The salesperson is the biggest differentiator in a competitive market.

I read a Harvard Business Review article awhile back that emphasized that as salespeople we must sell ourselves first, our company second, and only then have we earned the right to present our product. After several tests of this approach – I believe it wholeheartedly!

Prospects want to know who to trust. A salesperson’s ability to earn credibility early is essential to connecting with the prospect. Decision-makers don’t want to hear a sales pitch. They want to hear how you, the salesperson, can address their challenges. So, your job is to sell enough trust in who you are and what you know about their business, to be allowed to engage in a mutual dialogue about their needs and the value you can bring.

The sales environment has changed a lot in the 21st century:

  • Decision-makers are reluctant to challenge
  • Competitors want your prospects’ business as much as you do
  • Market described with products and services that look the same to the buyer

In addition, old-time structured, manipulative sales processes quickly backfire and no longer work today. That is why a prospect now seeks to find someone they can trust. As the salesperson in this environment, you must be authentic and leverage all your personal assets to win the prospect’s confidence. However, this is not going to be done by immediately launching into a product pitch.

To convert the prospect to your customer, job one today is to:

  • Build credibility
  • Show your confidence
  • Show your integrity
  • Show your thought leadership

In the beginning the salesperson must have a greater influence on the customer’s perception of value than in the product being sold. Otherwise, in the prospect’s mind, he will only be selling a commodity – when that happens – it’s about price, and value is forgotten.

If your sales team is struggling to make quality connections and close deals, we can help! Contact Bill Kiefaber at 614.353.5563 or

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