fbpx

How To Become More Trustworthy At Work (And Close More Sales)

On this episode of the Salesman Podcast, C. Lee Smith talks about how buyers qualify sellers, how to become more trustworthy at work and how salespeople can use trust to close more leads.

You'll learn:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - C. Lee Smith
Author: Sales Cred

Resources:

Transcript


Will Barron:
This episode of the show is brought to you from the salesman.org HubSpot studio. Coming up on today’s episode of the Salesman Podcast.

 

C. Lee Smith:
Credibility or whether or not a person has it or not, it determines who you trust for guidance. What do you look like when someone pulls up your LinkedIn profile? Is it sort of like a dating profile or something like that? “Oh, wow, that seems enticing,” then when they actually get to know you, you’re nothing like what your profile says you are. And then the trustworthiness aspect of it is, do you do what you say you’re going to do?

 

Will Barron:
Hello sales nation, my name is Will Barron and I’m the host of the Salesman Podcast, the world’s most downloaded B2B sales show. On today’s episode, absolute legendary, enjoy this one, we have C. Lee Smith. He’s the founder over at salesfuel.com. He’s the author of the book Sales Cred. On today’s episode we’re diving into the process buyers go through to qualify sellers. So usually we’re talking about how salespeople qualify their potential customers, their prospects. We’re flipping it on its head in this episode. We get into how buyers qualify sellers. There’s a nice framework to follow to implement all of this. There’s a tonne of value in this episode. So let’s jump right into it. C. Lee Smith, welcome to the Salesman podcast.

 

C. Lee Smith:
It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

 

How Buyers Pre-Qualify Potential Sellers and Why It’s Important · [01:41]

 

Will Barron:
I’m glad to have you on. So we’re going to dive into a topic today which in 700-odd episodes of the show, this is something that we rarely cover, and this is what buyers want from sellers, as opposed to what sellers try and push on and throw at buyers. So with that said, just to set up the scene here, because I want to look at how buyers qualify sellers and if there’s a process, if this hierarchy, if there’s some way we can label some of this in a second. But just to set the scene, which is more important to a sale being completed from both sides? Is it how well a seller qualifies a buyer, or is it the inverse of that? How well a buyer qualifies the seller or salespeople?

 

C. Lee Smith:
I think that’s the appropriate question to ask. And I think that for so many of us, we have it exactly backwards. Because I think we spend a lot of time talking about, do they fit our ICP? Will they buy enough to be qualified as an enterprise-level client? All these things, and the reality of it is that what’s really most important is, will we get qualified by the buyer? How does the buyer qualify to sell? Or that that’d be me, or you in this particular case. Because if we don’t pass that test, we won’t get the opportunity to qualify them or not because they’ve already eliminated us from contention. They’re already decided they’re not going to return our emails, they’re not going to reply to our emails or return our calls. They’re not going to invite us to compete for the business. So it’s really a moot point at that point.

 

How Can Salespeople Influence Buyer Perceptions? · [02:50]


Will Barron:
Now, is this something that we’re in control of? And what I mean by that is there’ll be some of the audience listening goes, “Okay, the buyer is disqualified me. Hands up, I’m off to the next individual.” Or is there a level of control? Is there a level of influence that we can sway on how a buyer qualifies us?

 

“57% of small to medium-sized businesses will research a salesperson online. They’ll check out your LinkedIn profile, they’ll do a Google search before they ever decide that they’re going to reach out to you or communicate with you.” – C. Lee Smith · [03:31]

 

C. Lee Smith:We do a lot of research here at SalesFuel. That’s what we are, we’re a sales research firm and we’ve been ranked as one of the top 10 sales enablement providers by Selling Power Magazine worldwide for three years running now, and it’s because of our research. And so we’ve done research in this particular area, which we call the selling to SMBs study, where we surveyed business owners of small to medium-sized businesses. And so 57% of them will have already gotten down, they’ve already gotten through the majority of their purchase journey by the time that you’ve even reached out to a salesperson.

