Knowing how to handle prospects and how to close the sale is not in everyone’s blood. Some people are naturals, sure, but for the rest of us it’s not always child’s play. It can be a bit of an art and a bit of a science. But just as a seller will attempt to get a good read on his or her prospects, the customers are also doing the same to them. They’re identifying just how authentic this guy is and whether or not he’s just spewing same old “what do I have to do for you today to get my sales commission” speech to every last life form with a heartbeat and an Amex that stumbles through the saloon doors.

If you take a look at some of the best sellers, you can begin to pick out trends and traits that help them earn your trust and ultimately close the sale. Here are a few things you can do right now to help earn customer trust and not only start meeting those sales quotas, but start generating repeat business.

Step 1: Identify the buyer’s problem

Nobody wants to be hit with the 79 features of the Sabretooth 9,000 Blender if they’ve never even had a smoothie. Two of the most common complaints that buyers have with sellers are that either they don’t listen to the needs of the customer or that the seller simply does not understand the product or service. It’s tough from a sales perspective. The customer assumes you’re going to waste their time. How do you approach that?

They'd rather be wasting their time on Facebook, quite frankly.

Be inquisitive without being intrusive. Someone who approaches a prospect with a preconceived notion of what the consumer wants will be seen as not much more than a mobile cashier. Don’t assume that every prospect is the same and start by asking them genuine questions about their challenges and pain points.

Step 2: Understand the problem

It’s important to realize that there’s no value to your product or service if the buyer has no need for it. Your second job as a seller is to understand how the prospect’s challenges are affecting their life. By helping them articulate their issues, you’re doing two very important things. First, you’re gaining valuable knowledge about this person that will help create trust via willingness to comprehend and second, you are giving yourself an opportunity to present a solution to their problem. Basically, you’re getting your foot in the door without them knowing it.

Step 3: Help them see the value in your solution

Value is everything. If a prospect is listing in front of you listing their 101 problems, start crossing off those items by explaining just how your product or service can help solve those issues. Start with the biggest ones and make sure you show the value in your solution. Again, if they do not see the value, they won’t see the need.

Step 4: Watch out for those curve balls

Not every sales conversation is going to evolve the same way. There are multiple routes you can take to get to a sale, so be on the lookout for those little audibles that could add extra hurdles to the process. Sellers that are ready for any situation and can exhibit relevancy are great at earning trust. Being ready to solve issues that may even go beyond the limits of your product or service helps put you on a bit of a pedestal by being a trusted expert.

Calm down, Don Draper. There's still work to do.

Step 5: Back it up with credibility

Being able to provide tangible references and proven results will only help to strengthen your message. Pumping your tires is all well and good but nothing gives credibility like your track record – whether they be testimonials, past samples, or hard numbers. Proof of your solution in past experiences relevant to the prospect helps earn credibility and trust with your buyer.

Hey, we’re all humans and as humans we always desire someone to empathize with us. That’s the problem with talking to automated systems and robots. Even online, you should never be a robot. Make your online brand a warm blooded body that understands the needs of it’s customers. Hopefully these 5 steps are a good starting point to help you drive sales not only online but in person as well. For a little extra online sales help take a look at our free ebook:

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