Can You Get Trust From a Book?
There was a time in the contracting world that a “brag book” was thought to be the best way to build credibility and trust with clients. Essentially the sales or service person would read or tell the buyer to read from a pamphlet, binder or book about how great the company was. Is this still an effective way to create value and trust?
The answer: Not at all.
For one thing, today’s buyers are not naive and can see the inherent conflict of interest that is present when it is YOU bringing them information about how great your company is. Secondly, you are not respecting your buyer’s time with this activity. Imagine inviting a friend over to your house and all he did was brag about his new job or new car. Is that the image you are wanting to portray? Finally, I will admit that I used to have such a book and used it on every call and I NEVER heard a buyer say, “You know what Joe? I only bought from you because you spent 30 minutes going through that 3″ binder showing me how great your company was.” In fact, when I stopped using a book and started making an “emotional investment” in my client and their family, my sales increased by 30%.
YOU Are The Company
The value you build is in you and the personal relationship you build with clients, not some by some accreditations or ratings by people that your potential client have never met. Trust is something that emerges by demonstrating to a client that you will do everything it takes to help them make the best decision for them and their family even if it puts your own self-interest second.
A question such as, “Bill, why do you think you even need a new (furnace-water heater-panel upgrade)? gains credibility because it makes you a student who is trying to learn more instead of a “know-it-all” pest who assumes everything. To follow that question up with something like, “So Bill, who would suffer or what would happen if you did not purchase this item? again puts your own self-interest second and builds high credibility.
Value Is A Result, Not An Action
Don’t get me wrong, if a client asked something like, “How do I know I can trust your company?” – I would definitely want to begin to create higher value. Although I would make sure it was the buyer and not me who was doing this to avoid the conflict of interest I spoke of earlier. Instead of “bragging” you could ask something like one of the following…
- “I’m not sure Bill, only you would know the answer to that question. After meeting me and seeing how I designed these custom options for you and your family, why do you think that 2439 (Or whatever number) clients per year trust us to keep them comfortable (OR design & install kitchens and baths) every year?”
- “After meeting me and seeing the passion I have for you and your family, why do you think our clients trust and like us so much?”
- “Bill & Donna, only you would know. After seeing my six custom solutions, why do you think we’re better?”
- “Let me ask you this, how many options did the other companies give you?”
Alternate #1 – (Client: One.) “My question is this, Are you comfortable investing in a company that hides choices from you? If so you shouldn’t invest in us. So what should we do?”
Alternate #2 – (Client: One.) ‘Why do you think they hid the rest of your choices? Was it was because they didn’t know about them or they didn’t think your family was worth the extra effort it took to show them to you?”
- “If I showed you that we have a 5-Star rating on Angies List AND I showed you the all comments of those people who raved about us, what would happen then?”
Create the relationship and environment where you can talk confidently and openly with your client and respect, honor and trust will emerge as a result. Trust is not something you can tell someone to do or read to somebody from a book. It arrives on it’s own by the actions we take when dealing with a client.
The danger is in going through a BLAH-BLAH-BLAH presentation book while people yawn and snooze while they wonder why you are wasting their time bragging about yourself. Why would anyone think they have enough credibility to overcome the complete conflict of interest that is present when YOU are telling people how great you are?
Number one – Make sure that it is relevant before you go down that snake hole. If clients already trust you, then what is to gain from puking information about how wonderful we are? This is classic “talking your way OUT of a sale” behavior.
Number two – If you’re telling me this is what your sales team is doing then I now KNOW why they are struggling to sell something. If you want to emulate Home Depot then buy an orange vest, create an in-house credit program, lower your quality and drop your price. (YES the quality is lower from HD than it is at a high performance contractor)
Ask any high end sales or service person about how often they use a presentation book and they will look at you like you have four heads. Also ask them how often they compete against Home Depot and win the sale as well. Ironically, each day you are probably standing next to great performers at your company who sell their services for more than their competition without a ‘brag book” or without bragging at all. Ask them how they build credibility.
You Won’t find It In A Book
Let me give you a hint: Pssst! listen up… You won’t find your credibility in a book OR online. It is you that has the honor to build the credibility of your company by your actions with a client. To attempt to use a book or a review website to do that is the kiss of death. You are turning the control of your success over to a book or a third party and that is certainly NOT what I teach and never will. Open your ears and start listening to your clients and then provide them with a range of solutions that are “on-code” with their family. Taking time with clients to become a part of the family is the only tool you’ll ever need to show people your passion for providing the best solution for them.