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No Credibility? NO SALE. What Research Tells Us About the Importance of Building Credibility with Your Buyers

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In our research, we asked more than 500 B2B buyers about what sellers could do more often to earn more appointments and close more sales. More than one-third of the responses were related to the credibility of the seller. See what buyers in our survey had to say and learn how you can build credibility with buyers and earn more business.

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No Credibility? NO SALE. What Research Tells Us About the Importance of Building Credibility with Your Buyers

  1. 1. No Credibility? NO SALE. What Research Tells Us About the Importance of Building Credibility with Your Buyers Jim Kouzes, Barry Posner, and Deb Calvert
  2. 2. In our research, we asked more than 500 B2B buyers about what sellers could do more often to earn more appointments and close more sales.
  3. 3. Our survey invited open-response comments to the question: “What behaviors could a seller exhibit that would increase your likelihood of meeting with or buying from him or her?” More than one-third of the responses were related to the credibility of the seller.
  4. 4. Researchers typically evaluate one’s credibility based on three criteria: Perceived trustworthiness Expertise Dynamism People who are rated more highly on these characteristics are considered to be more credible.
  5. 5. And when it comes to credibility, the actions buyers look for in sellers precisely match what people say they look for in leaders they would willingly follow.
  6. 6. At all stages of the sales process, the simple prescription for strengthening personal credibility is to “Do What You Say You Will Do.”
  7. 7. Buyers used phrases like these to define credibility in action: They deliver what they promise. Talk is cheap. Following through is much more important. Totally stands behind his statements. “Walks the walk” and “Talks the talk.” Held true to her word.
  8. 8. Credibility is about the consistency between your words and actions.
  9. 9. Survey Respondent: Not following through on commitments is a deal-breaker. Buyers do not tolerate poor follow-through. If I can’t trust salespeople to call on time, what can I trust them with?
  10. 10. Buyers won’t give you credit for your good intentions. All they can react to are your actions. They hand down a judgment of “credible” when your words and actions are aligned.
  11. 11. Notably, our research found that follow-through on promises and commitments ranked among the top three behaviors that matter most to buyers.
  12. 12. I refuse to do business with a liar or someone who breaks professional promises. Clearly, doing what you say you will do matters a great deal to your buyers. Survey Respondent:
  13. 13. Sellers who focus on demonstrating and maintaining their credibility will differentiate themselves and gain buyer trust.
  14. 14. Credibility is the foundation for building a solid relationship with your buyer and, likewise, is the foundation of leadership.
  15. 15. Get a deeper understanding of how you can adopt leadership behaviors that translate into sales success with Stop Selling and Start Leading: How to Make Extraordinary Sales Happen. LEARN MORE
  16. 16. Cover photo © Getty/PeopleImages DEB CALVERT is the founder of People First Productivity Solutions and The Sales Experts Channel, and author of one of HubSpot’s “Top 20 Most Highly Rated Sales Books of All Time.” JAMES M. KOUZES is the Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University, and according to the Wall Street Journal, one of the twelve best executive educators in the United States. BARRY Z. POSNER, PHD, is the Accolti Endowed Professor of Leadership at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University, where he served for twelve years as dean of the school. Jim and Barry have been working together for more than 35 years, studying leaders and researching leadership. They are the coauthors of the bestselling book The Leadership Challenge and over a dozen other books on leadership. The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® is a registered trademark of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. The associated icons are copyright ©2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. www.leadershipchallenge.com

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