C. Lee Smith is the CEO of SalesFuel, a certified behavioral analyst, an international bestselling author of SalesCred: How Buyers Qualify Sellers and Hire Smarter, Sell More! He is also the creator of TeamTrait.
Looking for the brief lowdown? Check out these highlights:
What is Sales Cred?
“It’s based off of street cred. It is sales credibility. I coined the term sales cred.” He felt that you need both street cred but also something specific for the field of sales, and the adored term was born.
“Credibility is not the same as trust. Credibility is a pre-requisite – your pathway to trust. So if you want to get better at earning trusted advisor status, start by building your credibility.
Only 1 in 4 Americans view salespeople as credible in what we say and do. So, we start from behind every time.”
“I don’t teach sales methodology. I teach sales credibility because without credibility, it doesn’t matter what sales process you use.”
What is the SalesCred app?
“For those new to sales or early in their career, the SalesCred app will help you fast-track your sales skills and your career in sales.
For sales veterans, the SalesCred app will help you identify gaps and attract more opportunities to you.
The most powerful feature of the SalesCred app is the pre-sales preparation. B2B Meeting Prep reports for each prospect and B2C Customer Profiles via in-app purchase, plus competitive intelligence and daily conversation starters.”
How do you work on your sales credibility?
People want to do business with people they like know and trust, but today they also want you to be helpful. “Those are the four cornerstones of credibility.”
“Sales credibility is how the buyer sees you before they see you. It’s how they talk about you before they talk TO you.”
What is SalesFuel?
A sales research company. They create research revenue generators using sales intelligence. The tool allows salespeople to improve their craft and strategy in ways that they would not be able to otherwise.
Is credibility the number one trait that salespeople are lacking?
Yes. Here’s why. He conducted a survey of over 1,000 people and found that nurses and doctors were most trusted to be credible with salespeople second to bottom. Who made the bottom of the list? Senators and congressmen. SalesFuel helps salespeople learn about themselves to present themselves as credible and trustworthy.
“Only 1 in 4 Americans deem salespeople as credible.” C. Lee wants to change that. He refers to the reality that before a sales cycle begins, salespeople need to navigate “the river of distrust” that separates salespeople and clients. You need to build a bridge to move forward as a trusted advisor rather than an untrustworthy salesperson.
SEO & Sales?
You need to think about your digital credibility. People search your digital footprint including social media, etc. to see you are a credible salesperson. “If Google and LinkedIn don’t suggest you are somebody in their eyes you are a nobody.” C. Lee noted that younger people want to be able to find out about you online. Any photos, comments, etc. will shape the reputation and your salescred if you will.
Many in sales spend so much time focusing on qualifying buyers, but they should spend more time thinking about the customer journey and how they qualify the sellers.
Credibility was always a challenge, but it has been exacerbated in the digital age.
How do you test for coachability at the interview level?
“Somebody that isn’t coachable will never get better than they are at that moment in time.” Employing behavioral, motivational and value assessments will help you flag poor hires.
He admitted that “It is easy to hire a bad salesperson because they can be charming. But that may be their final sale” as the interview ends.
Smith’s company produces a coachability score to help employers make grounded decisions on hires. They also assess if the new hire and manager would be a good match.
How has sales technique changed from the 80s to today?
“The basics are the same. Sales is not about pushing a product. Sales is about helping other people.” Some people shy away from a sales career because they think that it is pushy. Smith said that you will only reach quotas and grow revenue, long term goals, if you care about and want to help people.
Where do managers tend to fail?
The system and managers measure hard numbers. You either reach your quote or you don’t. They are incentivized to bring it money today. Smith said in an ideal world, managers are building teams that individuals to grow and refine in such a way where all team members lift each other up.
“Credibility begins with the mindset of helping others, rather than making quota. “Metrics can be helpful, but behaviors should also matter in evaluating staff and making decisions. Good behaviors should be encouraged and incentivized because they will lead to better results.
“Want to improve the sales team? Train your sales managers. Provide them with courses.”
How should potential hires go about the process to find a place of work that will be a good fit? How can they be sure that they are making the right decision?
Salespeople like to talk! “Befriend a salesperson who works at the company. They will be an open book and tell you everything that you want to know.”
What you see on websites like Glassdoor is often remarks from those with an axe to grind, so take it with a grain of salt. Talk to someone on the ground. They will spill the real deal.
Final words of wisdom on how to grow professionally?
“Always reinvent. I’ve had to reinvent this company three times. That’s how you start a company and keep it growing. We have been profitable every year for thirty years. Don’t only reinvent the business, reinvent yourself. You have to be uncomfortable and be willing to reinvent yourself. You have to adapt.”
Want to ensure that your team can easily communicate to collaborate to make swift decisions? Get started as a beloved beta user! You and your colleagues will have free access for at least one year, and we will send you some swag!
Looking for more to listen to? Join Menachem Pritzker and Sharon Weiss-Greenberg, hard core Collabrians, as we drink coffee and learn from collaborative leaders in sales, customer success and account management.
Ready to get started? Customer Café by Collabria: Sales Collaboration Tips for Pros is available wherever you listen to podcasts.