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  • Writer's pictureDavid A. Schneider

How To Establish Credibility in 7 Steps

How can you as a salesperson establish an instant bond between you and your prospects?

By being credible.

Before you go into your presentation, you first have to show that you are credible and that people can trust you.

But what makes a person credible?

How come we trust one person but mistrust another?

Where lies the exact difference between these two?

And how to become credible, is what we will show you in this little guide.

Why is Credibility important in Sales?

how to establish credibility
We know we have good intentions. But the customers don't know that.

We as salespeople usually have good intentions.

We know we sell a good product.

We know that the customer can benefit from it.

And we know that now is the right time to implement that solution.

However, in the eyes of a customer the role of a salesperson is often seen with a grain of salt.

Clearly the salesperson says the product is good - they only want to sell it to me!

Things like that pop into your customer’s mind when they hear your presentation.

As a salesperson your words will always be questioned, even with the best intentions.

In the worst case, this can even cause the prospect to disconnect with you and mentally block whatever you are saying or offering.

And when someone is tuned out to what you say and questions your integrity, even the best sales presentation and effort will be wasted.

The prospect has built a mental wall around himself, and your messages won’t get through.

Sometimes we can rely on our good reputation or referrals.

But what to do in a situation where there is no way of being introduced to that person?

As a successful salesperson you will have to make new contacts and that will mean to make appointments with totally cold leads - people who have never heard of you before.

Being trusted will not only make it easier to sell, it will also get you an instant bond with the prospect.

We all like to buy from a company we can trust, or even better from a person we can trust.

When the prospect trusts you, it makes it easier to connect, to bring your message across and to really uncover the buying motives such as the needs and wants this person has.

Therefore getting trusted and being credible in the eyes of the customer is one of the most important things to do before you actually jump into your sales presentation.

How do you establish sales credibility?

Step 1: Show them your past successes

establish credibility in sales
"See this guy? I made him a lot of money!"

If the customer sees us for the first time, he or she has no idea if what we say actually is true.

What we say could be made up.

What we sell might be fake or simply not working.

Our intentions could be bad, and we might take advantage of our customers.

Skepticism is natural and unfortunately healthy in many of today’s situations when we meet a stranger for the first time.

So how do you put yourself in a position where this first skepticism can be overcome?

The easiest thing to do to really demonstrate that you have good intentions and also deliver on what you promise is to show some case studies of clients who have had success with your solution in the past.

A client who had received 500% ROI from your product can’t be argued with.

A case study where another client has doubled their productivity after they used your product is a fact.

Demonstrating numbers before and after your product was used, or showing how it still works after 20 years or more can be clearly demonstrated.

Such past successes build not only on your words, but also bring a third party into the game. A past client is “neutral” in the sales process, and can also be asked for reference if the client is still skeptical.

The more you can demonstrate what you delivered, the clearer the value can be shown, the more credibility you will get.

Show pictures, videos, use testimonials, or anything that highlights how you have helped clients in the past without a doubt.

Ideally, you also might give the client already a glimpse of what the solution could look like for them.

The more similar your past client was to the prospect you are talking to, the better it will help you gain credibility and make the sale.

Step 2: Mention similar others to become credible

Become credible in selling
"So many others in the same situation have already benefitted!"

We as humans have a herd mentality.

If we see many people having a great time at a new restaurant, we want to try it too.

If all our friends tell us how great the vacation in the carribean was, we want to experience it too.

If we see many people using a service and benefiting from it, we want to try it as well.

This type of thinking is deeply rooted in our biology and subconscious thought processes.

It is part of a survival mechanism which easily helped us in the past to find out what foods are toxic or which places might be dangerous.

Today it still works in us:

If so many people like it, it can’t be that bad”.

For example, if your customer is an architect, you might want to mention that already more than 1000 architects have used your system and greatly benefitted from it.

Or if your customer is a restaurant owner, you might want to tell them how many restaurants in the area already have used your product and seen great results from it.

It works in terms of profession or industry.

Just make sure that the customer feels as if he or she belongs to that particular group.

When you really offer a great solution you can also make use of this tactic to trigger another deeply psychologically rooted behaviour in humans:

Fear of missing out

For example:

There are already x number of your direct competitors who benefit from this system

Without directly saying it, you actually suggest that their competition might have an advantage over them in the near future.

This can be a very powerful motivator in getting people to act - and it makes what you say automatically more credible thereby.

The focus is switched from: “Can I trust this guy?

To: “how can I use it as well?

In short, show how others benefitted from your solution. The more detailed, the better and clearer the picture emerges for the potential customer.

