It probably won’t surprise you to hear that trust between B2B buyers and sellers is in short supply. Probably one of the reasons that buyers now engage with sellers further along the buying process than ever before.
Unfortunately sellers are prone to a fair amount of exaggeration or make statements that create misunderstanding and tend to over promise! Some just downright lie, anything to get the business, right? You can sort of understand why buyers feel that they don’t get much value from some sales people in meetings.
As a result it’s a reputation that precedes sales based engagements. There’s almost a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ opinion bestowed on sales people when they meet prospects for the first time.
They’re faced with the need to dispel the perception that sellers are driven by greed. So, for productive customer meetings this negative stereotype has to be overcome through building trust.
But that’s difficult for most sales people to comprehend. why should they trust the people they’re trying to sell to? Sales people have become fatigued due to buyer objections, delays, misinformation, secrecy and rejections.
Unfortunately sales people have become thick skinned and have developed a tainted opinion after the endless times they’re knocked down and have to pick themselves up, dust themselves down and go again. It’s not so much that buyers lie but more that they can be frugal with the truth about situations. But some do just downright lie, anything to get rid of a sales person they don’t trust and a product or service they don’t want.
Seller centric sales people
Sellers want to sell their product, service or solution and buyers need to solve a problem and achieve a value-based outcome. In many cases it’s like trying to ram a square peg into a round hole, but sadly in the eyes of some salespeople their needs outweigh the needs of the buyers. Their needs to do the numbers to get the commissions and keep their jobs override their desires to help the buyers. For that reason it’s no wonder that the relationships between sellers and buyers have become so challenged.
So, sales mislead buyers and buyers mislead sellers. That’s a bit of a generalisation but you get my drift.
Mislead needs to become lead, there is an onus on the sellers to lead the buyers, but nobody will be led by someone they don’t trust. So, we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place!
Building trust between B2B buyers and sellers
Smart sales people prioritize care above commission. They care about helping the buyers, they care about their needs, they care about solving their business problems. They’re smart because caring and putting the buyer’s interests above their own leads to building trust which creates a more open and honest relationship. They don’t need to be creative with the truth to promote their product, service or solution because they focus on facilitation and collaboration on what’s important for the buyers. And yep you guessed it, they win more deals because buyers want to do business with people they trust.
Don’t be the stereotype sales person. Don’t be driven by your needs and wants. The B2B sales world is now buyer centric so you have to see it from the buyer’s perspective. The can smell BS, they can sense who’s selfish and who’s selfless.
Lie’s, or let’s call them exaggerations, stem from too much talking, so why not focus on more quality listening. This is not new, listening has always been a way to build trust. Here’s a couple of opinions from buyers that summarises how many of them think about sellers and their failure to be effective listeners.
‘They weren’t listening they were just waiting to speak again’
‘I’m sure they’ve learnt how to breathe through their ears so that they could keep talking’
And we’ve all heard the old adage ‘I knew they were lying, their lips were moving’. That wasn’t just about politicians, it’s also been said many times about sellers.
Seems like we’ve all probably all said things during our sales careers that were more self-centred than buyer focused. Maybe you got away with it then but very unlikely today. In the early part of my sales career I let ambition, enthusiasm and exuberance drive me and I was seller centric. I had plenty of success but I was wise enough to evolve as market conditions changed and my enthusiasm evolved into facilitation and exuberance into collaboration. It paid dividends.
For that reason let your attitude, your listening, your value and your actions do more of the talking about you.
Sellers must take the lead to create an environment where both parties don’t feel the need to lie or be creative. They can start to do this by not withholding information and by being more transparent. Even if it may not necessarily help the case for their product or service.
Being on hand with advice and insights that align with the buyers needs not the sellers will help both parties not just one.
The conclusion for successful engagements is that sellers must invest in building relationships and create a climate of trust.
Check out our blog B2B Selling – Know it, Do it, Show it, Mean it