Don't Let A Credibility Gap Kill A Sale

BY Jessica Helinski
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Working with a prospect who can’t quite commit? There might be a credibility gap. If this is the case, it’s time to take action to show the prospect that you are both capable and committed to handle their business. 

Credibility is a hot topic in sales these days, and for good reason. According to SalesFuel’s own research, fewer than 1 in 3 consumers find salespeople credible. If you find yourself struggling to close deals, a credibility gap is likely to be the cause. 

What is a credibility gap?

A credibility gap is, essentially, “The space between you and your prospect defined as trust, respect, confidence, knowledge base, rapport and reliability.” As Dean Brior further explains, this gap will evolve throughout your contact with a prospect. Upon first meeting, the gap may be wide, but the more knowledge and value you present, the more credible you appear, lessening the gap. 

But, despite your best efforts, sometimes a gap remains, which creates a roadblock to closing a deal. Fast Company gathered insights from 15 members of its Executive Board to help sellers easily close credibility gaps. 

Set realistic expectations right away

It’s important to be clear about your abilities and what you can do for the prospect from the very beginning. Overpromising is a mistake, no matter how much you want to impress. “Setting realistic expectations is an important aspect of the sales and closing processes,” explains Radd Interactive’s Karolina Hobson. “If you discuss timelines, goals, and ‘measure of success’ expectations ahead of time, it will help with longevity and retention.” This ensures you won’t have to backtrack on any promises made early in the relationship. 

Today’s buyers value honesty and transparency. SalesFuel found that 48% of B2B buyers want to work with a seller who delivers what they promise

Consider using that first meeting to establish expectations. According to the Voice of the Buyer study, during a first call or meeting, buyers most want to discuss their goals and clarify what they hope to achieve. This presents a perfect opportunity to tackle a credibility gap right away and give a buyer what they want.

Show what you’ve done

Don’t simply tell prospects about your achievements and what you can do; show them. Use data, testimonials and other examples of success to demonstrate clear results of your past efforts. 

To really close a credibility gap, try to find success stories from clients who are similar to the prospect. By doing so, you are not only showing your ability to assist with their specific issues, but also you demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of their issues. Sharing success stories with similar industries or businesses shows that you aren’t just offering a one-​size-​fits-​all solution. Paystand’s Jeremy Almond agrees, noting that, “Customers want to feel like their pain points are understood.”

You’ve worked to understand their business and have the knowledge to boost that business. This will definitely resonate with today’s buyers, as 40% say they look to work with companies that have experience with clients in their line of business, according to SalesFuel’s Voice of the Buyer study

Provide free trials or samples

Don’t worry about undermining the value of what you offer; a free trial or sample can give prospects just a taste of what it’s like to work with you. And by doing so, help close a credibility gap.

If you’re not comfortable with doing this, ask to do a walk-​through webinar or sales demo to the prospect so they can get a clearer picture of your product or service. You can effectively do a demo during the discovery process: Just follow these tips. You’ll close the credibility gap by showing the prospect the value you bring to the table. 

Whether you decide to offer a free trial or simply share a quick video demo, you give prospects the ability to see your offering first-​hand and in action. You’ll close the credibility gap by showing the prospect the value you bring to the table and how your solution specifically aligns with their pain points.

Credibility is the master key

Without establishing credibility, sellers won’t succeed with today’s buyers. “Credibility is the master key that unlocks the sales process,” says SalesFuel CEO C.Lee Smith. “Every stage, whether it be connecting, discovery, solving, or closing, becomes much easier when your prospect perceives you as credible. Without credibility, your ability to close the sale can disappear in an instant.”

Make sure you are aware of a possible credibility gap with each prospect and follow these actionable steps to get it closed and move forward toward a sale. 

Photo by Cytonn Photography from Pexels