Establish your credibility — fast

An important sales lesson …

As a brand new sales engineer, I was on my way to meet with meet with an important prospect.  Fresh out of training, I was ready to dazzle and amaze them with all sorts of technical details about our new test system.

Fortunately, I struck up a conversation with my airplane seat mate.  Always curious, I asked him what he did  for a living.  He politely explained that he specialized in financial planning for small business owners, focusing on those with a net worth of  1-10 million dollars.  He had been at it for several years, and was achieving some good success.

He then asked about me, and I explained how I was an engineer that had just gone over to the dark side of sales.  As a newbie, I then asked if he had any advice he could share.

He smiled, and replied, “Establish your credibility — fast. That is what I did with you. Without that, you might have just considered me another peddler.

Wow! Based on that advice, I tried a brief experiment in my sales call.  Rather than jumping right into the technical details, I gave a little personal background on myself.  How I had a BSEE degree, was a registered PE (Professional Engineer), and had spent the last 10 years in design positions. And how this reflected my company’s commitment to serve our customers.

It took less than a minute, but you could feel the change in the room.  I was no longer “just another peddler”, but rather a fellow engineer with credibility.  And yes, I eventually made the sale.

How would you establish your credibility?

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2 Responses to “Establish your credibility — fast”

  • Ken W. says:

    Absolutely agree Daryl. I’ve been focussing a great deal on social media marketing and took an evening course on the subject for Kevin Knebl (www.kevinknebl.com), who’s currently writing a book on the subject. Kevin maintains that people tend to do business with those they Know, Like and Trust. He agrees you should avoid hammering a potential client with a big sales blast until you establish a relationship with them. This may take some time, but could pay off big in the future. It turns out nearly every engineering job I’ve received (including all the recent consulting jobs) have been because of relationships I’ve established.

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