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How to Establish Your Credibility on a Virtual Sales Call

Selling Skills | Remote Selling

Whether your selling virtually or in-person, the first minutes of an initial sales call with a new prospect are critical. This is when you build rapport with the buyer. The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the ability of field reps and account executives to build rapport during face-to-face meetings. See here for how to connect with customers virtually.

In addition to building a relationship with the buyer, your call opening, whether in-person or virtually, is also about establishing your credibility.

That’s how you help the customer answer the question, “Why should I spend time with this salesperson?” You also increase the customer’s confidence that you will be able to solve their problem, and this will make them more likely to be open with you and share information.

Here are three things you can do to establish your credibility on a virtual sales call.

1 | Describe the Customer’s Situation

Nothing establishes your credibly quicker with a buyer than when you demonstrate your understanding of their specific situation. That means doing pre-call research to better understand the customer’s organization, recent announcements, competitive situation, and industry. For example, is this customer-facing competitive pricing pressure? Where are they experiencing growth or business challenges? How has COVID-19 impacted their business? Are they facing any technology threats? This signals to the buyer that you have an appreciation of the specific challenges faced by the customer, and this will quickly differentiate you from most other salespeople.

2 | State a Common Concern

If you don’t have any company-specific information to establish your credibility, state a common concern or problem that other companies in the same industry have. For example, you can discuss competitive issues, technological challenges, or regulatory changes. Again, the idea is to demonstrate that “you get it.” Of course, it’s always impactful to share examples or case studies of how your other customers solved these problems.

3 | Ask a Provocative Question

Another technique you can use to establish your credibility is asking a provocative question that gets the buyer to think about their problems. How does this technology trend impact your business? What are the consequences of…? Or, what other problems are you facing as a result of the new competitive environment? When you ask a question that gets the customer to consider the consequences of their problems, you establish yourself as a problem solver for the customer who is on the “same side of the table” as the customer, not a self-interested salesperson.

Whether you describe the customer’s situation, state a common concern, or ask a provocative question, the end game is to establish your credibility so that the customer will want to continue the call and have a productive sales conversation with you.

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About David Jacoby

As a Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group, David helps large B2B sales organizations improve sales performance. Previously, David was a Principal at Linear Partners, a sales consulting firm providing sales strategy, sales operations, talent management, and interim management services to emerging growth companies. In the past, David has served as Vice President of Business Affairs of Xylo, Inc., where he was responsible for the Company's business development, sales operations, legal affairs, and financing activities.