Making a good business impression is one of the most important things a business person or company representative can do. We all hear about the folks who make poor impressions. Everyone from our mothers to our boss wants us to make a good impression. What does this entail? Trust isn't given, it's earned. So what do our clients need to know when deciding we are trustworthy?
Three questions that will help clients answer that question are:
- Can I trust you?
- Do you know what you are talking about?
- Are you interested in me for me or for what I can do for you?
This is what our customer is asking. How do we respond in a way that will give them what they want without making the conversation all about us?
Can I trust you? How do we show trust to someone? What makes a person trust? Helping someone feel comfortable with you in person is different than making that connection over the phone. In-person, we can mirror their actions, look them in the eyes, and use our body language to make them feel in control. On the phone and even to some extent on video appointments, it is a different matter.
The first step is making them feel they are in charge of the conversation. After you ask introducing yourself, ask, "Do you have a few minutes to catch up?"
Remember, we are talking to a client here. Changing this sentence can make it appropriate for prospecting as well: After your introduction, ask, "Is this a good time to talk?" or "Are you familiar with (your company name here)?"
All of these possibilities are questions. They allow the client to make a decision and take control of the conversation. One of the first rules of any discussion is that you are not in control if you are talking!
THIS is why we ask questions. When the client is speaking, two things happen. First, you are listening and listening hard. You have only two pieces of the 7-38-55 rule at your fingertips. You must hear not just what is said but how the tone of voice represents it .
A few questions don't make someone trust you. They do show you are sensitive to their time and their job. You are also asking for "tacit permission to sell." Allowing them to decide to continue the conversation begins to instill trust in your professionalism.
Do you know what you are talking about? Another step in earning a client's trust is proving you have answers they need. Being an expert is essential, but admitting you don't know all the answers is critical.
Asking questions is the best tool to showcase your professionalism and make a good business impression. Asking about your customer and their business shows you care. Listening to their answers is even more critical. Listening makes them feel important and valued. Their answers will guide you to ask more questions. These questions show you are listening, not just getting ready for your next statement. All of these together help build trust.
Remember, questions show you care and build trust. Listening is the most crucial piece in this entire step. Using what you hear to continue the conversation, even if it doesn't look like it's moving the sale forward is vital. Your willingness to listen to what they are saying gives them confidence in your abilities. It adds to your credibility and creates a friendly, open atmosphere that nurtures your relationship with the client.