Sales mostly boils down to creating and then building upon relationships.
It also boils down to numbers, time, and speed. In reality, though, those two things – building solid relationships and moving quickly – are often opposed to one another!
Creating trust is essential for securing a solid sale, but how can you create a trusting relationship with someone when you don’t know them and are looking to create a relationship based upon a business transaction?
Let’s talk heuristics
They’re pretty popular these days – a simple Google search will show you that – but that’s for a good reason. They’re mental models humans use to reduce time or energy for a task when making decisions. We’re faced with tons of decisions on a daily basis, some large and some small, so we use little mental shortcuts to help reduce the cognitive overload.
Good news: you can use these heuristics to more quickly establish trust with a prospect through the first contact, whether that’s through email, a phone call, or an in-person meeting.
Gain trust through cold email through the mutual bond/ingroup bias
We seek out people who are like us: it’s simply human nature.
Use this basic human instinct to build trust by establishing a mutual bond with a prospect. A little LinkedIn digging goes a long way here. Find out what you have in common – a mutual college experience, a common job or career choice, even a shared love of a sport or team – and use that as your intro line in your email.
Don’t rely TOO heavily on it, or it’ll look obvious. Just a quick mention and a follow-up sentence about why it’s relevant is enough.
Use the affect heuristic to set the right tone for your first phone call
The affect heuristic states that we make decisions (in part) based on our mood at the time of the decision. Obviously, someone who is annoyed, rushed, or otherwise feeling more negative than positive will be less likely to make a favorable decision regarding you and your pitch, whether that means scheduling a demo, another phone call, or even listening in the first place.
Tune into your prospect’s tone: if they sound perturbed, it might be better to cut your losses or offer up some conversation less focused on the sale and more focused on improving their mood.
Then, try again later – they’ll remember you as the person who didn’t push them, and be more open-minded the second time around.
Tap into body language to make a good first impression, in-person
This isn’t exactly a heuristic, but it falls in the same psychology category: we’re talking about mirroring or the subtle act of mimicking your prospect’s body language and actions while interacting in person.
The trick is to be subtle and not creepy about it!
If your prospect shifts his or her weight, wait a few seconds and then do the same. If they lean forward and gesture with their hands, wait a moment and do the same. Even consider repeating back certain key phrases throughout your conversation.
This works by putting your prospect at ease, showing them you’re willing to provide a “united front” with them. Doing so creates an atmosphere of ease and trust.
Whether you’re typing up a quick email, hopping on a call, or meeting a prospect in person, you can employ a few Jedi mind tricks to boost your prospect’s comfort and trust level quickly, making the entire sales process move more smoothly as a result!