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You have a choice in sales: To be a true partner, or to just be a salesperson

· Transparency,trust

Do you believe that building trust is important in sales?

What builds trust faster? Sharing vital information up front, or omitting vital information?

Seems so obvious, right?

I’ll ask it another way. Imagine this scenario: There’s something about what you’re selling that the prospect / buyer may not like. It may be a feature that you don’t have, there’s a wait to get the product, the price is high, or some other element that not every client is OK with.

Do you:
a) Tell them up-front about the potential downside?
b) Tell them after you’ve already sold up the rest of the solution, so the downside won’t seem so bad compared to the upside?
c) Tell them after they agreed to purchase it?
d) Don’t tell them...let them figure it out themselves. Maybe they won’t notice or care.

Last week in Salt Lake City, I spoke at an event, then we went out to dinner. Turns out I’m a sucker for a good Old Fashioned. So I asked the waiter about theirs. He walked me through the options, and really sold me on one of them.

“Give me that one!”

We were there awhile. The Old Fashioned was good, but not great. But since we were there long enough, I had a second one.

The check came. Upon looking at the bill, there was a gasp.

“Did somebody break a window?”

“Did someone order gold bars with their entree?”

Nope - it was the two Old Fashioneds. The one he sold me? $21 each. $42 worth of two mediocre Old Fashioneds. If I would have known, I wouldn’t have ordered that one...and I certainly wouldn’t have had two. I didn’t think to even ask.

The waiter and the restaurant got the sale.

But what will we remember? Not the fact that the food was great (which it was, by the way). The next day we joked about the “$21 Old Fashioned place”.

Was hiding this key trait worth the sale? In the short term, sure. But in the long term?

Why did this happen? Well, if we look at a little brain science, we can make a guess. In order of how our brain prioritizes pain avoidance versus pleasure, here’s the order:
1) Short-term pain avoidance
2) Short-term reward
3) Long-term pain avoidance
4) Long-term reward

With this in mind, my guess is that the waiter didn’t want to break the news to me about the price (avoiding short-term pain in #1) in order to get the short-term sale (gaining a short-term reward in #2). He prioritized those two over me being angry about it later or leaving a poor review (long-term pain avoidance #3), or me recommending the restaurant to others so he would stay even busier longer-term (long-term reward in #4).

What happens when:

You OMIT A KEY DETAIL which may risk your deal, your competitor is the one who informs the prospect, and it turns out to be true:

- Competitor scores trust points
- You lose trust points from which you may never recover
- And, if that detail is super important to the deal, you lose slowly, missing out on opportunities to spend time working deals you are more likely to win

What happens when:

You LEAD WITH A KEY DETAIL which may risk your deal, your competitor shares it, and it turns out to be true:

- You score major trust points
- Competitor loses trust points, as they now appear to be a “competitor basher”
- And, if that detail is super important to the deal, you lose quickly (able to focus on other opportunities you are more likely to win), or because of the trust issue, the buyer decides that detail is no longer as important as it was.

In the end, with all the great restaurants around, do you think any of us will recommend this one? So, the margin and tip on this sale will cost them in lost sales later.

Our job as sellers is to guide the seller through their buying journey, aiding them in making the best short and long term decision - whether it’s with us or not. Whether it’s the more or less expensive option. Trust and reputation win - resulting in more referrals, faster sales cycles, higher win rates, and if you’re going to lose, you’ll lose faster so you can focus on better fit opportunities.

“Our solution only works in Windows environments. Those with a Mac environment either set up a virtual windows environment on their Mac, or don’t buy it.”

“We don’t deliver or assemble the furniture. You’ll have to do that. However we don’t do those things so we can provide higher quality furniture at a lower price.”

“The school district isn’t the greatest in this neighborhood, which is reflected in the price. Perfect for those who do not have school-aged kids or who home school.”

“A cup of coffee takes a bit more time here, as we cold press each cup individually. Probably not the place to come to if you’re in a hurry. If you are in a hurry, there’s a Starbucks across the street.”

“We have a special Old Fashioned. It’s $21, but here’s why…”

Reading back up from the top…

Do you believe that building trust is important in sales?

What builds trust faster? Sharing vital information up front, or omitting vital information?

The future of sales is radically transparent.

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