Credibility – Can’t Buy It, You’ve Got to Earn it!

Sales Call - CredibilityAbout a year ago we first examined credibility and we will revisit today.  Once you have it, you must protect it by being honest, responsive, and customer focused.  The sales professional must recognize that as hard as it is to get credibility, vigilance must be exercised to keep it.  Read this one and …earn it.


You have managed to get a return call, then an appointment.  Your ultimate goal is a sale, yet the buyer does not know you from “the man on the moon.”  You know that your company is good, your product superlative, and you are a darn good sales professional.  So what is missing?  Sometimes it is credibility.  That bit of assurance that you know what you are talking about, will act in the interest of the customer, and will be there for the tough times.

There Are Some Things Money Can’t Buy

You cannot buy credibility.  It is something that you earn.  It is an aura that will exude from your persona and it will seldom be questioned if you do the right things.  It is impossible for you to claim it.  That label will have to be bestowed on you by the people you sell to and sell for.

Someone has to believe that you are believable, accept your instructions with minimal concerns, and write a check or surrender a charge card without seeing a product in many cases.

Earning Credibility

You make the sales process easier by establishing strong credibility.  Chances are you already have it with some of your customers.  The trick is that you should be able to expect it by all as you work the sale process.  It is something that starts with you, and is enhanced by familiarity if you make every interaction a quality interaction.

Sources of Credibility:

Appearance - Appearance is important.  Dress as a professional.  No one takes a clown seriously, and if you don’t dress properly, they won’t give more than a laugh either.  Always be presentable.  Remember, you represent your organization and yourself…there is no casual day.  Don your uniform, it will keep you in character, and set you apart from those that don’t know the drill.

Be Client Focused – Use every interaction, Meetings and phone to reinforce that you are client focused.  Know your clients needs and anticipate the ones they will need in the future, and exhibit it.  If you take care of your clients, they will take care of your company, and you!

Be Responsive – Do what you say you are going to do, by when you say you are going to do it.  Answer the phone, return phone calls, and be on time for appointments.

Communicate Often and Early – Don’t assume anything and deliver bad news as soon as possible.

Be discreet – Never share customer information with other customers…never.  Once you do, in an effort to drop names or seem important, your customer will assume that you will share information about their operation with others as well.  Your quest will be over before it starts if you do that.

Exhibit integrity - Always tell the truth.  If you don’t know the answers, then admit it.  Always be the corporate citizen that you would like to work with.  No jokes about race, disability, ethnicity or otherwise.

Be an Expert – Always know your own product or service.  Know your customer’s industry

Be a Master of the Sales Process – Know how to probe, support, summarize, and close, and when to do it.  Moving the process along, without heavy pressure helps to create urgency without seeming like a “used car salesperson.”

Always Have References – It gives credibility when you can show who believes in you.  It shows preparedness to have references including phone, address, and titles ready to hand to a customer.  Make sure you have references

Have Proof Sources – It is wise to always have proof sources for the claims of your company’s product.  A buyer/customer will be impressed when you can provide names of customers, especially customers within your prospect’s industry.  Make sure you have permission from those who you will use.

A Real Example

Much business is done over the phone.  As a matter of fact as a result of travel costs and increases in territory many professionals work many states, and numerous customers by phone, they may never see you in person.  I was in charge of an operation and was solicited by a sales professional (I will say that loosely) from a software firm who was selling a prospect management system.  I listened to the sales pitch even though I was not going to make the final decision on a system like that.  The individual then told a joke about marriage that offended me in the way it referred to women.

Was his product good? Was he a product expert? Was he client focused?  The answers to this might have been yes, but I was not going to refer him to our buyer.

The lesson is that not paying attention to several of the items above can remove you from contention as a business partner for an organization.


You have seen most of these items at some point or other in Black Sales Journal posts.  I cannot be more serious about the fact that after you work hard to get credibility, that you can lose it quickly by doing the wrong thing.  Now the best part is that many of you are there already.  You know how hard it was to get the credibility that you deserve.

Your references are in place, and your product knowledge superb.  You have an opportunity to benefit from all of that work.

Always be your best.

Your comments are welcome.

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