Top 10 Indicators That You Have a Trustworthy Sales Prospect

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Apr 28, 2014 @ 09:04 AM

trustWhen we discuss trust, it's usually from the perspective of how to build trust, how to be more trustworthy and what to do when a prospect doesn't trust you.  These issues led to my White Paper on Trust, a study that had some very surprising and revealing results.  If you haven't seen it or downloaded it, you can get it here.

When one of my clients talked with me about trust last week, I was actually surprised about the context and direction he was taking it.

He believed that as early as his first phone call, he could determine when a prospect was going to buy and if they were being honest...but didn't think his salespeople could do the same thing.

We discussed that he has much more experience, better instincts, develops better relationships, asks better questions, and does a better job differentiating himself.  Those competencies and his experience do make a difference.

He asked if that could be taught to his lesser experienced salespeople and I said "no."  You not only can't teach instincts and experience, but if you tried, salespeople might use it as a justification for having happy ears, hearing more of what they want to hear without questioning it.

That said, there are some indicators that we can identify, to help salespeople have a better handle on whether the prospect is being honest and whether or not they will buy.  But these are not replacements for instinct. These indicators do not change the facts, they cannot move the opportunity to another stage of the pipeline or sales process, and they cannot alter the probability of closing.  They are simply indicators:

  1. The prospect says that, "Nobody ever asked me that question before" and proceeds to answer it;
  2. The prospect says, "Great question" and proceeds to answer it;
  3. There is a discussion about the competition, but it does not involve having the lowest price;
  4. The prospect thanks the salesperson for being so very helpful;
  5. The prospect shared the names of other decision makers, their roles and invited them to the next meeting or conversation;
  6. The prospect easily shared his/her compelling reasons to buy;
  7. The prospect answered all of your tough questions;
  8. The prospect shared something personal;
  9. The prospect took interest in the salesperson's personal life; and/or
  10. There was no game playing.
Yes, there can be more.
No, this particular list does not have any science or even a study behind it.  These are simply indicators that I have consciously and unconsciously used over the years.  They may or may not be transferrable.  They may or may not work for you. 
Of course, you may not agree with me.  This is an easy article to punch holes in, so if you are so inclined, this is the time to do it!
Remember, these do not replace instinct or facts - they are simply indicators to help determine whether or not you can believe your prospect and accurately predict that you'll get the business.

Image credit: tang90246 / 123RF Stock Photo

Topics: Dave Kurlan, trust, sales calls, trustworthy, salespeople

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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