And the more you can align their situation with the others who used the product, the more motivation is built to get people to act.

It re-directs the focus from scepticism to the potential benefits.

Step 3: Use third-party proof for your credibility

become credible in sales
"Ok, don't believe me. But THIS guy over there says the product is great too!"

If you already mentioned other people and past successes, there is another option you should really take advantage of.

Besides from mentioning that others have had success with your product, and that there are many others just like this customer, it gets even more powerful if you have the customer tell in his words why your product helped them and how.

The easiest way to have others advocate your product and business is to make use of testimonials.

Especially in E-Commerce, Testimonials and reviews are very powerful and have become common these days.

In sales, you can make best use of testimonials in the form of letters.

Or if appropriate, a video testimonial from a customer will be even more powerful.

The testimonial itself is less important in its style and content.

What is important is that the customer mentions a concern they had before buying.

For example:

At first we were really skeptical about the high price, but we decided to move on nevertheless. Since then we enjoyed the service and had great results from using the product.

Now if you sit with a customer who mentions price as their main concern, you can then show him or her this testimonial and demonstrate that others had the same concern, but are today more than happy to be your customer.

Instead of you as the salesperson saying that the product is really worth the high price, you have the voice of another person saying it.

Again the other person becomes a “neutral” observer in the eyes of the customer.

Even though they never heard from the other person or met them in real life, we all are strongly influenced by what others say about a product or service.

Your credibility is instantly enhanced because the beneficial claims are no longer said by you as the salesperson - they are now said by a third party.

Gather as many testimonial letters from past customers as you can, and take them with you on your next appointments in a folder to boost your credibility instantly.

Ideally you want to highlight with a marker the most important sentences in these testimonial letters, or simply hand over the entire folder with them to your customer.

When handing over the folder you might want to add a sentence like:

Instead of listening to my words, why don’t we take a look at what our past customers mentioned with similar concerns like yours.

Step 4: Use media posts or articles to emphasize for more credibility

credibility in sales
"It's not my opinion, just look at what the media says!"

During your presentation, you as the salesperson will almost invariably make some kind of claim.

For example when selling financial products you might say:

Starting to save for your retirement is important especially when you are young.

Well, as long as you say that - the prospect might believe you or not.

So how can you make your claim fully credible, even in the eyes of a skeptic person?

For many products, there are articles or media posts about the topic.

Often they are written from a similar viewpoint as your sales conversation at that moment.

In our example with saving for retirement, a simple Google search reveals hundreds of articles on how important it is, why it is important and what the right way of saving is.

Many of them are written by famous and well-respected journals such as,, or similar.

All you have to do is to find some recent articles that are about the topic you mentioned. Very often you find that most of your claims will be supported by some articles.

The sheer number and many sources to choose from will almost always reveal a few articles that back up your claims.

Print out those articles, use a marker, and highlight the sentences that support your position the most.

Once you have a few of these articles to back up your claims, you can then carry them in a folder with you to the appointment.

A similar strategy to using the testimonial folder, a media folder with articles can back up your most important claims.

You thereby also enhance your points - after all popular media outlets such as or are widely recognized as a trusted source.

You basically borrow their credibility and can implement it into your own sales presentation.

And you also present that you are a professional, who works with the latest information in the market and is up to date on trends and the latest developments.

To make use of this tactic, start collecting newspaper articles or from other media sources that surround the topic of your product, and especially the points you made during the sales presentation.

For example, look at how you will handle the objection about not having time or money (which are sure to be mentioned by any customer), and then search actively for articles that support this view that you propose and show over the long term your product can save money, time or both.

You would not believe how many articles exist on all kinds of topics with so many thousands of newspapers, blogs, and other media companies forced to publish new content on a daily basis.

Every one of them could potentially be useful to boost your credibility in any sales conversation.

In the same manner, there also are studies for almost everything you can think of.

There were even studies conducted that proved that a cat's urine will glow in the dark (I'm serious, who gets paid to investigate things like that?).

And all this can be used to your advantage, by directly looking for studies and articles that will reinforce your arguments.

The background of your source does not matter, maybe the study was executed to research something completely different than your product.

As long as you can take a few sentences from the study or the article that will reinforce your arguments, you have a winner.

For example, if you want to sell customers a life insurance policy to save for their retirement, search for articles that deal with poverty of old people after their retirement or why starting an additional retirement saving early on in life can help you save taxes and help to retire with more cash in the pockets.

The important part is that the customer will see the same arguments coming not only from you but also from another source, an independent source the customer ideally already trusts.

