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5 Ways to Establish Sales Credibility with Prospects

3 min readMay 5, 2015

Above virtually anything else, establishing credibility is the key to being a successful salesperson. People almost always prefer to buy from brands and individuals that they trust. They are often even willing to pay more to deal with trustworthy vendors.

As an example, my mom always takes her car to be serviced at the Toyota dealership. She knows there are mechanics that can do the work cheaper. But she’s happy to pay extra, because she feels that the dealership is more credible. And in B2B sales, with higher price tags and more stakeholders in deals, credibility becomes that much more important.

If you happen to work for a brand that’s already a trusted household name, lucky you. But you don’t have to work for a Fortune 500 corporation to earn your clients’ trust. No matter the size of your company, here are five powerful tactics that can help you win deals by quickly proving your credibility:

Get a Referral

Getting a referral is simply the best way to establish credibility. If you can get recommended by someone your prospect already trusts, it’s going to be a lot easier to win the deal. When prospecting, search your LinkedIn network for possible connections to a key decision maker at a target account. I also like to check who prospects follow on Twitter to identify possible connections. In most cases, even a minor connection is going to be a heck of a lot better than cold calling.

Arm Yourself with Relevant Testimonials/Case Studies

A great testimonial or case study can be your golden ticket to closing a deal. It’s one thing for me to tell a prospect how much I helped a client in a similar situation. But it’s so much more powerful when your prospects can hear from your clients themselves. It really helps if the case study or testimonial is from a client in a similar industry. To get customers on board, consider offering your customers a discount in exchange for taking the time to help out with a case study.

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

When a sales rep contacts me, if I’m the slightest bit interested, the first thing I do is look them up on LinkedIn. I’m still shocked to see how many sales reps have sparse, barren LinkedIn profiles. LinkedIn offers myriad opportunities for reps to establish credibility. You can garner endorsements and referrals, add awesome videos of your brand’s product, post thought leadership and more.

Lead with Facts

The recently popular Challenger Sale methodology states that reps should be more up on industry trends, news and facts than their customers. After all, people like buying from knowledgeable sales reps. But unless you’re recognized as a credible expert, your prospects may not care about your opinions (no matter how insightful they are).

What prospects do care about is facts. So do your homework and find some relevant statistics, industry news, studies or other fact-based research that can help you advance deals.

Say you sell solar panels. Telling a prospect “I think solar panels will save you money” probably isn’t going to win you a deal. If you instead referenced a study revealing that businesses were able to cut energy costs by an average of 23% by switching to solar, you’d be a lot more likely to move a deal forward.

Respect the Competition

One of the easiest ways for sales reps to lose credibility is by trash-talking the competition. If a prospect has heard of one of your competitors, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It indicates that they are actively researching solutions and are likely serious buyers.

So if a prospect mentions a competitor, it’s not an invitation to launch into a tirade about how much that competitor sucks. Instead it is a subtle opportunity to reveal some ways that you exceed that competitor. When possible, I like to let customers “do the talking.” Here’s something I once told a prospect when they mentioned a competitor: “I’ve definitely heard of . And while I haven’t used their product myself, we have some customers who switched from to our solution because of .”

If you can prove that you can do a better job of solving your prospects’ pain than a competitor, then you can win deals from more established brands or, conversely, brands that offer less expensive solutions.