When we talk about selling services, we know that we are not selling just ‘anything’ but we are selling ‘something’. Selling a service is not as easy as selling a product. Simply because services are intangible.
The challenge arises when we want to market our services to new customers or to introduce it to a new market. It’s particularly harder when we ourselves are new in the market.
In selling services, we need to create trust with the customers. When customers don’t have any trust in us, they won’t buy our services. They will be sceptical until and unless it is proven that we are worthy of being trusted.
What is trust?
The Oxford English Dictionary defined trust as a ‘firm belief in the reliability, truth or strength etc. of a person or thing’, or a ‘confident expectation’. Stephen M. R. Covey, in his book The Speed of Trust, puts it simply as ‘confidence’.
Meaning that customers will buy our services when they have confidence and belief in the service that we deliver; or on the contrary, they believe that we can deliver the service. Whether they have confidence in our capabilities, credibility, integrity or the service itself, it’s all up to how we create the level of trust with the customers.
So, how do we create trust?
The concept of trust that we need to understand is: it doesn’t happen overnight. Creating trust with potential customers is as good as creating trust with a new group of friends. Well, perhaps some people ‘click’ immediately, but most of the time, it takes some effort.
As such, it will take some time to create and build trust with the customers. This is where relationship-building comes in.
Customers need to be convinced that we are able to deliver the kind of service that they need. They need to also be confident that we will stay true to our word. Hence, customers must experience the service that we promote. Make them see for themselves how we deliver the service and what we do to protect their interests. Either we get them to experience it for free or at a discounted price or with a special bundled-package, that is up to our marketing mix.
Secondly, in building the relationship with the customers, we must make sure that we have the right people to do the job. Friendly, outgoing, assertive, honest and true are some of the qualities that we need in our salespeople. Not to mention their ability to convince the customers with their charm.
The relationship that customers would create with our organisation depends on these front liners. They can make or break the deal, so to speak. Therefore, it is important that we get the right people for the job.
Once the relationship is built and customers begin to trust in our services, that’s when we need to ensure that the relationship continues. Bear in mind that not necessarily the customers will trust our capabilities and services on the first try. Hence, we must ensure that our services are delivered up to their expectations, and probably more, all the time.
Trust is not easy to gain but it is easy to be broken.
Once we broke that trust, it’s not going to be easy for us to gain it back. Might as well take care of it as much as we can, through the relationship that we have built.