In my article “The Three Keys to Persuasion,” I wrote that credibility is the most important factor your prospects will consider before buying from you. How do you increase your credibility? While there are numerous factors that people will subconsciously consider, here are my top three ways you can immediately increase your sales credibility:
Look after your “cover”
Chris Widener in his program on influence discusses the importance of looking after our outer appearance as salespeople. Contrary to the wisdom “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” people automatically judge us based on our looks. While it isn’t right, it’s true, even in court cases1! It therefore makes sense to be mindful of our “cover.”
Are your clothes appropriate for your audience? While you should generally dress sharply, wearing a tie for sales appointments in Melbourne can be seen as overly-formal! Personally, focusing on building inner character made me uncomfortable investing in branded clothes. However, because of the reality of surface bias, it is imperative for us to invest in our appearance (of course, one can look good without necessarily splurging!). On a side note, do you have impeccable hygiene? Make sure you’re not losing deals because you have bad breath or dandruff (yes, I have met salespeople with these issues)!
Say what you mean, mean what you say
Looking after our appearance will take care of our prospect’s initial thoughts about us, which will then give us an opportunity to present ourselves. It is here that effective communication skills are paramount. The proverb “Say what you mean, mean what you say” essentially boils down to open and honest communication. Salespeople who cannot tell the truth are destined for short and unsuccessful careers.
One of the major reasons salespeople are tempted to lie is because they do not truly believe in their product, themselves, or the value they will bring the prospect. If you are not truly convicted about your offer, you’ll need to either increase your beliefs or find another company to represent. My best suggestion for increasing beliefs is to speak to your top existing clients. See how your product has changed their lives, and then imagine how you can bring that same benefit to your prospects.
Keep your promises
The biggest destroyer of trust is inconsistency. Integrity comes down to this – do what you say you will do! By the way, this counts for little things too – even a small crack can compromise the integrity of a bigger structure. After all, don’t you hate it when a person says they will do something for you and they don’t? Does it irk you when a person arrives late for an appointment? “White lies” can put into question everything else you say.
To increase our sales credibility and ability to persuade, we must look after our appearances, speak authentically, and be consistent. Doing so will increase your trustworthiness, likeability, and sales!
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1 When Emotionality Trumps Reason; Gunnell & Ceci; 2010