How To Elevate Your Credibility In Sales

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

WinnerWe are supposedly exposed to over 5,000 marketing, advertising and other types of messages each day.

Personally, I think it’s a lot more, especially when you think of how many emails we get!

What does this mean to a hard-working, stress-induced salesperson?

Well, it could mean that when you approach any new prospect, you are fighting ever harder to even get attention against the background of a plethora of other screaming demands.

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What then can you do to get attention and establish credibility with your prospective customer?

OK, what would make YOU sit up and take notice?

Psychologists have studies this for some time now, and it seems to boil down to around three components that make a real difference to gaining someone’s attention.

These three are classed as Trustworthiness, Expertise and Similarity

Firstly there’s Trustworthiness

How do you build trust with anyone? It is based on what people believe your intentions are. Other people want to know why you are taking the particular position you are.

There are two elements that make up the building of trust. The first is ‘knowledge bias’, that is, if the other person thinks your position or job role prevents you from being objective with them, they will not trust your motives. That’s why it’s good to have testimonials or references from people who have used your services previously.

If these comments are on video on your website; even better. People are then able to see the results of your services even before they see you.

Building trust is vital in getting attention. Could you send proof of what results you could achieve before you even sit in front of your prospect? That will intrigue and challenge their idea of ‘knowledge bias’.

The second component that builds trust is ‘intention bias’. If people think you’re just saying something to impress them, or saying what they want to hear, you lose their confidence in your intentions. You can overcome this by talking about the prospect’s business and not putting any emphasis on your products until you have established trust in you overall motives.

Secondly, Expertise.

How have you demonstrated your experience, before you meet the prospect?

You could forward details of your LinkedIn page, making sure it’s up-to-date with relevant, interesting and creative ways to demonstrate your expertise.

If you have specific industry experience that would be of value to the prospect, you can send your biography to them before meeting, so they see how your expertise would benefit their business.

What successes have you had with your products and services that would impress new prospects? If you could let them know about those results, you build credibility before even meeting up.

Ensure any expertise you show is relevant to the specific customer you’re meeting; saying you’ve worked in the banking industry for 15 years to impress them with your financial awareness, when the prospect is only interested in whether the product will last a long time, is missing the point entirely.

Finally, Similarity.

Another way to make your prospect sit up is to show how much like them you are. People tend to pay more attention to people who are like them.

This likeability factor cannot be understated. If your ideals, values, principles, standards and approach are similar to the other person’s, you give subliminal reasons why they should agree to your suggestions and recommendations.

Dress according to the guidelines given by the prospect before meeting them. Watch for any interests the prospect has that you could ask more questions about. Show interest in what is important to them. Listen effectively so their needs are clearer to you.

Doing these simple things will create good rapport and links between you. You’ll find it easier to understand their needs and support their goals if you find those ‘similarity bonds’

These three ideas (Trustworthiness, Expertise and Similarity) will help you build the foundation of a good relationship with the prospect and increase the likelihood they will sit up and take notice of you.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Dollarphotoclub

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 22 December, 2015

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