You’re stranded on an island with 20 strangers. The group is holding a vote to decide who will be the leader.
Everyone agrees the leader should be trustworthy, but unfortunately, profession is all you have to go on.
Whom do you vote for?
The professional musician
The sales rep
Got your order? Good.
I’m willing to bet you came up with the doctor, the accountant, the musician, and the sales rep -- in that order. That’s because according to a new survey from HubSpot Research, only a mere 3% of people consider salespeople to be trustworthy. Meanwhile, 49% trust doctors, 12% trust accountants, and 10% trust professional musicians.
On the bright side, being aware of this not-so-stellar reputation gives you an opportunity to fix it. Check out three credibility-boosting strategies to integrate into your sales approach.
1) Do your research.
Delivering a boilerplate pitch tells your prospect you’re more interested in making money than finding the best solution for their unique needs. Any trust the prospect had to begin with will vanish immediately -- and recovering it will be almost impossible.
So, make sure you’re reaching out to buyers you’ve researched and pre-qualified to some extent. Presenting a customized and personalized value proposition will show the person on the other end of the line (or email) that you’re serious about helping them, rather than just earning a commission check.
2) Use the right body language.
Sales reps are always thinking about improving their verbal communication, but don’t forget that mastering your non-verbal communication is crucial too. After all, body language has a huge impact on how the prospect perceives you.
Boost your credibility by leaning in, smiling and nodding, and maintaining good posture. Even if you’re talking to a prospect over the phone, purposeful body language will help you sound more assured and positive.
You should also watch out for physical gestures that might be turning prospects off. Maybe you drum your fingers on the table to get rid of nervous energy -- but to buyers, it looks like you’re impatient or annoyed. Or perhaps you cross your arms whenever you’re thinking -- but it comes across as defensiveness.
To get an objective opinion of your body language, ask your fellow reps and/or your manager if you can present to them. Ask them to keep an eye out for effective and ineffective gestures, facial expressions, and postures.
3) Be helpful.
Freely giving out information and advice is a great way to build trust. Establish credibility by posting handy tips in your prospects’ LinkedIn groups, sharing articles on social media, and blogging -- either on a personal site, or your company’s blog. If a prospect has seen any of your content before the first contact, he or she will automatically trust you more.
Not a writer? No problem. You don’t need to be the person who created the content to pass it along. Find content that’s relevant to your prospect from thought leaders in your space, and share away. Here’s a handy guide to what content you should send prospects and when.
When it comes to stranded-on-an-island elections, the doctor will probably always beat the sales rep. However, these three techniques will help you secure the trust you need to close deals -- and that’s better than running an island, anyway.
Originally published Apr 29, 2016 12:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017