The Importance of Credibility

What is the importance of credibility? I have asked this of sales teams many times over the past 15+ years, curious as to their take but knowing full well how most will answer. And they almost always answer it the way I expect. What is more important on a call, having real in-depth product knowledge or the perception that you do? What do you think? If you are like most people I ask, they answer that having in depth and solid product knowledge is the most important.

If you agree it is product knowledge, I think you are wrong. Wait, I thought that was one of the 4 pillars of sales Success that Acquirent was built on? This is true, but I contend that if your prospect does not see you as credible and perceive you have product knowledge, it makes no difference how much you have, they will not listen to or trust what you say.

So how do you build up credibility early in the call so that a prospect can perceive you are an expert? Here are a few tips that have worked over the years for me and our teams on various accounts selling into all types of target companies:

  • Start your conversation with a value statement that creates FUD. Fear Uncertainty and Doubt are a sales person’s best friends. If you can shake a prospect off their guard early, they will be more likely to pay attention and listen to you. Once you have them listening though the job is not done
  • Ask a pertinent question impacting their specific business. Once your FUD statement has them on their heels, you need to follow it up with a question that is relevant to them and or their business. Open ended discovery questions that exhibit your knowledge of their industry and business will start to immediately create credibility in you.
  • Understand pain points in their industry – There are dozens of sources and methods today for sales people to keep up with developing industry updates and advances. Stay attuned not just for your product and or industry sector but that of your prospects. If you sell to pizza places and the price of pepperoni is skyrocketing as the cost of pork goes up because corn is scarce, know that and use it on your calls.
  • Localize your information and be specific. If you are calling Dallas, Texas and 300,000 people are without power because a storm just blew through the day before, know that, use it and if your product is used in emergency situations like that leverage it. Whatever the issue or item, have local knowledge of the area around your prospect, you never know when and how you will use it on a call.
  • Have product knowledge and detailed specifics on your tongue. OK, I said perception and credibility are more important but also agree with my teams who say product knowledge is the more important of the two. Why? Because it is the foundation for creating a perception of your expertise. In this case, the one cannot exist without the other.

In the end it is true people buy from people they like. This is even true in B2B sales so creating rapport is important (good news for everyone who got into sales because their friends say they are a good people person). But empty rapport alone will not make you a great sales person. Why prospects like you can be a key differentiator. If you are the product and industry expert, trusted advisor for their business need and reliable contact you can be liked and perceived as someone to do business with.[/fusion_text][/fullwidth]