Have you ever had customers who just don’t quite seem to trust you? They listen to you with raised eyebrows, and don’t take what you say at face value. They look for hidden agendas, and always looks for the “catch.” If you are a basically honest person, it can be a very unpleasant sensation. (Even if you’re not an honest person, it’s still unpleasant – but at least you know who to blame!)
Trust is hard to build, easy to break
Of all the connections we can build with our customers (as well as co-workers, bosses, employees, etc) trust is both the hardest to create, and easiest to break. It’s understandable. In this day and age a little healthy skepticism is probably a good thing. But there are some people who fear so greatly the vulnerability that comes with trust, they overcompensate by trusting virtually nothing and no-one.
There is, unfortunately, no quick fix for building trust. Loss of trust is usually created by negative personal experiences, and it can only be undone with consistent, positive experiences.
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Three steps to addressing a lack of trust
There are three steps to follow when your exhibits a lack of trust:
1. Acknowledge and validate customers’ discomfort
eg. “I understand your discomfort. I suspect I’d feel the same way if I were you.”
2. Reaffirm to them that you care
eg. “I care about how satisfied you are – and I don’t want you <buy/sell/do> anything you’re not sure of.”
3. Restate your position, then set them free
Give them permission to walk away (those of you who are in sales – this means you too!). eg. “I really do think this is best for you because . But you really should be 100% comfortable before you make a decision.”
These three steps express empathy, caring, and confidence in your position – three things that suspicious customers are looking for. Give it a try.