Problem/Solution—Our customers don't see that we have the perfect solution. They don't trust us.

Problem: Our customers don’t see that we have the perfect solution. They don’t trust us.

We may have the perfect solution for our customer’s problem. Another probability is that we have the perfect solution for what we perceive the customer’s problem to be. The customer may not trust you because you missed the mark by explaining your solution more than you listened to their needs.

Solution: Listen more than you speak. Build trust with your customer.

“Collaboration is the foundation of the standard of living we enjoy today. Trust is the glue.” — Ram Charan, CEO Advisor and author of Profitable Growth Is Everyone’s Business

The fastest way to build trust with your customer is to listen. Then clarify that you heard them correctly and listen some more. How and what we communicate is vital to building and maintaining relationships with customers—and may drastically differentiate us from our competition. When we meet with the client and only hear what we want to hear or try to make our solution fit into some small portion of what the customer needs, then we’ve missed the mark. Listen to what they say to uncover their underlying needs and remember to stay neutral—don’t add your thoughts and opinions when you should be clarifying.

Plan and develop effective questions ahead of a meeting or call because you may only get one chance to ask the right questions. Focus your questions on the customer and listen for the issues and motivators (hot buttons) that are driving their buying needs. Peel the onion by asking follow-up questions to get to the underlying or hidden concerns. What problem are they really trying to solve by going out to bid? Preparing questions in advance will help you to ask the appropriate follow-up questions and get to these critical insights.

Use the following tips to build more trust with your customers and set you apart from competitors:

  • Be proactive, relevant, and innovative
  • Be visible and establish trust with a consistent message
  • Be a valued resource to the customer
  • Stay connected—provide your client with relevant white papers, blogs, testimonials, product demos, press releases
  • Use multiple channels—social media, email, web conferences, professional associations
  • Building trust with the customer may not always be easy but applying the tools above can help us more effectively understand the customers underlying needs. If we are willing to listen to what the customer has to say, trust will grow.