Establishing sales authority with a prospect drives a seller’s chance of making the sale. With sales authority comes the trust and credibility needed to convince the buyer that the solution, and the seller, are the best choice. But building this authority isn’t always easy, especially with today’s more skeptical buyers.
Why does sales authority matter?
There are many essential elements that combine to create a successful buyer-seller relationship, and authority may be the most important. It inspires trust, credibility and reliability – all of which are necessary to close a deal.
“As a sales professional, you need to act as a reliable resource who can consistently and effectively educate a prospect throughout a sale,” explains Dan Tyre, director of sales at HubSpot. “That ‘educational’ element rests on your ability to frame yourself as a diligent, organized professional with extensive expertise.”
The more you can project authority, the more you’ll inspire other necessary elements, like trust, in a prospect.
How sellers can demonstrate authority in sales
It’s important to project authority during each interaction, so kick off every call with an agenda and a question. Tyre recommends creating a loose agenda for each meeting and sharing it beforehand. Remember, as he points out, projecting authority isn’t the same as steamrolling, so don’t miss opportunities for collaboration. Being an authority, while keeping you in control, doesn’t mean you turn your back on being consultative.
Once the call begins, lead with questions that demonstrate the knowledge you’ve gathered on them but that you’re curious to learn more. Tyre recommends asking questions like:
- “How's everything going [in relation to discussed goals or plans]?”
- “When we last spoke, we discussed X and decided on Y. Does Y still make sense?”
- “Before we get started today, is there anything you think I should know?”
Taking control of the conversation will help establish sales authority and ensure you and the prospect are on the same page before progressing.
Share your knowledge and experience
Make it a priority to demonstrate how your knowledge and experiences qualify you as the best choice for the prospect. As Tyre notes, “Authority comes from experience, and projecting the former is often a matter of demonstrating the latter. Your track record won't speak for itself — you need to know how to speak for it.”
While you don’t want to come across as arrogant, it’s important to nurture credibility by taking opportunities to share expertise. You can do so by:
- Sharing value-based stories. Use storytelling to show how similar clients have achieved success with you. According to SalesFuel, “Successful stories will highlight challenges that are plaguing the prospect [and] show how you addressed those problems in the past. This is what will add value to the story, which is key.”
- Highlight testimonials. Hearing about your success from others can be powerful, so make sure you aren’t shy about sharing testimonials. For even more impact, try to share testimonials that specifically align with a prospect’s buyer persona.
- Discuss case studies. Find opportunities, whether during a demo or a regular call, to highlight case studies. “Hearing a convincing pitch is one thing, but seeing how a product or service works in the real world goes a long way to stripping objections and building trust in your brand,” writes Scott Barker for GTMnow.
These are just a couple of ways that a seller can demonstrate their sales authority. By taking the time to showcase your authority, you can make it easier to build trust and credibility with buyers. Combined then with the rapport you’ve built, you'll make you and your solution the logical choice for prospects.
Photo by Anna Shvets