Surefire ways to become a trusted sales advisor

sales advisorBy Jim Augustus Armstrong—In the first installment of this sales advisor series, I talked about how many American institutions (government, education, churches, corporations, news media, etc.) are suffering a massive loss of trust. It is against this background of mistrust that all your marketing efforts take place. I’ve also covered strategies for overcoming this mistrust and positioning yourself as a trusted sales advisor. Let’s look at additional strategies to achieve this.

Assume that none of your prospects trust you. This is of course not true; at least some prospects trust you, especially if you’re in good standing. However, for sales and marketing purposes it is an excellent starting point. When designing your marketing and sales processes, imagine the most skeptical, aloof prospect who needs new flooring but is confident that flooring companies will rip her off. What should you say and do to gain this prospect’s trust? Once you understand that, gaining the trust of less skeptical prospects as a sales advisor is a piece of cake.

Testimony videos. In the last episode I covered the importance of testimonials and online reviews and video marketing. (Hint: These are two main strategies for gaining the trust of skeptical prospects that I just described.) Another powerful way to use video is for customer testimonials. Your sales team should ask satisfied customers for a testimonial video and immediately record it on their smartphone. Just two or three sentences saying what they liked about your service and their new floors are perfect.

Attract more people who tend to trust you. Out of all the people in your market, who are the ones who trust you more than anyone else? Your former customers! Yet the vast majority of dealers make no effort at all to communicate regularly with their former customers. Do you want to win the trust game? Don’t be like “most” dealers. Make sure to regularly interact with your client list using the 90/10 formula, which I’ve covered extensively in previous columns. You give yourself a huge competitive advantage if you are the one in your market doing this.

Make use of borrowed trust. Betty needs carpeting. Wilma, her colleague, recently bought a floor from you and had a great experience. So she refers to Betty. Betty is much easier to sell than a cold prospect who comes in because they googled you or saw an ad. This is called ‘borrowed trust’. Set up systems to increase customer referrals.

Coordinated companies. Another overlooked referral source is real estate agents, designers, remodelers, insurance companies, cleaners, and other companies that can send you ongoing referrals. This is just another way to leverage borrowed trust.

Ride celebrity coattails. Every city, no matter how small, has famous people. Local politicians (mayor, city councilors), professional athletes, high profile business owners (car dealers, real estate agents), pastors and leaders of community groups and charitable organizations. If any of these people buy floors, make it your mission to get a testimonial and a photo of you standing with them.

In the next installment, I’ll move on to 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, achieve higher margins, and work the hours they want. Visit for information.

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