6 Ways for Inside Sales to Build Instant Credibility with Prospects

BY Kathy Crosett
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Do your inside sales know how to build instant credibility with prospects? If not, it’s time to learn. The biggest change many inside sales reps may have noticed since the start of the COVID-​19 pandemic is that prospects are in no hurry to take their calls. With so much downward pressure on revenue, prospects are taking their time when it comes to making a purchase decision. They may also be checking out your reps long before they get a call or an email from your organization. 

Industry Experience and Instant Credibility

Building credibility starts with a personal commitment to positioning. Your reps have committed to selling your solution. Buyers want to know how your reps feel about that solution and what they really know about their business and business category. While prospects are researching possible solutions to problems, they’re checking out various business and customer ratings and reviews on social media (42%). Before they meet with one of your reps, 43% want to know about their years of experience and 34% check out the number of years the rep has in the industry. Prospects will be conducting Google searches and they’ll be checking out your rep’s LinkedIn profile. Advise your reps to have this information prominently displayed on LinkedIn in order to build instant credibility with prospects.

Industry Knowledge

Prospects hope that a rep with several years of experience in an industry will have plenty of knowledge. One way to reinforce that notion is to ask your reps to write articles and post and share them on LinkedIn. Taking that step shows that your reps track critical industry developments. The prospect doesn’t have to guess whether the rep knows what they’re talking about.

Company Research

Did you know that only 52% of sales reps review a prospect’s website as part of their pre-​call research? That’s no way to succeed in business. Coach your reps on how to conduct in-​depth research on the company they want to sell to. Encourage them to dig for little-​known facts about the company that don’t appear on the website. When your rep uses that kind of information in an introductory email, their sales credibility with the prospect will grow.

Shared Connections and Credibility

Another way to appear more credible to a prospect is to tap into shared connections. Advise your reps to review LinkedIn to find out if they share connections with anyone at the prospect’s site. These connections may be an individual they both worked with at past companies. Your reps should take time to understand the nature of the connection. If they’re close enough to one of their contacts to ask about the prospect, they should do so. Getting an introduction from a contact that two people like and admire is a big credibility booster. But reps should be wary of not relying on one contact too heavily, at least not without promising to return the favor of introductions.

Customer Testimonials

Few things impress a prospect more than success stories about businesses that have used your solution to solve a big problem. Using the right testimonial is important. Remind your reps that prospects may not want to read a success story about a company they’re currently in litigation with. In addition, you’ll want to validate testimonials by linking back to the client’s website to assure the prospect that this is a real business. And if your reps use images and videos in the testimonial, they should match the persona of the prospect who will be checking them out. 

Common Ground

As the challenging selling environment continues, your reps need to take advantage of every angle to build instant credibility with prospects. One of these angles is to develop a personal connection with prospects. We are all feeling vulnerable and anxious about the pandemic. Opening a conversation about what’s happening locally in terms of openings and closing because of the pandemic can build a bond with prospects. Conversations that centers on shared interests can serve the same purpose. Your reps can obtain information on a prospect’s personal interests by reviewing their LinkedIn profiles. Let your reps know that this tactic is becoming increasingly important in the sales world. About 83% of high performing reps make it a point to develop connections with prospects on a personal level. Only 67% of underperformers use this tactic.

Build Instant Credibility with Prospects

These days, many outside sales reps have become inside reps. Help them succeed in their new roles by coaching them on 6 ways for inside sales to build instant credibility with prospects.