Sales Credibility Begins With the Right Mindset

BY C. Lee Smith
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If prospects won’t take your calls or answer your emails, you might have a sales credibility problem. Sales credibility is how a prospect sees you before they agree to meet with you. It’s how buyers qualify (and disqualify) sellers. Sales credibility begins with the right mindset of the salesperson. 

To build your credibility, you should be willing to honestly assess your soft skills and work on improving characteristics like empathy and optimism if those are weaknesses for you. In your quest to become a masterful and credible sales professional, you can form alliances with co-​workers who possess the skills you admire. Eventually, your hard work will translate into the demonstrated confidence and credibility that puts prospects at ease. 

Natural Tendencies

Too many reps mistakenly believe they have top-​notch people skills. They’ll brag about their prospecting abilities, but if very few of their prospects become viable leads, the numbers tell the truth: they may not be curious enough, hard-​working enough or listen carefully enough. It all comes down to the right mindset.

There’s another type of number that reveals important truths about sales reps. I’m talking about the results of psychometric assessments which reveal your natural strengths. After taking this kind of assessment, you’ll know if truly rock at problem solving. The assessment results may also show that you’ll have to work hard to excel at another core sales skill such as personal communication. The good news is when you adopt the mindset to work hard and master a specific skill, you’ll appear more credible to your prospects.

Your Online Reputation

 Let’s look at what being masterful during the sales process means. First, you must commit to doing what it takes to succeed. Our research shows over 33% of today’s buyers [hotlink] check out a rep’s social media posts. How does that desire translate into action during the sales process? If you haven’t updated your social pages with evidence of successful work in their industry, they’ll move on to the next seller. The proper mindset in this case means taking the necessary time to craft attention-​getting content that proves your expertise. This action shows you know how to plan and prepare. If you don’t take this step, you won’t have the chance to talk with the prospect on a video call or in person.

Empathy and Authenticity

Like every other sales rep, you’ve got a manager pressuring you to make your numbers. They want to hear about the calls you’ve made and the appointments you’ve set and when that BIG deal is FINALLY going to close. The pressure is all some reps can think about when they get in front of prospects. They start talking about their sales process and their company policies. They forget that the prospect has problems. 57% of buyers want to hear the sales rep’s idea about how to use what they’re selling to solve the prospect’s problem.

Fleishmanhillard’s analysts report that “authenticity is the fundamental alignment of who you claim to be and who you really are. If the two are at odds, no matter who you are, people will be let down or dissatisfied, and you will fall short of expectations.”

When you focus on yourself, you’re displaying the wrong mindset. And you’re losing credibility as someone who truly is wanting and able to help the buyer. Keep the sales conversation on your prospect. Acknowledging their difficulties and echoing how challenging it must be to lose 10% of revenue because the competition is undercutting their price, shows your empathy. At the point, you seem more authentic when you bring up a solution that will help them. 

Belief in Yourself

Positivity and optimism make you more attractive to buyers — especially those who are wrestling with an important problem. What should you do if your assessment results show you’re not a naturally positive person? You don’t have to give up on a career in sales, but you should be mindful of that aspect of your personality. You do not have to be positive to be credible, but SALES credibility requires you to exude a positive attitude. Instead of constantly smiling and being jovial, you can show the right mindset by being polite to the buyer’s support staff and promptly returning calls.

You can also show positivity even when you can’t solve a buyer’s problem. When you’re transparent enough to say your solution isn’t a good match for them, you’ll remain credible in their eyes, especially if you suggest another vendor for them to check out. Taking this step demonstrates true empathy for their situation and shows the right mindset.

Building Alliances

Over time, you may build alliances with other vendors and refer prospects to each other. Building internal alliances is also an effective way to develop your credibility as a sales rep. If, after coaching and practicing, you still struggle to master a specific soft skill, look for an ally in your sales department. You may excel at listening, but maybe you struggle to transform and communicate what you’ve heard into a compelling pitch. In that case, ask a gifted communicator to work with you informally. And don’t forget to reciprocate or offer your talents if another rep needs help when it comes to listening.

Why is this important? Nearly half of buyers, 46%, want to deal with an experienced sales rep. If you lock up when it’s time to make your pitch, your prospects will wonder how much experience you truly have. You can avoid that situation by working with an ally.

Confidence and the Right Mindset

It may take years to develop the kind of confidence you want to possess as a sales rep. The best way to become more confident is to prepare for every prospect and client interaction. When you pay attention to the details and have the answers to obscure questions, people notice. Your thorough understanding of the solution shows prospects you have their best interests in mind.

Confident reps also have role awareness. When you know your purpose and what’s expected of you, managing the entire funnel becomes easier. As time goes on, you will encounter situations that feel familiar. You may not handle these situations perfectly, but you’ll feel more at ease because you’ll realize, “I’ve seen this before.” And you’ll know how to handle it. Frequency builds comfort and comfort builds confidence.

Before you get there, you must build credibility – and it starts by having the right mindset.

Photo by George Milton from Pexels.