Have you thought much lately about what your customers—and potential customers—take away from their interactions with you? Key moments in every conversation or transaction are what reinforce who you are, how you are unique, and how you can fill their needs? Those moments are what build your personal brand! Ultimately, they add up to what will shape the perception of you and of your business. Good or bad, they create impressions that last forever. Are you creating good ones?
If you are, you are fulfilling one of the most important steps in the sales process—establishing trust. That should be the end result of a positive personal brand. Trust is fundamental in every aspect of a successful business relationship. It’s all about defining and clarifying a situation, identifying a need, stating a promise to FILL that need, and finally executing on that promise. And if there’s no trust, there’s no way any of that can happen.
Consider perhaps the one position that, more than any other in our world, suffers from mistrust: the used car salesman.
A hundred years ago–just as used cars were starting to become “a thing”—used car sales started to happen more and more frequently. And like any other new business, coupled with a lack of consumer knowledge, a shaky economy, and the bad side of human nature, unscrupulous used car dealers began to appear.
And because of their high-profile nature and the very visible nature of their product, the cliché of the shady used car dealer took root, and soon became known (and accepted) far and wide.
So how were honest used car dealers—and don’t laugh, there were many—ever able to establish a positive brand in the face of all of that? The good ones took tangible steps to establish trust.
Making a good first impression.
How often have you wandered onto an auto lot and been startled by a sales person nearly galloping straight at you, eyes ablaze, toothy smile, and hand outstretched? Did you want to run away?
Overly aggressive body language and behavior does not inspire trust, no matter how excited you are to make a sale, and how great your deals are. Savvy sales persons ease up, allow the customer to get comfortable in their surroundings, and give them the time they need to warm up to the possibility of what could be, for many of them, a large investment.
Take time to assess the customer, read THEIR body language, and adjust accordingly. That will result in a first impression that tells them you are there to fulfill THEIR desires, not meet your quota. First impressions are very important moment.
It’s hard to know what people are looking for if you don’t take the time to truly understand them. Don’t worry about what you can offer them, just listen. Instead of leading them over to the Sale of the Day—the one with the crumpled fender and the trunk that doesn’t quite close—let them explain to you what they’re truly looking for, in great detail.
Chances are they’ve already visualized a successful purchase—the kind of car they want to see in their own driveway. And if you find out what it is, and fill that need, you’re not a sales person—you’re a hero! And it all starts with listening.
Go out of your way.
When you hear that someone has a need, commit to doing all you can to meet it. Maybe you don’t have the car they want on your lot, but you know where to acquire one. Or maybe they want a sound system that your technical crew can install. What if a new set of tires would seal the deal?
It may involve a little extra work, but the end result is a win for everybody involved. And your personal brand becomes one of wish fulfillment….which in turn goes miles toward establishing trust (and creating a lifetime customer).
Even a used car sales person can earn trust, and build a positive brand. It simply requires a strong commitment to the customer, and the confidence that you can provide what they want and need.
Remember, branding experiences are all around you, and every moment is an opportunity! They add up to impressions that last a lifetime.
Be intentional. Be purposeful. And make sure those impressions are good ones!