Learn to speak the language of trust in selling.
I was driving along our Malaysian highway when this advertisement caught my attention. Translated, it means “suck this and you will immediately become beautiful.”
Personally I find this claim rather “amazing” and unbelievable.
If the purpose of advertisement is to grab the audience attention this particular tagline is successful as it had arrested mine. It got me wondering why a company would endorse such a campaign? and even more intriguing is who would believe in such a claim and consume this product?
Rather than being dogmatic about what should be right or wrong in advertisement claims, I would prefer to share with you my thoughts on what I think is more important in promoting any product or services.
That is why you want to speak the language of trust in selling and what to say to convey trust.
Why do you want to speak the language of trust?
Consumers today are more skeptical than ever. As consumers ourselves most of us do have our skepticism when we buy products as many of us have experienced our fair share of buying something that we don’t need, don’t want, overprice and under delivers. Over the years with the weight of our accumulated experiences we simply become more distrustful of everyone and everything around us. These days we don’t trust our government, we don’t trust the companies we work with and some of us don’t even trust that our families will be there for us.
Once this skepticism exists, it is extremely difficult to overcome. On account of sales people are critical of the sales language and anything that sounds or looks “salesy” will often be shut out. Don’t like what you hear? Change the channel, Click “block sender”. Check out. It’s very simple these days to do that. So if you are a salesperson or even an individual who wants to sell an idea, using the right language to promote trust is important because you want whatever benefits your ideas or products have to offer is being heard by your target consumer.
Make no mistake that learning the language of trust in sales is not just about words, it involves the way you think and subsequently the way you act. Simply put it, your choice of words proceed from your being, your heart. So if you heart is at the wrong place, so will your words that protrude from your mouth.
Consequently the first step to learning the language of trust is to simply to conduct an internal check and balance. Who are you? What are you willing and NOT willing to do to secure a business? What can your product or services do and NOT do? Who would benefit (beyond any doubt) from using your products or services? How would you behave in a crisis, what are you NOT willing to compromise? These are all fundamental truths that one should think about prior to engaging customer with the sales communication process.
And I believe the language of trust starts when the heart is in the right place and that leas to communication that is direct, authentic and honest. Honest also means agreeing with the objections when it is right and fair. That way, we place the decision, the choice back to the consumer if they would like to engage with us regardless of our flaws. After all, there is no perfect or flawless solution in this world.
What to say to convey trust?
The mind-sets of people who receive your messages fall within a bell-curve continuum, with pessimists at one end, optimists at the other end and the skeptics in the middle. While optimists are easy to communicate with, they are a dying breed. Pessimistic on the other hand are also relatively easy to spot because they are toxic and generally negative. So it doesn’t matter what you say, you are always wrong and this group is better avoided than engaged because this group of people will never change their mind. It is the skeptics that are the ones that make the majority of us which is our target. This group will generally gather facts and information prior to making decisions.
So our goals are to create a meaningful dialogue with so that what we say will form part of the information that they will consider in their buying process. So how can we convey trust in our communication?
1) Make your message relevant.
In this information age, we are having the world’s information at the palm of our hands and yet one of the greatest challenges is to connect the dots between information so that it all makes sense to the listener who is solving the problem.
And one of the fastest ways to connect the dots is to make the messages relevant to the target customers. We tend to see the world from our own lenses and sometimes fail to make our products, features or idea relevant to our customer. Just because we see value in something it doesn’t mean that the customer will value the same thing that we do. Our job is to think about what we are selling from our customer’s perspective and then tell them why what you have to say matters. Our work is to connect the dots for the customer and somehow make our information ‘click’ with whatever existing knowledge that our customer has. So that what we say or we offer makes perfect sense to our customer. That way we have become believable and our sales story can be trusted.
2) Use plain language.
Communicating with clarity and simplicity is a foundation of the language of trust. If people couldn’t understand the advantage of your supplements, your financial services or the benefit of the site you are trying to promote, you just lost the sale.
It is important to remember that sometimes customers don’t know what they don’t know. Often times we think that customers have the same level of information compared with us and because of that we make the mistake of either sharing too much or too little information. Either way that may cause them to feel embarrassed or impatient with us.
So the best way forward is simply to ask questions to gauge their level of understanding. Questions such as: “Why do you consider this service as your solution?”, “Why is doing this important for you?”, “What else have you considered in solving this?” etc. and get them to share with you their thoughts and feelings. That way you will know the level of information they have and how you could engage them appropriately. And remember to use the customer’s language and avoid jargon so they could understand you without much effort.
3) Ensure what you speak is credible
As adults we would have developed our own filters that help us to distinguish between what is believable versus what is illogical. Hence in communicating the language of trust, we need to speak in a way that is credible and doesn’t cause others to doubt the content of our message.
One way is to ensure that our messages are believable is to state our claim in a way that is good enough to sell, however not too good that people just don’t believe it! For example instead of promising instant youth, consider statement such as “proven to fight against the aging process.” This phase is rather more palatable as compared to the former.
Another way to speak credibly is to admit your flaws. As soon as you say that your products and services are the “one and only, cure it all” solution you lose credibility. Nobody will believe in a 100% workable, flawless solutions and some will even go at great lengths to prove you wrong.
Instead say something like “Mr. Lee, nothing is 100% flawless, yet we take measurable steps within the first 24 hours of receiving your complain to work with you to ensure your services will go through minimal disruption.” This form of communication is not only honest it also help educate customers on what to expect from you.
And the third way to speak the language of trust is acknowledge that you are not the only answer to a given problem. And let the customer make their choice once you educated them about your products or services. For example your insurance services become more attractive when you explicitly mention that insurance forms only a “portion” of the wealth management portfolio for individuals, or “this supplements that you are considering to consume will only help you maintain your current health condition and you still have to continue your medications.”
I hope that you realize that this isn’t an exhaustive list of phrases that helps you create trust with you customers.
Ultimately if you were to revisit the ideas that I have shared, you will see some broad themes and conclude that in order to speak the language of trust, you must first be a trustworthy person. A trustworthy person is one that will only make a promise that he/she can deliver. And if we practice this principle then it will guide us in the way we communicate and help us in our choice of words because we simply won’t allow ourselves to mislead or deceive others.
Perhaps for those who believe in the notion that
“All publicity is good publicity” (even if it’s notorious)
I would like them to consider these saying as well
“Don’t confuse visibility with credibility” ~Harvey Mackay
And finally may you do the right thing and find the courage to speak the language of trust in your sales communication.