Credibility is defined as “the quality of being convincing and believable” or “the quality of being trusted and believed in.” Is there anything more important in the world of sales?
I think most of us see credibility as the primary vehicle for building trust in a sales role and it is absolutely essential to consultative or collaborative selling. Very few professional sellers currently carry business cards with a title like “Sales Representative”. They are an associate, a consultant, a business development specialist, or any number of titles designed to do one thing. That one thing is to differentiate them from the “typical salesperson” that has such a poor reputation and very little credibility.
Here are 4 tips for building credibility without changing your job title.
Do what you say- It seems simple enough but, as the saying goes, common sense is seldom common practice. If you say the meeting is at 8am be there 15 minutes early, always! If you say you will do something in terms of follow up then do it and do it quickly. People want to know they can depend on a sales professional and consistently doing what you commit to is very important.
Ask better questions- It is my long held belief that you earn more credibility for the questions you ask than from the answers you give. We have a rule at Sandler Training that states that “A prospect who is listening is no prospect at all. “ In other words, ask better questions and spend 70% of your time listening to the answers!
Do your homework- I was on a sales call with a rep recently who was called out by a prospect for his apparent lack of understanding of the prospect’s business. It takes some extra time but do your homework on the prospect, their business, and their industry. The internet makes it so simple to uncover a wealth of information on people, companies and industries that a lack of knowledge is really inexcusable. Walking into a business and asking “so what do you do here” just doesn’t get it done anymore.
Add value all the time- Social media channels have made it quick and easy to find quality content that will be of interest to your clients or prospects. Connecting on LinkedIn and doing regular updates featuring content that clients will appreciate and is consistent with your brand is a great way to build credibility. Writing or contributing to a company blog is another excellent way to build credibility as a sales professional.