Why should they believe you

The world of sales is alive with the full extremes of human behavior.

With both good and bad out there — and probably calling on the same people you’re calling on — how can you prove that you’re one of the good seeds who knows your industry and is worth talking to?

Creating this type of rapport is easy when meeting face-to-face, but online it’s harder.

Here’s what to do:

Make a human connection
Take a minute before your call to see where your prospect is based or check out their prior industries, and tie it back to something you know. If you don’t want your prospect to know you were scoping them out, remember to browse LinkedIn using Private Mode.

If your company has a place for you to include a personal profile, it’s good to include professional extracurriculars like associations or favorite technologies. Favorite sports are ok though I’d leave out mention of family, politics and animal loving preferences. But that might just be because I’m British.

Show your face
Seeing someone’s face automatically creates a connection. Yes, they’re going to make judgments, but assuming you picked a trustworthy-looking photo, prospects are more likely to return a call, because now you’re a person, not just some disembodied voice.

With the exception of the real estate industry, where it appears to be mandatory, I can’t recommend adding your photo to your email signature. But it’s totally appropriate on a website profile or even on an early slide in your sales deck as part of your credentials.

Prove your credentials, but be subtle
By representing your proposal up the chain, your champion is vouching for you as a person. Their reputation is at stake, so make it easy for them to answer when they’re asked “Who is this guy?”

Your profile should include years in the industry and education. If you can, highlight industry experience in a non-sales role to demonstrate depth of knowledge. This is especially valuable when working with engineers.

But you have to be subtle. This is where an easy-to-access profile on your company’s website works well. Even better is having your profile accessible from wherever you’re hosting your proposal.

Watch out
We all love LinkedIn, but don’t direct prospects to your profile from your email signature. Your job history can only distract them, and there’s a risk of looking less than 100% dedicated to your current company.

It’s totally appropriate to share LinkedIn from your website profile, since by visiting your profile in the first place they’re signaling an interest in a more in-depth understanding of who you they’re doing business with.