Remember that saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression? It is especially true in sales.
For sales professionals, a good first impression can be the gateway to building credibility and forming a relationship with the customer. It is the initial step toward the ultimate goal of exchanging commitments and closing a sale.
However, customers can harbor inaccurate stereotypes about salespeople and, in face-to-face encounters, they often form ideas based on visual cues from things like appearance, facial expressions, body language and diction. Some of these things can’t be controlled, and there are limits to which some others can be.
However, training, experience and good communication skills – over which sales professionals, sales managers and owners exercise significant influence – can boost a salesperson’s credibility, along with things like competence, judgment and likeability.
These skills are key components of expertise. The more expertise the sales person possesses and demonstrates, the greater his or her credibility with the customer.
We have previously discussed in this blog the fact that today’s consumers frequently arrive at a retailer armed with detailed information about a product or service. However, they can sometimes beoverwhelmed by an overabundance of specs on various products. Such a problem creates an opportunity for a salesperson who, more than anything else, provides solutions to the customer’s problems.
Customers can also bring with them memories of past experiences that have made them skeptical of salespeople and sales efforts.
Credibility allows the salesperson to develop a stronger bond and gain a deeper level of trust.
Those salespeople with good communication skills know when to listen attentively and when to speak up with thoughtful, informed recommendations. Customers see these salespeople as more credible than those who don't seem to hear what the customer is saying or those who feel the need to take charge of the conversation.
There is no objective measure of credibility. It is quality perceived by others you encounter and with whom you interact. It comes from a combination of things that allow a salesperson to relate to the customer and become a trusted adviser.
A sales professional who can’t define credibility and its elements for himself or herself will likely have a more difficult time connecting with customers and closing sales.
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