charlie Green lays out the buying process into two phases, the screening process and the selection process. In the screening phase, the buyer looks at our credentials, in the selection phase they look at us.
These are some of my key takeaways. Add yours to the comments!
“People come to trust you by seeing you in action, by giving them samples of your work. This is what wins selection.”
Q1. If this statement is true (and I believe it is), what actions does this mean that the salesperson must take during the sales process? What could you add or subtract from your planned sales dialogues and your sales process.
“The relationship itself—an interlocking web of personal commitments, existing over time, conducted with transparency, and founded on respect for each other as ends in themselves—is the source of value. In Trust-based Selling, ‘customer focus’ means the relationship is the customer.”
Q2. What does “the relationship is the customer” mean? What does it mean that “people buy the relationship and pay for it in product?”
“When customers have your interests at heart, and you theirs, things are fundamentally different.”
Q3. This chapter includes a killer list of the business value of trust for both buyers and sellers. But sometimes your client doesn’t have your interests it heart. As much as we want to collaborate and create larger pie, sometimes clients are adversarial, act in way that assumes a zero sum game, and ignore the value of trust and relationships.
How do you behave and encourage trust when our client doesn’t reciprocate?
“The biggest reason sellers are not seen as trustworthy is very simple: they’re not. They don’t have the buyer’s best interests at heart. They believe that their objective is to get the sales—as opposed to helping the buyer.”
Q4. I believe many—if not most—salespeople are trustworthy under this test. What is your experience?
Under Reasons We Resist Collaboration With Customers, number 8 is “Fear of sharing our economic model.”
Q5. Why do we as sellers fear sharing our economic model with our clients? Why do some clients insist on seeing our economic model? Is it ever for any reason other than establishing a lower price? How do you manage to share this kind of information when so much of the decision to purchase is price-driven, even in non-commodity sales?
“. . . Trust-based Selling is about human processes, not business processes. It is business process neutral. Almost all failures of trust creation are human interaction problems, not business process failure problems.”
Q6. How much of your sales process is centered on business process ideas? Is trust-building embedded in your sales process? Does it underlie all of the stages of the process? How do you include trust as an outcome of your sales interactions? What do you have to do to build trust at each stage?
Under Ten Ways to Adopt a Medium to Long-Term Perspective, number 5 says: “Accept that you have total control over your sales effectiveness—and very little control over its timing. Sales closed on trust are sales closed on the customer’s calendar, not yours.”
Q7. If the statement above is true, what does that mean you have to be able do to reach your quarterly goals and your quota? If there is no shortcut for building trust, how do sell according to these ideas and manage the timing of sales?
“To properly evaluate expertise, the buyer would have to possess the very expertise he is trying to acquire. Not surprisingly, buyers prefer to screen on acceptable levels of expertise, then base final decisions on trust. They prefer to assess trust not by qualifications, but by sampling: selling by doing.”
Q8. I believe this is true. How do the buyers processes, like requests for proposal, and our selling processes, like presentations and proposals, sometimes work against our ability to sell by doing?
Your Thoughts and Ideas
Please add your thoughts, ideas, and key takeaways in the comments. Also, please share with me if these prompts and questions work for you, or if you have some other ideas about how we might share our ideas and pursue a dialogue; I am up for some exploration about how we best share and learn from each other.