Yesterday I had a sales call; a sales call where I was the customer. I had asked for the meeting because I wanted to buy the product. Easy sale as we say for the sales professional. All she had to do was not screw it up, and she would close the deal. Sounds simple right? I mean, who can’t close a sale for a customer who is ready to buy?
Well, not so fast! Not screwing up a sales call, even for a customer that is ready to buy, is a little more complicated then you think. We are living in a marketplace where you can’t sell the product unless you sell yourself first.
Now I know that sounds cliché, but it’s true. There is not a product or service that you sell that your customers can’t sell, won’t sell or couldn’t sell. So, finding the product is easy for a customer, finding someone to buy from whom they like – well that’s another story.
“Credibility is defined as the quality of being trusted and believed in.”
Customers want to buy from people they know, like, and trust. In other words, sales professionals with credibility, which means being believable, convincing, and someone they can trust. This is a crucial first step in the sales process.
If customers believe in you, they will buy from you, not one time, but for a lifetime — the goal of any sales professional – building relationships for the long-term.
Do you have credibility?
So, if credibility is so important, why do we struggle to build it? I believe there are two main reasons we, as sales professionals, struggle to build credibility:
- First, I think it is because, as sales professionals, we have never really been taught to develop it. We treat building credibility like a step in the sales process as if we do x customers will believe in us. When credibility is not a step, it is an actual emotional exchange between you and the customer, and it matters because it is the point at which the customer is deciding if this is the person they want to buy from – not only once, but for life.
- Second, it is because we combine the steps of credibility, rapport building, and discovery into one step, without understanding the power in each of building trust with customers.
- The step of credibility is about getting the customer to trust us
- The step of rapport building is getting the customer to like us
- The step of discovery is about finding how we can add value
So for those steps to work, you must do them in order – building credibility first.
Get the step of building credibility right, and you have not only made one sale, but you have opened the door for a long-term relationship. You are making the rest of the sales process, including standing out from your competition so much easier.
So how do you build credibility, and how do you build it fast?
4 Strategies To Build Credibility
- Be Present – first and foremost, be present. When you make a sales call, you need to be in the moment. Not thinking about what you are going to ask next, what product you are going to sell, or daydreaming about anything. It would be best if you were 100-percent focused on your customer. They can feel if you’re listening and if you’re paying attention. Being present ensures that when it is your turn to talk, you can reference what they said, and what they talked about. Thus ensuring to them that they were heard.
- Body Language – we communicate with so much more than our words. Experts say our words account for something seven percent of communication. (http://www.bodylanguageexpert.co.uk/communication-what-percentage-body-language.html) We tell people who we are by our body language, tone of our voice, the expression on our face and the list goes on. The more we pay attention to how our customers communicate, and we work to communicate in a style that is comfortable for them, the more credible we will need.
- Urgent Need – focus on what is most important to your customer first. All too often, sales professionals have the answer, the right solution. The problem with that, is even if it is a perfect idea; it most likely does not solve the problem that is most urgent to your customer. As sales professionals, we need to listen to what our customers are most worried about, excited for, or ready to take action on before we bring up our ideas and solutions. They can’t hear us until we ensure them we have listened to what they have said.
- Take action – and last but not least, we need to take action – act on what we said we are going to do. Building credibility happens quickly when customers can believe that our actions match our words.
If you are looking for ways to differentiate yourself in today’s marketplace, and I know that you are, then focus on building credibility. Follow these strategies to open more doors and put yourself in a position to succeed, no matter what this marketplace does! Here are more ideas on getting across the finish line, check out this article http://meridithelliottpowell.com/close-the-sale/
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