(This article originally appeared on Dave Kurlan’s blog)
When we discuss trust, it’s usually from the perspective of how to build trust, how to be more trustworthy and what to do when a prospect doesn’t trust you. These issues led to my White Paper on Trust, a study that had some very surprising and revealing results. If you haven’t seen it or downloaded it, you can get it here.
When one of my clients talked with me about trust last week, I was actually surprised about the context and direction he was taking it.
He believed that as early as his first phone call, he could determine when a prospect was going to buy and if they were being honest…but didn’t think his salespeople could do the same thing.
We discussed that he has much more experience, better instincts, develops better relationships, asks better questions, and does a better job differentiating himself. Those competencies and his experience do make a difference.
He asked if that could be taught to his lesser experienced salespeople and I said “no.” You not only can’t teach instincts and experience, but if you tried, salespeople might use it as a justification for having happy ears, hearing more of what they want to hear without questioning it.
That said, there are some indicators that we can identify, to help salespeople have a better handle on whether the prospect is being honest and whether or not they will buy. But these are not replacements for instinct. These indicators do not change the facts, they cannot move the opportunity to another stage of the pipeline or sales process, and they cannot alter the probability of closing. They are simply indicators:
- The prospect says that, “Nobody ever asked me that question before” and proceeds to answer it;
- The prospect says, “Great question” and proceeds to answer it;
- There is a discussion about the competition, but it does not involve having the lowest price;
- The prospect thanks the salesperson for being so very helpful;
- The prospect shared the names of other decision makers, their roles and invited them to the next meeting or conversation;
- The prospect easily shared his/her compelling reasons to buy;
- The prospect answered all of your tough questions;
- The prospect shared something personal;
- The prospect took interest in the salesperson’s personal life; and/or
- There was no game playing.