Have you used one of those Carvana Car Vending Machines? Maybe you’ve seen them: huge spirals of cars. Once you buy a car, you go to the machine, insert a custom coin that allows the machine to pick your car and bring it to the bay, and you drive away. If you don’t trust the giant car tower, Carvana will drop a car off at your front door for you.
This is seriously different than how we bought cars in the past. Gone are the days of the sleazy used car salesman trying to strong-arm you into buying a lemon. No more waiting in the dealership while their finance guy tries to sneak add-on after add-on past you.
Obviously, car vending machines and door-to-door service are an improvement. But how did Carvana get so big, so fast?
They exploited a lack of trust in the market.
No matter who you are or what you’re buying, trust is everything.
Why is trust important? Because people want to believe in what they’re buying. If a CX leader spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new contact center solution, they want to trust that it will do what it’s supposed to do. IT buyers need to trust that they can defend their decisions. They don’t buy something unless you trust that it’s going to help you meet your needs.
IT leaders are foregoing traditional sales reps and turning to self-serve buying practices. This is because, like car salesman, there’s a lack of trust when it comes to sales reps. Unfortunately, though, no matter how much of your own research you do, there will always be a point where you need to start interacting with potential vendors. And that’s where a lack of trust can completely halt your buying process.
What causes a lack of trust?
There are a lot of ways that trust can disappear. Here are some of the most common ones that we see:
- Lack of understanding: If you’re not sure about what you’re buying, you’re not going to trust it will do what you need.
- A product that doesn’t fit: If you don’t believe a product meets your needs, you’re not going to put your trust in it, no matter how much a salesperson pushes.
- Lack of action: If a buyer doesn’t feel like a seller cares about them, they’re not going to trust that the seller understands their needs.
- Too much action: Conversely, if a seller is too pushy, that desperation ruins any trust built up in the buying process.
- An attempt to build up leverage in the buying process: Playing your cards close to your chest can sometimes help you get leverage when buying tech. But it can also cause the other party to stop trusting you.
- The confidence gap: When there’s a lack of communication between two parties, the possible misunderstandings between them grow. And when that misunderstanding grows, trust shrinks.
There’s trust in a product and trust in a person.
Traditionally, salespeople work to build trust in a product. They use demos to show off new features and functionality, tout any new integrations, and share case studies proving the sturdiness of their specific product.
Focusing entirely on the product ignores the person buying or selling it.
A typical telco contract term is three years. That is a long time. When you buy a new solution, you’re not just buying a product. You’re buying a 3-year relationship with a team of people who will suddenly go from complete strangers to being vitally important to your team. You better trust them!
How do you build trust?
It’s not that easy. You can’t just walk into a meeting, follow 7 tips and tricks, and walk out with a new, trusting relationship. Still, here are a few principles that we’ve seen build trust:
- Time: Trust doesn’t develop overnight. Understand that it might take a while before a good relationship develops between you and any vendor.
- Focusing on the people, not the technology: By focusing on the people, you form a lasting relationship, one that is crucial to the buying process. People are more likely to buy from vendors that they trust aren’t trying to rip them off.
- Saying “No” every once in a while: Be honest about limitations. If something isn’t a fit, that’s okay. Be upfront about risks, limitations, and uncertainty.
A third-party helps you build trust in both the product and the person.
A technology partner’s job is to help you buy tech. A third-party can help you validate any concerns or uncertainty about a solution. They can help you design a technical solution that meets your business needs. That’s what a third-party does – you know that. So how can a third-party help build trust in a person?
We view trust as the creation of alignment between us, our clients and the vendors.
Trust is the only thing that matters when it comes to having confidence for a buyer not only when picking a vendor, but also to go back and advocate for a big project. It’s foundational.
Tip: Decide what is your process to validate, assess and quantify trust? Often, it’s an emotional thing, but it needs to be objective.
Working with a good third-party partner is like having a human lie detector on your team.
We are not vendor-agnostic; we are vendor-objective. This means we hold vendors accountable for their actions. If they don’t deliver, we call them out; if they overpromise, we keep them in check. All this ties back to the idea of trust = alignment.
With the power of the channel behind them, third-party partners have knowledge of the products you’re buying and relationships with the teams you’re buying from. A third-party partner can make sure that your needs are being addressed, and that you’re understanding what the vendor is trying to sell you. At the same time, the third-party makes sure the vendor understands you.
Vendors have an incentive to be honest with third-party channel partners. If they’re not honest, the third-party partner won’t work with them on future deals. Think of the third-party partner as an Honesty Speed Check on vendors. By working with a third-party partner, you’re able to immediately trust a vendor.
No matter how you buy tech, you’ll always need to deal with a vendor at some point. Working with a third-party partner you trust means that you can trust in the solution you’re buying.