The first question a prospect has to answer before becoming a customer is: “Do I trust this company?”
And salespeople, in an effort to accelerate that trust, often try to over-commit and over-deliver.
This actually kills more sales than it creates. But let’s back up a bit, because every time a salesperson interacts with a prospect, a commitment is being made (even if all we’re doing is sending an email or leaving them a voicemail).
If a salesperson looks back over their interactions with prospects over the course of just a few weeks, they’ll see dozens — or hundreds – of commitments they’ve made.
But how many of those commitments are delivered on?
That’s the question we posed to Todd Caponi, a researcher and speaker who studies the neuroscience of sales.
He said that an important element often left out of the ‘trust’ equation is transparency. If salespeople can consistently deliver on their commitments while maintaining transparency and honesty, closing rates skyrocket.
Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: To ensure we deliver on every commitment we make to a prospect, it begins with expectations. Todd advises that we not over-deliver on all our expectations, because it causes expectation inflation. Prospects will always expect us to deliver early. Instead, we should set accurate expectations on our delivery timeline and what we will be doing at our next touchpoint.
R – Repeatable: In order to ensure that consistently delivering on our commitments is repeatable, Todd advises we engage our team in aligning commitments with the resources that are available. That may mean that we identify the most-requested information and ensure that we have accurate lead times for how long marketing needs to customize that information to a particular prospect.
If we’re the ones both creating requested materials and selling to customers, it makes sense to have commonly-requested information in a folder so it can be quickly found, customized and sent.
It may go without saying but it’s worth being said – track every commitment you make as a task within your CRM and assign it a date to ensure it gets back in front of you. Otherwise, you’ll be hoping you remember to fulfill a commitment you made to a prospect.
I – Improvable: To make the system repeatable, Todd recommends we first look at our lost sales and identify every place a commitment was made – whether we as salespeople delivered on it or not. It’s those details we’ll want to capture and refine to determine whether we could have created more trust during the sale by committing differently, providing resources we may not have known existed, or connecting our prospects to satisfied customers in our network sooner.
M – Measurable: To measure the effectiveness of our commitments, Todd says we shouldn’t immediately examine close rates. Rather, we should look at how transparent we are with our prospects during conversations where we make commitments.
This means identifying both the positive and negative differentiators about our pricing, delivery timeline, quality, and any discounts that can be offered with quantity purchases. Once identified, measure how many of those differentiators are communicated during prospect conversations so expectations are clearly set and ensuring the prospect sees us first as honest.
From there, it’s much easier to make a commitment, deliver on it, and ensure trust is built sooner in the sales cycle.