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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, November 19, 2001

60 Seconds on Business
The secret of selling is all about trust

By Dr. Drake Beil
President, Solutions Inc.

What's the secret to success in sales? Trust. If clients don't trust you, they'll be less likely to follow your suggestions, and even less likely to buy from you.

At the heart of trust is a need to allow for vulnerability. This means putting yourself in someone else's hands, giving up control. When clients hand their wallets over to salespeople, they are putting their trust in those people. It hurts when the bond is broken.

The history of sales includes abuse and misuse of trust; we associate pushy salespeople with all of the images we dislike about losing control.

If you can get clients to trust you, they'll follow your sales pitch. But you also need to do two things — maintain their trust and provide clear guidance. Customers hate to be sold, but they love to buy. Closing comes from "closure," the gestalt term for reaching an understanding. In sales, it should feel good for both sides. If both sides live up to their part of the understanding, new trust is built and a relationship is established.

Closing creates more trusting, which makes guiding easier the next time. If you all live up to your words, the influence cycle continues. Customers come back to you repeatedly.

The sales process has three basic steps: trusting, guiding and closing.

When done in that sequence, these three steps create sales influence. When not done in the proper sequence, what you get is pushiness and less success.

The desired goal is fairly simple: Create influence so they buy what you want them to.

Reach Dr. Drake Beil at drake@60secondsonbusiness.