Surefire ways to become a trusted sales advisor

sales advisorBy Jim Augustus Armstrong—In the first installment in this sales advisor series, I covered the fact that many US institutions (government, education, churches, corporations, news media, etc.) suffer from a massive loss of trust. It’s against this backdrop of distrust that all of your marketing efforts take place. I also covered strategies for overcoming this distrust and positioning yourself as a trusted sales advisor. Let’s look at additional strategies for accomplishing this.

Assume that none of your prospects trust you. This isn’t true of course; at least some prospects trust you, especially if you have a good reputation. However, for sales and marketing purposes it’s an excellent starting point. When you are designing your marketing and your sales processes imagine the most skeptical, standoff-ish prospect who needs new floors but is convinced flooring companies are going to rip her off. What would you need to say and do to win this prospect’s trust? Once you’ve figured that out, winning the trust of less skeptical prospects as a sales advisor is a piece of cake.

Testimonial videos. In the last installment I covered the importance of testimonials and online reviews and video marketing. (Hint: these are two major strategies for winning the trust of skeptical prospects I just described.) Another powerful way to use video is for client testimonials. Your sales team should ask happy clients for a testimonial video and shoot it right then and there on their smartphone. Just two or three sentences saying what they liked about your service and their new floors is perfect.

Attract more people who are inclined to trust you. Out of all the people in your market, who are the ones that trust you more than anyone else? Your past clients! Yet the vast majority of dealers make zero effort to communicate regularly with their past clients. Want to win the trust game? Don’t be like “most” dealers. Make sure you’re communicating with your client list regularly using the 90/10 formula, which I’ve covered extensively in previous columns. You’ll give yourself a massive competitive advantage if you’re the one in your market to do this.

Leverage borrowed trust. Betty needs flooring. Wilma, her co-worker, recently bought flooring from you and had a great experience. So, she refers to Betty. Betty is way easier to sell to than a cold prospect who comes in because they Googled you or saw an ad. This is called “borrowed trust.” Put systems in place to increase the number of client referrals.

Aligned businesses. Another overlooked referral source are realtors, designers, remodelers, insurance companies, cleaners and other businesses who can send you ongoing referrals. This is simply another way to leverage borrowed trust.

Ride celebrity coattails. Every town, no matter how small, has people who are well-known. Local politicians (mayor, city council members), professional athletes, owners of high-profile businesses (auto dealers, real estate brokers), pastors and leaders of civic groups and charitable organizations. If one of these people buys floors, make it your mission to get a testimonial and a photo of you standing with them.

In the next installation I’ll continue with more strategies for building trust.

Jim is the founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides floor dealers with marketing services and coaching to help them attract quality customers, close more sales, get higher margins and work the hours they choose. For information visit

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