Salespeople sometimes get a bad rap. Some may think they are just out to make a quick sale. Even if the salesperson has a truly valuable solution to a client’s problem, some people aren’t interested in hearing the conversation. To overcome these barriers, salespeople must develop new ways to build trust.

Kurt Sima, VP and senior consultant for The Center for Sales Strategy, says that sales reps should aim to close the credibility gap by building trust at the beginning of the sales process. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discuss Sima’s eight simple concepts that sales reps can use to establish credibility and differentiate themselves from other salespeople.

  1. Useful knowledge. Before you contact a prospect, know what’s going on in their world. Browse their website, review their social media, and if possible, drive by their facility or storefront. Sima says business insight goes a long way at establishing credibility.
  2. Empathy. Everyone can use an extra helping of empathy these days. Use what you learned in your research from step No. 1 to understand what the prospect is dealing with. Then, strive to relate to the problem or desired business result.
  3. Expertise. The best salespeople are adept at solving problems. To set yourself apart in sales, you must be ready to share client success stories. Tell prospects about a problem you uncovered, how you worked during the sales process to solve the problem, and how the plan delivered the desired results.
  4. Ability to problem solve. Give a real-world example of how you developed a solution for one of your customers. It gives your prospect a way to relate to you while showcasing your problem-solving abilities.
  5. Referrals. When you want to land a meeting with a new prospect, a solid referral goes a long way. The best salespeople use referrals regularly to get valuable introductions.
  6. Thought leadership. If you have accrued experience working in sales, you have expertise to share with others. Demonstrate your thought leadership by contributing comments on articles or social media posts. You could also showcase your thought leadership by writing and publishing blog posts.
  7. Personal branding. Sima says sales professionals should always use LinkedIn. The social networking platform continues to dominate B2B marketing. He suggests using it to create and feature elements from a thought leadership post.
  8. Social media. To stand out as a sales professional, think about how you use social media. Sima suggests using social media outlets to network, build connections and share success stories.

To set more appointments, professionals must first gain their prospects’ trust. This starts by bridging the credibility gap. When you think about how you can improve on the eight points above, you help set yourself apart as a valuable partner for your clients and prospects.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Kurt Sima is VP and senior consultant for The Center for Sales Strategy. Sima implements management and sales systems designed to drive sales revenue by improving salespeople’s focus and expertise, while increasing their sales activity and accountability.