The Ultimate Competitive Advantage: Trust and Respect

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Does your selling style address the most fundamental needs of your prospects? What are the most important factors to someone making an important buying decision?

Universities and market research firms have conducted numerous studies to determine the most important buying decision factors for people who make significant purchases. We gathered as many of those studies as we could find, and did simple correlation analyses to average out the results. Here are the results, in order of importance.

Weighted Values* of Buying Decision Factors(c)

1. Level of Trust in the Salesperson: 87 2. Level of Respect for the Salesperson: 82 3. Reputation of the Company or Product: 76 4. Features of the Product or Service: 71 5. Quality and Service: 58 6. Price (non-commodity): 16 12. Like the Salesperson (rapport): 3 *(Weight = percentage of people listing each factor in their top 5)

The average salesperson knows how to effectively present 4 of the 7 factors cited above: Reputation (#3), Features (#4), Quality and Service (#5), and Rapport (#12). They try to handle the two most important buying decision factors, Trust (#1) and Respect (#2), by establishing Rapport (#12).

Building “Rapport" is an inherently manipulative tactic. Ironically, typical salespeople attempt to establish Trust and Respect, non-manipulative factors, by manipulating people. Building rapport doesn't establish trust and respect, it diminishes trust and respect. That's why only 3% of all buyers surveyed rate ‘Like the Salesperson’ as an important buying decision factor.

If Trust and Respect are so important, why don't most salespeople learn how to establish relationships of trust and respect with their prospects and customers? We've come to the conclusion that there are three reasons:

1. Most salespeople don't know that it can be done.

2. If they learn a process that develops that kind of relationship, they feel uncomfortable using it because it's very unconventional.

3. Trust and Respect are very personal emotions, and sharing emotions is commonly regarded as only suitable for intimate relationships. Most salespeople have a fear of intimacy. Yet, we've found that less than 1/2 of 1 percent of prospects and customers have a fear of intimacy.

Let's suppose you're faced with a very important buying decision. Let's say you have decided to relocate thirty miles away from where you live now, so that you and your spouse will both have shorter commutes to work. So, you need to sell your current home and buy a new one. To whom would you entrust the sale of your most valued possession? Are you going to entrust the sale of your house to a charming and friendly Realtor who tells you that they have the best marketing system, the best skills, the best negotiating ability, and affiliation with the biggest real estate firm? Or, will you hire the Realtor whom you trust and respect the most to sell your most valued possession?

Regardless of whether you sell to consumers or B-2-B, all sales are made to people. When the sales are significant, most people want to buy from someone they trust and respect. Why? Fear of loss is the most important buying motivation. You could lose tens of thousands in the hands of an untrustworthy Realtor. At work, choosing an unreliable vendor could cost you a raise, a promotion, or your job.

If you learn a process that establishes relationships of mutual trust and respect with prospects during your first conversation with them, you will have the ultimate competitive advantage. If not, hope to be the most persuasive salesperson your prospects meet- and hope that someone who practices High Probability Selling isn't your competitor!

©Jacques Werth, High Probability® Selling - All rights reserved.

Jacques Werth, author of “High Probability Selling, " is an internationally respected Sales Trainer and Sales Consultant. HPS graduates are excelling as Top Producers in over 70 industries. Visit to read more articles, preview the book, and learn more about High Probability Selling.


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