“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” -Warren Buffett
There is a really good story in the book Influence by Robert Cialdini that I really like about a waiter who, whenever waiting on a big table always tells the 1st person who is ready to order that whatever they picked “wasn’t quite as good tonight as usual”, then suggest 2 other things that are slightly cheaper. By doing this, others at the table feel like he is extremely trustworthy and by doing this he has also established himself as an authority…at this point, he can then suggest a high priced wine and dessert and they will feel he isn’t trying to swindle them.
When people see a salesperson coming, they run! When they see a trusted adviser they embrace them. Earn trust – before people buy products or services, they buy trust. Strive to find some common ground.
Demonstrate you understand your customers pains, problems, and concerns before you ever try to sell them anything. Listen, listen, listen (if you are as bad at it as me sometimes, try this)! Don’t be afraid of losing the sale…be afraid of attracting a customer you don’t have any business supporting…when it all goes sideways, you won’t be able to recover. Under Promise and Over Deliver…especially in the beginning. That foundation of trust is crucial and is extremely easy to build upon once it’s there, but without it, you are building a relationship on quicksand.
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” – John Wooden