Credibility in Selling

“If our goal is to sell more, we must be valued more and considered as credible, so that when we advance ideas, buyers really listen to us.”

Stop Acting Like a Seller and Start Thinking Like a Buyer: Improve Sales Effectiveness by Helping Customers Buy by Jerry Acuff

There is nothing wrong with wanting to make a sale. There is nothing wrong with focusing on making the sale. The question is, what ‘sale’ should we focus on first?

Wrong product

If you focus on selling your product (or service), you may be headed for no sale. According to Jerry Acuff and many other sales experts, we must be valued and seen as credible before people will listen to us. This is because clients don’t believe what salespeople say, at least in the early stages of the relationship.

Sales trainer, Tom Hopkins, taught me this lesson very early in my sales career: “Whatever you say they doubt. Whatever they say is true”. Tom explained that clients doubt everything salespeople say, because they believe that salespeople can lie to make a sale.

This supports Jerry Acuff’s assertion that before we attempt to sell a product or service, we must be valued and seen as credible. In other words, THIS IS THE FIRST SALE WE MUST MAKE. We must sell ourselves, to the point where we are seen as a valuable and credible resource.

Credibility

In order to be valued, you must give information that the clients value. In order to be seen as credible, you must support what you say with evidence and be willing to present your offering with total truth, omitting nothing that is important to clients’ decision-making process.

Perfection

Many salespeople worry about telling the whole truth. They worry that clients won’t buy if the salesperson reveals a shortcoming in the product or service.

First of all, if the information is sufficient to stop the client from buying, then it is only right that the client be told. But most often, the truth, when told tactfully, does not end a sale. In fact, it can do just the opposite – the truth can cause a sale to occur.

Clients rarely expect any product or service to be perfect. But they want to know just where the product or service may fall short. Sometimes the shortcoming can be a deal breaker, and if it is, so be it. Would you sacrifice your integrity for short term gain? That is indeed a high price to pay.

Since perfection is not expected, telling a client the whole truth about your product cements in client’s mind that you are a person of integrity, that you are credible, and the information you give makes you a valuable resource to them. They trust you.

Values

No decent employer would expect you to lie or distort the truth in order to make a sale. No decent person would compromise their values to make a sale.

Put the client first, ask questions to find out what is important to the client, and truthfully present your product or service, showing where it will do what they want and where it falls short, and you can always take pride in the fact that you sell with integrity.

Truth is not an option. Credibility is not an option. For the professional salesperson, one who is in this career for the long haul, credibility, integrity and honour are non-negotiables.

Gary Pittard
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