It doesn’t matter whether you’re starting your career or if you’ve been in the business for a long time: credibility is everything when it comes to sales. As the job entails dealing directly with people every day, often one-on-one, you must make sure your clients feel they can trust you.
Working on credibility requires effort and attention to detail. A slip could make or break you. But don’t worry! You should see every step of the process as a chance to prove you’re trustworthy, and there are many, many ways to do so.
1. Body language
Even before speaking, you can say a lot. Be mindful of your posture and of how you express yourself physically. Crossing your arms? It’ll seem rather unfriendly. Eye contact? Perfect, it shows you’re paying attention to what they’re saying (no need for intense eye contact, though…). Reading about body language couldn’t hurt, and knowing the basic stuff will help you more than you think.
2. Watch your language!
Now, it should go without saying that it is best to avoid cursing and swearing altogether, as it is quite unprofessional. However, this advice doesn’t just apply for curse words, but grammar in general. A HubSpot survey revealed that 40% of people were bothered by bad grammar. Additionally, Kyle Wiens, CEO of IFixit, said he only hires candidates with proper grammar knowledge, as he believes it shows attention to detail. If you want to make a good impression and be successful in your sales career, knowing proper grammar should be a priority.
3. Be authentic/genuine.
People can often tell when someone is lying to them just from small gestures and expressions. And even if they can’t tell you’re lying, more often than not, clients will do their research before talking to you and have the facts. Don’t try to be something you’re not or lie your way into a client’s approval, it will either be obvious that you’re lying right away or even worse, things will fall apart when they realize they were lied to.
4. Be punctual.
It might seem like a small detail, but it can actually make quite a difference. Being on time is not just about making an effort and being there when you said you would. It also shows that you don’t want to waste the client’s time.
5. Be informed and ready.
Showing up without knowing the facts won’t count for much. Make sure to research as much as you can before meeting with a client or making a pitch. The more you can answer and anticipate what you’ll need to discuss, the better. That is not to say you should have all the answers. It’s okay to admit when you don’t know something, in which case it’s best to say you’ll get back to them. But you can’t answer every question with an “I’ll get back to you,” now, can you?
6. Be resourceful and helpful.
Do not be afraid to go a little beyond the scope of your job to help out. After all, you are supposed to know more about the business than the client. Be like a “guide” on this journey to them and give tips, advice, contacts, or any extra information they might need. Answer as many questions as you can, and they’ll be sure to recognize how helpful you’ve been. Going that extra mile can make you stand out!
7. Deliver on promises.
This is another one of the reasons not to lie, as mentioned in tip 3. Do not promise what you can’t give them, and avoid backing out of what you’ve already promised. Both will make you seem unprepared, unfit, or like you do not know what you are talking about. Be careful with what you guarantee you can deliver, and keep track of everything you said you would do to make sure you follow through.
8. Be understanding.
It’s important to understand that issues come up, and to be as patient as possible. Remember to see them not just as clients, but as people that have challenges that might make things not go as smoothly as you would have hoped. Expect misunderstandings, many questions, and doubts. They just want to make sure they are making the right choice, and that’s where you come in.
9. “Borrow” credibility.
Even if you follow all of these tips, there is one more way to make you seem even more reliable. Try to mention the company you work for before a pitch or when introducing yourself. People will associate the company’s reputation with you if you mention them. It also wouldn’t hurt to mention success statistics, not just in person, but on your resume, website, and wherever potential clients might see it.
10. Be mindful of your reputation.
Remember: your reputation precedes you. It’s important to know how people are perceiving you so you’ll really know your strengths and weaknesses. See this is a way to improve your performance, as you might not be aware of some of the things people point out. Try to find out what people’s opinions are of you – read up reviews on your performance, send feedback surveys to clients, and use all the tools available!
The core concept behind every tip on this list is to focus on the client and how they see you. Being polite and considerate should be the starting point of any client relationship, and thinking of their needs and concerns should be like a reflex to a salesperson. The saying “the client is always right” should certainly be inspirational as you work together to come up with the best solutions for each specific client’s needs.