New sales reps and the credibility challenge

New sales reps must build credibility

New sales reps

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.

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©2013 Sales Momentum, LLC

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About Richard Ruff

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. During his career Dick has authored numerous articles related to sales effectiveness and co-authored "Managing Major Sales", a book about sales management, "Parlez-Vous Business" which helps sales people integrate the language of business into the sales process, and "Getting Partnering Right" – a research based work on the best practices for forming strategic selling alliances. Dr. Ruff received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee and a B.S. from Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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2 Responses to New sales reps and the credibility challenge

  1. Brian MacIver says:

    Spot on, Dick!
    So many young people don’t stick at selling, they NEED a mentor!

  2. Martin Shaw says:

    Why not just ask your prospects / customers what they want? They will tell you and by showing respect and a willingness to learn you will gain credibility. – Simple

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