Getting appointments was becoming harder for this team at, let’s call them, TRUCorp. It was tougher than ever to get appointments with potential clients and more often clients even avoided appointments. If they happened the team were often lucky to just get a renewal. But mostly they came away with less than before.

This organisation operates in a fast-changing environment. Until about 20 years ago it had been very stable, but now change is rapid, categories converge, new competitors pop up.

And it was not that TRUCorp didn’t have an offer that was up to date either. So we workshopped with the team and analysed around Hutrust, the trust drivers and inhibitors. This was a rather revealing and in some respects a confronting exercise. But in the end we had worked out that trust in the future development, TRUCorp’s ability to lead, was a key issue.

Why would I spend time with one of them if I feel their competitors will be more relevant in the future? Why would I spend even an hour with them? Easier to get them to send me their info and then disregard it. Easier to just renew and spend my time looking for better offers for the future. Easier to delegate meetings to my juniors and not waste my time. Better to decrease my spend with them and start trialling others coming up.

There are many industries like that. Think of Apple in the mid 1990s. Think how mobile telephony killed landlines, how Nokia overtook Motorola just to be kicked out by Samsung and Apple. Energy, media, TVs, lighting…. there are many examples.

So we workshopped what equity and what proofpoints we have that would help our customers trust us to develop well and be successful, if not lead, in the future. After some probing, one participant pointed to a key strategic partnership. Flippantly we challenged the team whether mentioning the partnership would indeed drive trust up. Everyone agreed it didn’t, but then we used our ‘right to wow’ tool and explored what is was about that partnership that could make customers feel they can trust us to be and stay successful.  

When we were done with the exercise we had defined one key sentence everyone agreed would shift our development trust from an estimated 4 or 5 to an 8 out of 10. The team immediately started to trial the sentence in their emails and call to set up appointments and increased their success rate significantly. Beyond that, they reported the meeting mood and conversations changed positively with customers being very interested and asking lots of questions – and, ultimately, retaining their spending or increasing it. In one case by 500% within 4 weeks. Having the ability to  pinpoint trust opportunities precisely and seizing them is a small effort for a big change.