8 years ago
April 13, 2016

3 Ways to Build Trust With Skeptical Sales Prospects

If you can build trust with skeptical sales prospects, you can get beyond the doubts that stall or terminate a deal.

Rhys Metler

Skeptical sales prospects are the rule rather than the exception. The skepticism that your sales prospects display, however, is often easy to overcome as it is usually based on the fact that in the beginning, your sales prospect does not know whether he or she can trust you. If you can build trust with skeptical sales prospects, you can get beyond the doubts that stall or terminate a deal.

Build Trust by Acknowledging Doubts and Concerns

As a sales person with confidence in your organization and its offerings, you know that what you have to offer has a high success rate that can be of great benefit. To build trust, you must be able to convince your skeptical sales prospects this is true. The first way to do this is by acknowledging that the doubts and concerns your sales prospect may have are valid, and helping your sales prospect understand the value of what’s on the table. To do this:

  • Be open in acknowledging skepticism. It may be instinctive to avoid bringing doubts into the open, but simply by being enough confident to say “I sense that you have concerns” you can start to build trust and get over the barrier of skepticism.
  • Recognize concerns without setting up a confrontational dynamic. Confrontation is a leading reason why early stage sales fail. Avoid defensive or confrontational statements such as “But if I heard you right.” when recognizing concerns.
  • Ask skeptical sales prospects what they need. It is a best practice not to assume that you understand why a sales prospect is skeptical. Ask leading questions to find out what the sales prospect needs to know to overcome his or her skepticism and build trust in the process.

Build Trust Using Relevant Storylines

Storylines work well to build trust with skeptical sales prospects because they are easy to understand and do not require a great deal of time. When using storylines to build trust, focus on stories that demonstrate quantifiable results. While you can use printed storylines from marketing or other reference materials, when dealing with skeptical sales prospects it is usually best to talk through the story together so that you can tailor the dialogue to help the prospect understand how it is relevant to him or her.

  • Provide reports or data sets from credible sources. This can come from your own organization, though skeptical sales prospects may react more favorably if the report or data set is confirmed by an external source.
  • Lean on published stories in magazines and trade papers. Chances are that your organization has been noted in publications, which may include stories and commentaries you can use to build trust.
  • Share success stories from similar clients. If you have had a client in the past who experienced similar circumstances to those of a skeptical sales prospect, use the story of how that client succeeded with your offering. This works extremely well if the client is also willing to act as a reference.

Build Trust with a Policy of Perfect Honesty

Most sales people are genuinely interested in what is best for all parties involved in a deal. However, for some sales people this authenticity is foreshadowed by a “sales persona” that kicks in when the stakes are high. Focusing on the positive can be beneficial, but if you are also willing to confront the negatives and discuss the underlying issues with skeptical sales prospects, you will have greater success in the campaign to build trust.

Build trust, honesty, and integrity by avoiding common sales lingo that skeptical sales prospects are sure to recognize, and focus instead on being present in the sale and for the prospect and his or her needs. When you do this, skeptical sales prospects will respond more strongly to you on a personal level, which is all the foundation you need to build trust and close the sale.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.