Many sales reps fail to sell to their prospects not because their product or service is despicable, but fundamentally because they were unable to establish their credibility to their prospects. Trust is a crucial component of every transaction – most especially for sales reps.
To successfully sell your prospect, your potential buyer needs to be appreciably convinced of your capacity to help them. He needs to trust that you genuinely want to improve him – and more than just your goodwill, you have the means to help him practically.
It is even harder to establish your credibility in the eyes of your prospect because today’s society is swarming with distrust and skepticism. The previous generation was a society built on trust – this is why you notice our parents tend to be more trusting compared to us today.
To put it in perspective, the enormous tendency of seniors to trust can be best appreciated when you reckon that American seniors lose up to $36m annually to financial fraud.
Today, the average buyer or prospect is on the defensive. You approach them and from a distance (when they see you coming), they are already worried you are coming for their money. Hence, they quickly prepare a wall of objection, generating a multitude of reasons why they wouldn’t want to buy from you.
However, the good news is that with a masterful consolidation of your credibility, the walls come crashing down, and there you are with a previously apathetic prospect transformed to an eager buyer.
The bigger question now is, “how do I get my customer to trust me? How can I establish credibility quickly in my sales pitch?”
1. Maximize your success stories
People love proof – and you wouldn’t blame them. This is why customers are naturally keen on your portfolio in terms of previous testimonials. How many customers have your product worked for before?
It is even more beautiful if your prospect is acquainted with any of your previous happy customers. I always advocate that sales reps tell their prospects about who else they have served in that neighborhood.
This is a necessary form of social proof. When the prospect knows someone you have worked with before, it automatically transports you from the realm of being that total stranger or desperate sales rep to someone who can genuinely help them.
It is crucial when sharing your success stories to be as honest as possible. Your testimonials must be rid of any bit of exaggeration. It would be an enormous deal-breaker for your prospects to discover that you lied when they go and verify your claims. That way, you are never getting their trust for sure.
2. Show you know what you are talking about
Aside from using your customer success stories, there is no way you appear credible to your prospect if you sound like an amateur at what you sell.
For your buyer to be convinced enough to give you his hard-earned dollars, he must be adequately convinced that you are an expert – or reasonably grounded – in what you are pitching him.
This is why you should strive to present yourself as a subject matter expert in your conversation with your buyer. No, this doesn’t involve bombarding him with some technical jargon. You definitely don’t want to confuse him, and he wouldn’t be buying that way.
Pass your adept knowledge as simply as you can to him. Spruce your pitch with some critical statistics, research data, or topnotch experts’ quotes that show your impressive insider knowledge.
If they already have existing alternatives to your product, expertly show them your product’s comparative advantage over what they are using now. This advantage could be reduced cost or even enhanced functionality.
3. Never appear desperate
I don’t know about you, but I am never going to buy from a desperate seller. Of course, I will get suspicious if you appear in a hurry to get me to pay immediately.
In my mind, I would be like, “why is he so much in a hurry to get me to pay and jump off?…is there something I don’t know about this product he is scared I may learn?…is he trying to overwhelm me?”
If you must show a sense of urgency, you must be calm and calculated about it. NEVER PRESSURE YOUR PROSPECT.
For me, when the product is more expensive, say you are selling your prospect a luxury product or technical product like solar service, after my initial explanation, I would tell him to go and do more research to confirm what I am telling him. I would even offer to give him more study materials to satiate his curiosity.
This way, I am showing him that I am not in a hurry to pocket his dollars. I am showing him that I am patient enough to wait for him to make the best decision for himself.
Lastly, you could offer your prospect a money-back guarantee or even a free trial to get him confident about the genuineness of your offer. This way, you appear way more credible!
Keep your solutions FRESH
The chances are high that you are not the first sales rep approaching that prospect. There is a robust probability two or more reps have been before you – whom the prospect possibly turned down.
That is why you don’t want to throw mundane and readily available solutions at the prospect’s face. Furnish your potential buyer with FRESH solutions. Address their pain points in new and innovative ways your competitors have not fathomed. And when you manage to secure the contract, BEAT YOUR CUSTOMER’S EXPECTATION. This way, you create a potentially viable source of referrals that would fill up your pipeline. This is not bad for business, is it?
I am Michael D. Brown, CEO of Fresh Results Institute and renowned author of Fresh Passion: Get a Brand or Die a Generic. I am a Global Management expert known for driving results through (and with) top-level CEOs, multinationals, and academia.