Building Credibility Into Your Sales Process
If you have ever felt outsold, this may help you. In sales we all commit to follow our sales process, and we try to build relationships with our buyers hoping the outcome will be a favorable buying decision. Unfortunately, so often overlooked is the importance of establishing credibility with the buyer. It is what creates that critical level of trust necessary for a buyer to change products, vendors or even partners.
Establishing credibility with your buyers is a powerful advantage. When used properly it can be the driver for taking business away from the market leader, give a new customer the confidence to pay more for your product or service, and even cause an unhappy customer to renew with your company for a few more years.
There are three critical ways you need to establish credibility with your buyers as you work them though your sales process:
First you need to establish your personal credibility with your target audience. When we start working with salespeople, most perceive this to mean they need to know everything about their own product or service. On the contrary, building personal credibility means asking the questions that lead to a better understanding of how using your product or service makes them successful. In other words, what are they trying to accomplish by using your product or service? Additional credibility can be gained by demonstrating a clear understanding of the industry you are selling to, and which companies are the market leaders. If sales is a competition, you should have some awareness and understanding of who you are competing against. Lastly, demonstrating how your product or service improves the buyers’ customer or user experience can give you a competitive advantage and move the buying decision in your favor.
Next, you need to establish your company’s credibility in being able to solve your buyer’s problem or satisfy their needs. This is done by establishing your company’s ability to produce the capabilities required to help achieve their goals. There are many ways you can establish this. Start with the domain expertise your leadership team brings to tackle the problem at hand? From there, you can mention your company’s track record of success in providing solutions for you buyers. Your company’s age and time in the market can prove credible, as can an attractive customer base. Ultimately, there isn’t anything better than referenceable customers using your product or service.
The third type is product credibility, and it is last for a reason. If you haven’t successfully established personal and company credibility first, it won’t make much difference. Your sale is dead, only you don’t know it. Once you have established the first two levels of credibility, to seal the deal it’s important to demonstrate that you can deliver on the capabilities you’ve outlined during the sales process. This final step presents a ‘Catch-22’ in the sales process – lead with it and you miss losing the sale by focusing on your product features before you build confidence in your sales target about who you are and who you represent. But forget about it in the closing process and you’re likely to lose the sale to a competitor who can.
Regardless of the ingenuity of your product features, the compelling nature of your company’s success stories or your personal understanding of the market, the success of your sale is linked to how well you build credibility with your target. To outsell your competition, focus on winning the sale on these three important fronts and you’ll see a measure difference in your results this year. In the end, the buying decision is made in favor of who the buyer trusts can deliver on their statements and promises.