Why ‘Saying’ And ‘Being Believed’ Are Two Different Things

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Saleswoman shaking hands with clientWhen I was growing up, my uncle had some ideas that, in this modern world, would seem laughable.

Yet, in those days, we had no social media and a mobile phone was a brick attached to a 16lb battery!

Yes, things were a little different then.

One of my uncle’s ideas was that ‘if it’s in the paper, it’s true’.

Journalists were lauded for having all the background knowledge and wisdom so that everything that came out of their mouths was deemed to be correct and wise.

He would give a fact and say it was true because ‘I read it in the paper’.

We, and our clients, are a bit savvier these days and understand that people’s agendas and programmes may be a little biased or subjective to certain uncollaborated concepts.

Take a situation where you are in front of a client or prospect.

They may ask you what makes your product or company better than someone else. Where do you start?

You may start with some facts to back up your credentials.

It may cover ideas like the quality of your products, the awards you have won, the number of clients who use you, and similar ‘pitches’.

But where you should start is with the concept of ‘believability’.

Believability revolves around the trust you have built up with someone, and how much conviction and confidence that person has in you.

If you met someone for the first time, and didn’t know anything about them, what would be your initial, subliminal reaction if they said ‘just trust me’?

Well, depending on how trusting you are of people, built on your experience and conditioning, you may give the person the benefit of the doubt, or you may surmise that you need to prove trustworthy before I offer you that trust.

This revolves around ‘Credibility’, which comprises the objective and subjective components of the believability of a source or message.

Credibility has two key components: trustworthiness and expertise, which both have objective and subjective components.

The objectivity comes from the facts and figures the person gives; subjectivity comes from the emotional connection you have built up with the person.

In these days of ‘false news’ we often default back to ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ so we don’t feel duped or look foolish.

Gone are the days when our customers’ naivety would carry us through to a sale.

Thinking back to that concept of ‘credibility’, those two components of trustworthiness and expertise have to be built over a medium to long-term basis.

How do you build it early in a conversation?

Well, let’s return to our prospect’s earlier question; what makes your product or company better than someone else?

Your first idea should be to give the prospect confidence in you.

Just ‘saying’ you’re better doesn’t make it so.

Ways to give that confidence to a prospect could revolve around:

  • Showing the results you have obtained with previous clients
  • Sharing your recommendations on LinkedIn
  • Getting third-party testimonials for your services
  • Sending them industry articles you have written that share your expertise
  • Offering guarantees that build confidence in the quality of your products

As we said many times, people don’t buy your products; they buy the results those products will bring to their companies or themselves.

So, by simply ‘saying’ your products are better, you miss the whole point of today’s purpose in selling your stuff; to change the future of the people you sell to.

The credibility you need today is built on laying the foundations of trust before you talk about your products.

What you sell should be superseded by the overall results your customers obtain with your services.

Build believability, credibility, trustworthiness and expertise BEFORE you try discussing your products and services.

That way, you’ll see a marked difference in the way your prospects view you as a sales consultant.

My uncle, bless him, read the papers with blind faith that everything written was wise and true.

Build your reputation with prospects, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t think the same of you.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 10 October, 2018

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