Step 5: Be in a credible job position

There are some scientifically proven facts about trust and credibility you can use that have been tested in numerous studies.

For example, people trust doctors or all kinds of people with a degree generally more, especially a medical degree.

The next time you watch TV, just look at how many commercials, especially for hygiencial or medical products are advertised by showing a “doctor”.

The “Doctor” actually is just an actor to display a product.

And the product might be something simple as toothpaste and not even require a subscription from a doctor.

Even though this is obvious and actually a no-brainer, people are easily convinced in their subconscious mind that the product is a legitimate solution to their problem because after all - it is advertised by a doctor!

And doctors who spend years earning their degree have to know what is really good, right?

Even if it is just an actor dressed as a doctor.

The effect for the ad stays the same.

So, how can this be beneficial for your selling?

It probably is not a good idea to show up at the client's office in a medical garment, looking like you just operated someone when you actually intend to sell some machinery.

But you can make your job title sound special, and maybe even as important as a doctor.

For example, “Key Account Manager” is today usually just a fancy way of describing a salesperson.

Other, important sounding titles for salesperson might include:

  • Account Achievement Visionary

  • Business Developer

  • Sales Director / Director of Sales

  • Relationship Manager

  • and many more!

Whatever you choose - be sure to appear as somebody of high importance.

Make sure that your body language emphasizes your position and shows clearly that you are in charge.

Usually a deep and clear voice with a slightly slower speech is seen as authoritative.

Step 6: Have a neat appearance

being credible when selling
Looking good will get you more credibility.

A similar tactic to having a fancy sounding job position, it always helps to have your looks in order.

Within the fraction of a second your first impression will be subconsciously judged by any person you come in contact with.

As clothes cover more than 90% of your body - the right attire for your appointment will play an important role in how credible the customer judges you.

In many classical business settings, a good suit and a simple tie will do most of the trick to appear professional for the set-up.

However, in those areas where a suit just doesn’t fit with the situation such as selling farm equipment, or selling building materials, it is usually a good rule of thumb to be a little better dressed than most people around you.

In such more casual environments, a dark jean with a polo shirt will be appropriate for example.

Ultimately you have to look at your customers and see how they dress, and then adjust your own attire accordingly.

But not only your clothes will matter - make sure your hair is cut as well as your fingernails, and of course there are no excuses for bad breath or other unpleasant odors from your body.

A great appearance will get you to be perceived in a favorable way. And this again will help your credibility.

Step 7: Deliver value first - then the product

sales credibility
Let the customer talk first. Deliver your solution afterwards.

In a usual sales conversation you will have a certain pattern to follow.

Usually you first introduce the product or the company you work for, or both.

The next objective is to uncover the situation the client is in right now - what are their needs or wants, and how can you solve these issues.

As a professional, you then raise the stakes by asking detailed open ended questions about a lacking implication of a solution right now, and emphasize possible negative outcomes in the future if that solution will not be met.

Sounds like a good time to announce the price and sell it, right?


Even though it seems legitimate at this point, if you want to have the best possible results from sales it will take one more step before you actually present your solution.

You have taken out most of the obstacles in the way of making the sale, but deep down in the mind of the customer saying:

“How do we know this guy will deliver on what he promises?

Why should I trust him or her?”

And that is where you have to continue before your final presentation of the product.

The interesting thing is: you have gotten so far without directly talking about the product or its implication.

So far you talked about the possible impacts that it could have if not used, you talked about the customer and their situation.

Your product is the thing you actually talk about last - it is the climax of the presentation, the missing piece of the whole appointment that seems to make everything complete of what has just been said.

First you really have to actively listen to what the other person is saying.

To really hear them and understand them.

And then only after you really have had them talk for a few minutes and uncover some possible problems that your product can solve, then is the time to talk about your product.

Why should you do that?

Because when people talk about themselves, they open up.

It brings down their “mental defenses”.

When they have built a wall around themselves mentally, the easiest way to bring down that wall is to let them talk.

Simultaneously you listen closely to what they say and look for possible problems that might aise now or in the future - and where your product might fit as a solution.

Bringing it all together to boost your sales credibility

The best results will come usually if you combine all of these tactics in the conversation:

  • Be well dressed and have a neat, confident appearance.

  • Have your title or job description suggest you are a person of authority.

  • Use testimonials from past customers, and show the latest media article highlighting your arguments

  • Demonstrate how you have helped customers in the past

  • Mention how many others in the same industry have already used the product and are now reaping great benefits from it


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