In my coaching practice, I work with a number of small business owners and professional service providers who often pitch for work following an expression of interest from a prospect. If that prospect says ‘no’ to working with you or buying more from you they’ll often tell you the reason is because of time or money.
They’ll say ‘it’s too expensive’ or ‘that’s more than I can afford to pay’, but they didn’t have that problem when they bought their new car, latest smartphone or fancy handbag!
The real reason for not buying from you is a lack of trust. And there are four areas of mistrust:
A lack of trust in themselves
The first reason that prospects say ‘no’, regardless of what excuse they give you, is that they don’t trust themselves. They’ve made mistakes before that they don’t want to repeat.
It’s not that they don’t trust you, but if you’ve done nothing to encourage a sense of trust in you either you are, kind of, to blame as well.
A lack of trust in you
If it’s not a lack of trust in themselves it will be a lack of trust in you. Prospects naturally worry about parting with their hard earned cash, entering into relationships and signing contracts.
When nurturing a prospect you must build their trust in you. This takes time and you have to be patient and play the long game until you become someone they can trust to invest their money in and build a long term relationship with.
A lack of trust because you’re too cheap
Being too cheap can cause mistrust; a prospect will never tell you that, but quoting low fees can influence their decision about working with you.
If you were to get a builder to do some work on your home and they offered a really low price you would be worried about how good they were, the quality of the materials they’d use and whether their work would be safe.
Price is a statement of value and your fees are a way of differentiating yourself from your competitors.
If you genuinely believe that you do a good job, at least as good if not better than your competitors, that you care more and are prepared to go the extra mile, but at the same time you charge low fees there is clearly a disconnect between what you believe and your reality. This will be felt by your prospects who won’t believe your promises.
A lack of trust in the outcome
The final, and probably most significant factor in relation to trust, is their belief about whether they will get the outcome they want.
Now the outcome is not the delivery of the service you provide: the outcome is what they hope to achieve as a result of the service you provide, and very often this presents a problem.
Do you know and really understand what outcomes your prospects want?
As much as you take pride in the quality of your services and the way you deliver them, your prospects don’t care. They are only interested in the outcome.
But if you don’t know the outcome they’re looking for how are you going to instil the trust that you can help them achieve that outcome?
Unless you identify the outcomes your prospects are looking for and provide realistic and honest assurances about how you’re going to help them get there you will have failed to gain their trust.
It’s not about promising the earth, and in fact prospects will have more trust in the outcome if you tell them about the obstacles they will experience along the way.
Overcoming distrust is hard. But unless you establish trust in the minds of your prospects they won’t have the confidence to move from where they are now to where you can help them be in the future.