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My "Changing a Life" Moment_ATD Moments_Shaundra Williams
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How Credibility Opens Buyers’ Doors for Sales Professionals

Tuesday, September 29, 2020
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What defining characteristic should sales reps possess before buyers will pay attention to what they have to say? Credibility. Potential buyers quickly disqualify reps who lack credibility.

Here are three of the things professionals need to be mindful of when managing their sales credibility:

Reputation Management

Credibility judgment takes place long before buyers agree to connect with a sales rep. That means sales reps must pay attention to their reputations, especially online. The results of our Selling to SMBs survey show that 59 percent of buyers check out salespeople online before they’ll take a call. Buyers review salespeople’s LinkedIn profiles, social media posts, and results listed in a Google search. Reps should actively work on the professional image they project to buyers. Sales managers can help their reps close any credibility gap by coaching them on how to best manage their reputations.

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Providing Relevant Ideas

While reps maintain their professional image, they must also build credibility by offering something of value to their prospects. Buyers have plenty of sellers to choose from. When sellers connect with buyers, they must be ready to impress. Our research shows that 45 percent of buyers expect sales professionals to provide ideas that are relevant to their business. Sales reps won’t know which ideas to suggest if they haven’t researched their target company.

Their research should start with a review of the company’s website. Many reps aren’t doing that. It’s shocking to realize that, per SalesFuel’s Voice of the Sales Rep study from February 2020, only 52 percent of US sales reps review the buyer’s website as part of their pre-call preparation.

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Pre-Call Research

A thorough check of the company’s website will show reps who owns the company, where it’s been, and where it’s going. Analyzing firmographics reveals whether the buyer is a nonprofit company, a publicly traded company, or a division of a conglomerate. These details will help sales reps determine how to approach the buyer.

The products and services page on the website will list the company’s lines of business. With this basic information, sales reps can take the next step, which is to analyze whether the company’s offerings are at the start, middle, or end of their life cycle. Companies launching a new product may be open to investing in solutions to help grow their business.

Sales managers can also train their reps to look for website intelligence about how a company is funded. High-growth organizations that have just received venture capital funds may be willing to pay for a solution that helps them rapidly gain market share. When sales reps possess the kind of intelligence that allows them to propose relevant solutions to their buyers’ problems, their credibility increases. So do their chances of making a sale.

About the Author

C. Lee Smith is the CEO and Founder of SalesFuel, a Columbus, Ohio-based firm that was named one of the Top 10 Sales Enablement Vendors in 2020, and Lee was also named by Selling Power as one of just six Leading Sales Consultants for 2020 worldwide.

He is the author of SalesCred, the definitive book on the #1 problem facing sales teams today: their lack of credibility among buyers. He also has written the Amazon international bestseller Hire Smarter, Sell More!, a book that helps readers increase their bottom line by avoiding toxic employees and identifying and hiring sales rainmakers.

His expertise in remote teams, leadership and coaching, and hiring is enhanced in 2020, with him becoming a Certified Professional Behavior Analyst, Certified Professional Axiologist, and Certified Professional Values Analyst.

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