When your prospect or client really, truly believes that you have their best interest at heart you’ll have established trust, the fulcrum of sustainable business relationships.
How do you know when you’ve developed a trusting relationship with a buyer?
• The buyer asks your advice on professional and/or personal issues.
• Your “push-back” on decision-making criteria is accepted in good grace and responded to.
• You both enjoy genuine laughter at shared humor.
• Private and confidential concerns are shared (e.g., “I’m not convinced my marketing team is generating effective content”).
• You are asked probing and follow-up questions which help the buyer learn more about your personal values and affiliation with your company.
Establishing a trusting relationship is the first step toward gaining conceptual agreement about the solution you offer (objectives, metrics, value) — which is the basis for a proposal. Without trust, the buyer won’t share information about priority initiatives and objectives and any request for a proposal is probably just an easy way to dismiss you….. “sure, send me a proposal!”
For more on building trust, The Rain Group offers excellent advice here.