There are a lot of things that go on during the sales process. You and the customer are trying to see if you are a good fit together. When I qualify a customer, one of the main things I look for is, “Can we build a strong partnership together?” That is what we are doing anyway, joining together to accomplish a goal. We make some money and we create value by helping you become more effective.
Another major part of that qualifying stage is trust-building…can we show you in our first couple meetings that you can trust us with your business. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard from a potential customer, “I picked you guys because you called us back first/quickly.” Just the other day I had a potential customer tell me that he had left messages with some of our competitors and they didn’t reach out right away, but he liked us because I called him back within 4 minutes. While this is not a great reason to build a partnership, the reason behind it is. He is really saying that he trusts our word because of our quick response. It is the first stages of building trust with a potential customer.
Everyday of your life you deal with many trust tests. Anything from as small as, “Do I trust the driver in the car next to me?”, to something as big as, “Do I trust the food that I am putting into my body?” Trust tests come in many variations and situations. I think one of the most common ones is money. Do I trust the bank? Do I trust the bartender with my credit card? Do I trust this online payment is secure? Does my wife trust me not to blow all our money at the casino? ; ) And finally… do I trust this business with my business (aka, my money)?
There are many factors that go into trusting a business with your money. Are they reputable? Do they have a lot of satisfied customers? Are they going to do what they say? And how do you ever find that out with a virtual company such as ours? I mean before you sign your first proposal with us, you have not met us in person. You have not seen that we are actual people. Yet in the world we live in today, this scenario is very common.
We go to websites such as eBay, Amazon, and various other retailers, and trust that they have the product that they offer on their webpage, and that they will send it to us. We never talk with anyone about it. We simply click on a picture, add it to our virtual cart, enter our financial information and trust that it will come in a timely manner and in one piece and they won’t steal your identity. Obviously, the main difference with buying from us is that the price point is a bit higher than items you would buy on one of those sites. But another big difference is that this is a purchase you are making that could change the way you do business. And when it’s your business that is involved not just a DVD or HDTV, there are some more things to be considered in the trust exchange.
Really more than an exchange of services for money, you are trusting our FileMaker expertise and our understanding of how your business works. We do this in a couple of ways. First, when you contact us, we will get back to you within one business day. You and I will have a conversation about your needs; you will notice something different about us. We are consultants first and developers second. We want to get to know all the ins and outs of your business so that we are advising you from the best position possible. We want to create a partnership and build trust with you from day one.
The second way we will build your trust is to conduct discovery. This is a paid engagement, but it is an important early step that we take with about 95% of our customers. It helps you to see how we work, how our whole team comes together to provide you with the best we have to offer. When you have more people to lean on, it makes it easier to rest. There is an old acting exercise to teach you about trust. Your ensemble stands beneath you as you stand on a chair. You must trust them to catch you as you close your eyes, cross your arms and fall back.
We ask you to do the same when you sign a Discovery proposal with us. We know you have not met us yet, or seen how we work, but if we have shown you our ability to respond, advise and direct in our first few meetings then hopefully it will give you enough of an idea to trust us more. We are confident you will see our abilities, trust that we can get the development done and make your business run more effortlessly. After all if you don’t trust someone with your best interests why would you want to work with them?