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Sales tips and techniques for building customer trust

Don Peppers gives some tips for developing personal selling skills and using them during face-to-face interactions with customers.

As a salesperson, I often deal with customers in person. Can you offer me any tips for building rapport and customer trust in my interactions with potential customers?
Personal selling is one of the most important aspects of almost any business career – because you're always selling, not just to customers, but to your boss, your peers and colleagues, even your friends. Persuading others, pitching your case – call it what you want, but understanding how to get someone else to do what you want them to do is one of the most basic skills of being human.

In terms of dealing directly with customers, my favorite advice would come from Dale Carnegie's classic book How to Win Friends and Influence People. You can read all of the current how-to books you want but you won't find better, more concise advice. Remember people's names. Ask about their feelings. Try to understand them and their own points of view. These are the building blocks not just for great salesmanship, but also for lasting friendships.

After you first read Carnegie's classic, then you might want to get a copy of my own book, Life's a Pitch: Then You Buy, which will give you a lot of tips on making that pitch to a customer, whether in a big meeting or a face-to-face encounter. I wrote that book based on my experience doing face-to-face selling as a new-business director for a series of advertising agencies. I think you'll find that it's still a fun read, and has very practical advice.

Hear more in Creating Customer Value, a SearchCRM.com monthly podcast series with Peppers and Rogers.

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