Friday, June 17, 2011

Fud Buster Friday #55: My Clients Trust Me

This post has origins in my original FBF#17 post. But while that was a fun post, if you read it you may understand why, this is more serious.

All sales people will say their customers trust them, after all they did business together. But what they don't say is we haven't done business together since that time when...

What happened? Maybe the project turned out poorly. Over run, under managed, over promised, whatever the reason, but in some cases, you lost the clients trust.

The easiest way to lose trust is by lying. Now lying comes in many forms. The worst form of lying is saying anything at all when a client asks you a question that the proper answer should be "I Don't Know".
You can qualify this further to say, " That is an excellent question , I don't know the answer right now, but I will make sure someone on my staff does reply to you with an answer".

Why should you do this? Here are some replies from my classes students and discussions with professionals:

Won't I look stupid in front of your client or potential client?
Shouldn't one look like they are fully knowledgeable of the products they are selling?
How could I lower myself in their eyes?
I might lose the sale forever!
There is no way I wold ever tell a client I was not trained properly!
Do you mean we are not training our staff properly?
Their questions are technical/marketing questions meant to put up simple roadblocks!
 The answer is really not important to the deal.
When you were young, how did you learn? You asked questions. Sometimes your parents would brush off your questions, sometimes they would answer them properly. Maybe your questions were beyond their knowledge and they gave you an answer which you believed, till college or later in some cases.(I have a story about salted butter, ask me some time) And so it is with your clients and potential customers.

Now if you lied to them about something related to your sale, and they found out, do you think they would be happy? Do you think they would comeback to you for help? Ever? Really?

By admitting your own knowledge is lacking, or a specific item in question may be out of your range of knowledge, while that may be disheartening to you, if the client is a reasonable person, they will appreciate your openness and authenticity in admitting your ignorance. In many cases, especially if you reply with an answer within a few hours or at worst a day or 2, the client will have even greater faith in your abilities. Why? Because you could solve this problem, however small, surely you could solve the greater issue they are facing during the project you so want to win.

Bluffing only works in poker, some of the time, and only if you are sure it will work. Still it is gambling and one should never gamble with their clients because the house, meaning clients, wins more often if not every time.

So before you say your clients trust you, make sure you are honest with your self so clients can be sure as well.