Today’s post is brought to you by our friend, the very rad, Dave Cooke. Enjoy!
There is nothing more enjoyable than being in comfortable surroundings. In the show Cheers, I am quite certain it wasn’t the just beer that brought Norm to the bar—though it was a nice bonus. Rather, it was the comfort and comradery that he felt at the bar. Norm could be himself and not really give a care. If you remember, the entire group in that bar was extremely open, frank, and much braver within the group than outside of it.
The same can be said of most of us. When we’re surrounded by people we trust and who trust us, we’re more willing to take risks and experiment. With any action we take or decision we make, there is always an element of risk. However, that risk seems to be somewhat diminished some in the face of the support, advice and guidance of people with which we have mutual trust. Nothing can replace the comfort and security of people we know, respect, and have confidence in each other’s experiences, abilities and perspectives.
The difference between being in a comfortable environment and an unknown environment is significant. When dealing with the unknown, the first thing people look for is a safe haven—a warm smile, a pleasant “hello”, or a welcoming wave. Until we learn who is in the room, what they are like, and how they are “wired,” we are quite likely to avoid any risk or take any chances at all. Until we get comfortable, there is no chance we are going to really act, think, or behave in a natural manner.
Once we discover our comfort zone, the rules and the game changes. We get more confident, more at ease, more open and we allow ourselves to explore ideas, thoughts, and conversations that we would not have even considered until we were comfortable.
There is a great sales lesson here. People often talk about the fact that they will only do business with people they know, like, and trust. Though I am not always sure that is the only criteria, for there are plenty of purchasing agents who make buying without ever bringing relationship value into play; there are a multitude of business decisions that are made when the people making the decisions have developed a high degree of trust and comfort in the people around them. And, there are plenty of decisions that are never made because the comfort level in the people in the room is way too low.
Most people are naturally risk adverse. No one wants to make a mistake or a bad decision. Few people want to do something that turns out to be stupid or misguided. Their confidence level goes up as the comfort level with those in the room increases. When people you trust and respect are encouraging you to make a decision, take a chance, or try this out, your bravery is based on your comfort level with them.
Think about this in the sales arena. While it is possible to convert a potential customer to a buying customer without having sufficiently established trust, credibility and rapport, it is likely that your sales process would be much more efficient if you discovered the power of being a trusted and respected advisor. This is something that is earned by developing an influential relationship with them. It is something that can be accomplished by building trust and being trustworthy. When your prospects become comfortable with you as a valued advisor, their tolerance for risk goes down. This occurs because they have discovered through your behaviors, conversations, and support a safe and reliable haven for information, ideas, and solutions. They have been able, over time, to develop an understanding or how you think, what you value, and what your credibility level is. And, through this process, the two of you have developed a comfortable, trusting relationship that mitigates the fear of failure and the willingness to explore the potential of opportunities without merely focusing on the risk.
Next time you are working on “getting a sale”, “making a deal” or “overcoming objections” to close the deal ask yourself – what have I done to create and develop a mutually beneficial, trusting relationship? If you are working on “getting a sale”, “making a deal”, or “overcoming objections” you haven’t really earned their trust yet. If you haven’t earned it, invest the time in doing it right and help make everybody comfortable with your trusted and valued perspectives. Then, when a prospective customer talks with you about making a business decision to work with your organization, your professionalism and trust will earn you the opportunity to do business with them.
Dave Cooke is CEO of Strategic Resource Group, LLC. Dave leverages over 25 years sales and marketing experience to provide businesses with sustainable growth strategies and effective relationship building behaviors. Dave has developed the Sustainable Revenue Formula (SuRF) which provides an organizational program for increasing and stabilizing revenues. Dave is also part of a dynamic duo with Chris Conrey in producing the podcast series, Don’t Sell Me Bro.