Gaining trust from a person is not an easy task, yet it is a required step to build a long-lasting and successful relationship.
So how do you build trust? How can we improve it? Keep in mind those 12 principles and your success in export sales is almost halfway guaranteed.
COMMUNICATE / MEET THEM
To build trust you need to communicate with people, a lot. The more often you are calling them, being present, showing that you care about them, the better it is. You will need also to share your vision, any insight or good and bad news. Communicating with the same level of information will let them feel part of the family.
Very often, we notice than the more you go visit your customers, the more they trust you. No matter how long you have been dealing with them.
DO WHAT YOU SAY
This principle is very important. Everybody is judging one another depending on the gap between what they said and what they delivered. You said that you will find him a solution in three days? Then do it or stay silent.
True honesty pays. People will have more trust if you are honest with them. If you lie to them, they will discover it one day or another. Keep in mind than selling through a distributor/dealer is a long-term relationship in which he is almost part of your company.
DO NOT BREAK THE RELATIONSHIP
Trust is like a crystal glass: it takes time to form it and just a second to break it. Make sure you are making the right decision and that you show respect to your customers. Once broken, it is difficult to repair a relationship.
THINK LONG TERM / NOT PROFIT
When you are exporting goods, you are interacting with customers that you want to keep for a long time. Nobody can afford to lose a customer or to have bad feedback from them nowadays, especially with the speed at which information is traveling.
If you want to build trust then you need to think long term and sometimes to make concessions and find compromises to move forward.
BE ACCURATE & BRING PROOF
Usually, if you want to build trust you need to be accurate in what you are saying, and you need to bring proof of your points. If you show to your dealer that you are saying the truth or that your vision is correct then you will definitely have a better image.
LISTEN & PROVIDE TIME FOR EXCHANGE
People are trusting you if they think you care about them and that you listen to their opinion or issues.
HAVE INTEGRITY / BE FAIR
Having integrity and being fair is one thing that is not always common in the business world. Thus, these qualities are highly appreciated, even for salespeople.
CHALLENGE PEOPLE / BE RESPECTED
You need to challenge your partners about their sales, their business, their vision so that they understand you have some character too. Also, when your partners are crossing the lines you must be respected, and your voice must be heard. Respect and Trust are not the same but are sure linked together somehow.
SET AND MAINTAIN OBJECTIVES
If you are telling your customers where you want to go / what you want to achieve and then show them that you are heading in the right direction it gives you more credit.
Acting as a coach sometimes can generate more sympathy.
ADMIT YOUR WRONGS AND “CLEAN THE HOUSE”
When you are doing something wrong, sure you will lose trust, but you can still recover from it. Admitting your wrongs and taking ownership of your mistake is giving strength to your partner to forgive you. Nonetheless, this is not the last step, after admitting your fault you will need to fix your mistake. This will wipe out most of the bad impressions in your partners’ head.