Charles Green, author, international speaker and blogger, spoke this week at the annual Sobel & Co. Business Symposium, discussing "How Smart Companies Make the Sale." In his remarks, he emphasized that the most powerful driver of purchase behavior is trust in the seller.
This concept is as appropriate for professional service providers, like you, as it is for corporate business owners. The questions he poses include: (1) How are YOU earning the trust of your clients and prospects? (2) Are you forthright? If you don't have the answer, do you admit that? (3) Do you build credibility by sometimes offering the name of a competiing firm under those situations when they are really good at supplying what your client needs? (4) Are you dependable and predictable? (5) Most of all - do you really listen to your clients or do you hear what you expect them to say? Charlie says that you should not jump in and solve the problem - but rather take a few minutes to sit back and hear them through so that you can provide a really thoughtful and appropriate suggestion.
Charlie summed it all up by saying that influence is non-rational. You exert influence because people trust you and want to listen to you. You have this cerdibility because you have consistently exhibited important characteristics they value, like honest and integrity. Think about this the next time you are communicating with a client, a propsect or a referral source!
Let me know what you think about this trust based approach.