Customer satisfaction: Do your potential buyers trust you?

By Anders Björklund

Customer satisfaction: Do your potential buyers trust you?

Can you recall your childhood days when your parents cautioned you about accepting sweets from strangers? The advice was likely presented with the rationale that most strangers could present danger, making it risky to place trust in strangers indiscriminately.

This lesson was an early introduction to the crucial relationship between risk and trust.

I recently perused LinkedIn's 'State of Sales' report and stumbled upon a startling revelation: 63% of potential buyers believe salespeople to be untrustworthy. This statistic underscores the significance of the lesson your parents imparted all those years ago.

The high-stakes game of trust

Here, we'll delve into the dynamic of trust and risk, especially regarding hindering your potential customers' trust in you. Innately, humans prioritise self-preservation. Regardless of your sales pitch or product offering, your customers view you through this lens. Consequently, the degree of risk your customer perceives is influenced by the nature of your product.

As the perceived risk by both potential and existing customers amplifies, so does the challenge of earning their trust, typically commensurate with more considerable deals. This dynamic is particularly prevalent in B2B sales due to the inherent high-stakes nature of these decisions, encompassing corporate and personal risk exposure.

Given the substantial risk involved, it's no wonder B2B decision-makers occasionally harbour scepticism towards supplier sales, despite a basic level of trust in individual sales representatives.

Why buyers may be hesitant to trust you

Perceived risk can create a formidable barrier to trust. It's crucial to respect, confront, and directly address these perceived risks to navigate this. In doing that, you show potential buyers your understanding of their worries and showcase your ability to provide reassuring responses.

The three primary categories of risk weighing on decision-makers' minds are personal, functional, and financial:

Personal risk: Establishing trustworthiness

The initial filter for risk for both potential and existing customers is personal. They'll need to feel confident in your trustworthiness before you're able to start your proposals.

Addressing and surmounting personal risk doubts requires genuine care towards your customers. The following three-step approach effectively exhibits your attentiveness:

  1. Please show understanding: Tailor your communications and interactions by thoroughly researching potential buyers and their respective companies, indicating your interest in their needs.

  2. Attentive Listening: Many sales representatives are so eager to speak that they fail to hear critical details truly. To establish trust, actively listen.

  3. Deliver Value: Ensure that your customers' time is well spent with you and that their expectations are met, if not exceeded.

By adopting these practices, you'll boost your chances of cultivating trust with potential or existing customers at a personal level.

Functional risk: The trustworthiness of the product, service or solution

Functional risks arise when your customer doubts the ability of your product, service, or solution to perform as advertised.

Overcoming functional risk requires presenting experiences, solutions, and examples from comparable businesses and cases. Could you provide evidence that resonates with the individual's role and the business's nature and structure?

Avoid generic case studies; today's B2B buyers conduct their research and seek opinions from others. Chances are they've already explored your offerings before meeting you. Please use specific examples to show how you'll address their unique concerns and offer additional detail and context.

Ultimately, the more successful examples you can provide of helping individuals and companies in similar circumstances, the more trust your potential buyer will be able to help them.

Financial Risk: Assessing value for money

I want you to know that maintaining honesty and transparency about your product, service, or solution is paramount. If you want to earn your prospective buyer's trust, please offer a transparent view of your product, the conditions for success, the potential implications, and the cost.

Cost transparency isn't solely about the price tag but value perception. To allay financial risk concerns effectively, you must communicate the value relative to the problem, need, or challenge your offering solves. Also, could you contrast the financial risk of adopting your product, service, or solution against the opportunity cost of passing up your offering?

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Anders Björklund
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B.
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