Years ago, I was given some very valuable advice about whether or not to go into partnership with someone. “You need to like them, trust them and rate them” I was told. I was also advised that it is not often that you will find all three of these conditions are met. It has proven a very valuable benchmark for me down the years. However I also think that it might be a useful yardstick for us to assess what our customers might think of us.
So do your customers like you, trust you and rate you?
If they do, it can only add to the chances of them buying from you. But how do we know if they do or not?
I have therefore listed a few thoughts on how we can identify whether important customer stakeholders like, trust and rate salespeople. These are not universal laws but some general indicators…
Indicators that they like you include:
- They will tell you about what they do, what their organisation does and what they are working on. Perhaps even a few of the challenges they face too.
- They will show interest in your business and what you do.
- They will spend time with you – including social situations like going for lunch or to a sporting event.
- They will accept invitations to your events.
- They enjoy your company.
There are of course others and it obviously depends on the individual and the situation but you get the idea.
Indicators that they trust and rate you include many of those above PLUS…
- They are comfortable with you asking them more challenging questions about issues and problems.
- They reveal personal concerns, fears or risks they perceive.
- They share internal and detailed financial data with you that would support your business case.
- They personally introduce you to other key stakeholders in the decision making process (rather than just giving you their name).
- They work with you to build your business case and proposition for their business.
- They support and agree with the numbers you produce.
- They make themselves available to you when you need their input or involvement.
- They ask you to attend important internal meetings with them.
- They ask for your opinions and advice.
- They refer others to you.
Clearly, a sale rarely happens without having a good, competitive solution for a customer's needs. However if there is any credence to the phrase 'people buy people' then whether a customer likes, trusts and rates the salesperson surely counts for a lot.
In fact, a salesperson will only ever be likely to have the type of conversations that will allow them to create real, measurable value for the customer if the majority of the indicators above are met.
So if you think about your most important customer stakeholders or the main opportunities you are currently working on, how many of these indicators can you tick?