Commonalities, Credibility, Competence

Thanks to a great mentor I came across this little beauty of the 3Cs of Building Trust.


The Three Cs of Building Trust

by Tom Hopkins

We all like to be around people who are somewhat like us. They have similar interests, tastes and attitudes. As we meet new people, relationships build based on the first C of building trust: Commonalities or what some call “common ground.” It’s just the way we humans are. We are birds seeking others of our same or similar feather to group together.

That being said, it’s critical in any selling situation that you find and establish common ground with the buyers. The supply of potential topics is endless. It’s critical that you get comfortable with this phase of selling or you’ll never make it to the next steps often enough to support yourself.

Some of the most common fall backs for untrained or less enthusiastic salespeople are things like the weather or local news. These are not topics to be completely dismissed, but I don’t recommend relying solely on them if your goal is to achieve champion status in your company. Talking about the weather, unless something very unusual or spectacular is happening, is kind of lame. It’s like shouting, “I can’t think of anything else to say!” And that certainly puts a dent in your credibility as a sales “professional.”

Have some fun establishing common ground. Come up with at least five different topics of general interest in your area or in your industry that you could use. Some examples could be 1) the local sports teams; 2) hobbies; 3) current events (stay with positive events, please); 4) favorite places to eat (aka types of food); 5) travel.

The second C of trust building is Credibility. Now that the buyer has seen that you’re like-able, you need to demonstrate that you are the expert they expect you to be. This is where you would drop into the conversation things like, “During our last product training demonstration, I learned …” “I’ve seen a lot of changes in this field in the last 10 years.” “We’re fortunate to serve the needs of over 460 families in your community alone.” With those three sentences, you have not directly bragged about yourself but you have demonstrated that you are dedicated to learning, have been in the field a long time and have worked with plenty of other clients with similar needs.

Those first two Cs build to the third, which is Competence. When the buyer relaxes and gets comfortable with you, understands that you’ve helped others like them — for a while — they start to think you might be competent enough to handle their needs. Don’t prove them wrong! Everything they see you do and hear you say needs to match that perception. You need to walk the walk and talk the talk before they’ll believe you’re competent and trust you with more information about them and their needs.

Wishing you greatness in your career!

-Coach B.

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