Customer satisfaction – a crucial and interesting topic. Over the years we’ve surveyed hundreds of potential buyers across industries in the B2B market space. One of the questions we ask is: What are the characteristics of the most successful sales reps who call on you?
As one might suspect product knowledge usually appears high on the list. But what we find most interesting are two other responses that have nothing to do with the products or services being sold. Both deal with personal credibility – being responsive to my needs, and doing what they say they were going to do.
It’s clear that in B2B sales, corporate credibility is important, but so is personal credibility. In the medical devices market, for example, we hear docs say that one of the reasons they use a particular device is because they like the sales rep or they use a device because the sales rep is always there for them. While medical device sale is no longer strictly determined by physician preference, physician input is still critical to medical device adoption decisions.
The medical device market isn’t alone. In IT, for example a company may select one vendor over another because of the service provided by the sales rep and the support team. Similar stories can also be heard in the manufacturing and financial market spaces.
As an important aside, personal credibility is not one of those characteristics that one either has or they don’t. There are a set of skills and best practices that can be learned that will help sales reps do a better job in developing personal credibility. So take a look at your sales training program – if it does not address this topic then it might be ready for an update. This is particularly important for new hire sales training programs because establishing credibility is particularly challenging when sales reps first start out with a company.
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