Business and sales were flowing more freely in our economy before the pandemic. With budgets now under more scrutiny, you’re faced with the task of establishing sales credibility in the post-COVID-19 era. One good way to help your team increase sales is to work on getting referrals.
Research conducted by Rehme and Svensson underscores the need to get a good referral when a business is just starting out. Obtaining that referral gives an organization increased credibility. In addition, potential buyers are reassured that the solution works.
The same advice holds true for sales professionals. Getting that initial referral can be challenging during a crisis like the one we’re in now. Your reps might be hesitant to reach out. After all, if the client’s business isn’t doing well, they might want to cancel their deal with you. While that might be a concern, your reps can score positive results if they reach out in the right way. Before they ask directly for a referral, encourage them to work a little social magic. If they haven’t already connected with employees of existing accounts on sites like LinkedIn, encourage them to do so now.
Your team members can build their credibility by recommending client employees on LinkedIn. Advise your reps to make these recommendations meaningful and based on specific experiences with these employees who work for the client. For example, if an employee was able to earn a promotion, in part due to the use of your product, your sales rep can mention that in a LinkedIn recommendation. Taking this step can increase the bond between your rep and the client. Over time, engaging regularly in giving recommendations will make it easier for reps to ask a client for a recommendation. Keep in mind that customer ratings and reviews on social media influence 42% of buyers when they decide whether they’ll do business with a specific company.
Crafting Online Credibility
Because prospects may be slow in ramping up their buying process, your reps can use this time to increase their online credibility. Our Selling to SMBs survey results show that 26% of buyers review a sales rep’s LinkedIn profile. Work with each of your reps on how to use LinkedIn to their advantage. In addition to regularly monitoring their sites, they should be updating it with newly earned credentials. Remind them to expand their network on a regular basis. And ask them to share posts that would be interesting or valuable to prospects. Reps might find it hard to justify spending time on their LinkedIn profile, but the site’s designers suggest getting creative. “Use the headline field to say a bit more about how you see your role, why you do what you do, and what makes you tick.”
Some reps may want to boost their visibility and reputation even more. Writing and posting articles on LinkedIn can boost credibility with prospects. And these posts will generate more attention when they go live at the right time: Wednesdays between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and noon appear to be peak times for user engagement.
Establishing Sales Credibility in the Post-COVID-19 Era
Each one of your sales reps must invest in their own credibility to contribute to the future of the organization. As your reps reach out in the current economic situation, prospects are looking for ways to reduce risk and uncertainty. Prospects will be assessing your sales reps and your solution before they respond to calls or emails.