New sales reps and the credibility challenge


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How can a new salesperson gain credibility? When we pose this question to sales reps and sales managers, the responses we hear share a common underlying message – get on the customer’s side of the table.

Now this idea is expressed in a variety of forms such as: understand the customer needs, do what you say you are going to do, don’t pretend, or don’t over promise and under deliver. However, the underlying lesson is you must get on their side of the table and convince the customer you know and care about them and can help them go where they want to go.

If you are a brand new sales rep that is a herculean challenge. After all, you just arrived – you don’t know the customers, you have less than a complete understanding of the products, and you are not accomplished in the fundamental skills of selling.

But all isn’t lost on the credibility front: there are two sources of credibility – personal credibility and company credibility.

Personal credibility is limited at first and takes time to build. The good news is new sales reps don’t need to make a big impression immediately. Rather, new sales reps should create a plan that allows them to build their personal credibility over time, avoid the big upfront mistake, and leverage the credibility of the company.

When it comes to avoiding the big mistake and leveraging company credibility, a couple of points to highlight are:

  • Find every human and material resource you can to help you learn about the customers and your products and skillfully leverage them.
  • Find someone who knows how to sell and get them to provide mentoring.
  • Find out about the company’s past successes and translate them into stories you can use – until you develop your own stories.
  • Get a list of the smartest blogs and books on selling and read – you can’t get smart without reading and fortunately today there is a lot of great stuff to read.

Selling is a terrific profession. Unfortunately too many salespeople are lost because at first they don’t succeed. This credibility issue is one of the culprits – perhaps it need not be.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Richard Ruff
For more than 30 years Richard Ruff has worked with the Fortune 1000 to craft sales training programs that make a difference. Working with market leaders Dick has learned that today's great sales force significantly differs from yesterday. So, Sales Momentum offers firms effective sales training programs affordably priced. Dick is the co-author of Parlez-Vous Business, to help sales people have smart business conversations with customers, and the Sales Training Connection.


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