 

C. Lee Smith:
57% of them will then research a salesperson online. They’ll check out your LinkedIn profile, they’ll do a Google search before they ever decide that they’re going to reach out to you or communicate with you. Many times they’re filling out a form to get some free stuff, whether it be a white paper or some leads, or some thought leadership that you provided, but they’re not going to give you that information unless you’ve proven, or at least our company has, the value then to the buyer. And so if you’re not doing that, you’re not going to get invited to the party.


The Definition of a Credible Salesperson From a Buyer Perspective · [04:23]


Will Barron:
Sure, and I think in your language you would describe this as how credible or the credibility of the individuals that’s being represented here. Is there a definition of what credibility means for you for a salesperson?


“The three pillars of credibility are being known, it’s being liked, and being trustworthy.” – C. Lee Smith · [04:45]


C. Lee Smith:
So for me, credibility is all about your… Well, credibility or whether or not a person has it or not, it determines who you trust for guidance and information that you use to make decisions in your everyday life. And the three pillars of credibility, if you’re familiar with know, like, trust, it’s being known, it’s being liked and being trustworthy. And so first of all, you have to be known. And so that’s the part, going back to your earlier question, you absolutely have control over. What do you look like when someone pulls up your LinkedIn profile? Is it sort of like a dating profile or something like that? “Oh, wow, that seems enticing,” and when they actually get to know you, you’re nothing like what your profile says you are. Or is your profile all about, “Hey, I got this promotion. I’ve done great things here, great things there,” but it doesn’t really speak anything to the buyer. Your profile is really designed more to get your next job than it is to win your next sale.

 

C. Lee Smith:
And so my advice, but then on the first level of sales credibility, and there is a hierarchy, I’ll be happy to share that with you, which is all about what the internet says about you. And the first thing that you can do then is to change your LinkedIn profile so now you’re speaking to your future customer. And the posts that you’re making and the credentials that you put up there reassure the buyer that you know what you’re doing. You’re not a job hopper and you’ve advised and helped other people in similar situations, so that when they read that and then they get an email from you or a call from you or whatever, they will respond and you’ll have an opportunity to compete for the business.

 

Will Barron:
We’ll go into the hierarchy in a second, but just on this know, like, trust, because this hopefully will be very familiar with the audience. So the know element is you could just go and set your prospect’s house on fire, and they’d know you. Or you could put a tonne of ad spend down to one side and eventually they’d know you. So I don’t think the know element is all that difficult to comprehend, wrap our heads around. Now for the trust element, again, we know when we trust someone. It’s a gut feeling, or even analytically, I know that I could probably trust Warren Buffett to give me investment advice. I don’t necessarily need to like him or enjoy his company, but I’d probably trust it. If Warren Buffett rung me up on the phone, Lee, and said, “Hey, do this, this and this,” I’d put down the phone, I’d pause this interview and I’d just get on with it and get it done.

 

C. Lee Smith:
You Warren Buffett. You know of him and you know of his business success and his business acumen. So you know that. You also know that he’s not a terrible person. And when it comes to being liked, you don’t hate Warren buffet. You’re not going to say, “Oh, if that guy calls me, I’m not taking it.” And you could probably think of several names off the top of your head right now. If they called you, it doesn’t matter how well-known they are, you’re not taking the call.

 

C. Lee Smith:
And then the trustworthiness aspect of it is, do you do what you say you’re going to do, and are you going to do right by people? All people. And those are the things, can I believe what you’re saying and have you demonstrated that I can believe what you’re saying? It’s not just like I’m going to trust you until I catch you in your first lie. Because if I catch you on your first lie, chances are it’s probably your fifth or six lie, I just haven’t caught you yet. So that’s what being known, being liked and being trustworthy is really all about in that context. So from your example, Warren Buffett is known, Warren Buffett is not disliked. I would say that he’s liked, and he’s certainly trustworthy because it’s he’s not proven otherwise. He’s demonstrated that trustworthiness through most of his business life.


When and How to Build Trustworthiness as a Salesperson · [08:28]


Will Barron:
You took the words out of my mouth, because I was going to describe the likeability Warren Buffett would be, and this is obviously just random anecdote for the podcast, I’m sure he’s a very nice guy, but it’d be neutral. I’m sure he’d have trust at work. So is neutral a good enough starting point to engage with buyers? As in what I’m saying is if we don’t screw up, is that enough to generate conversations? And then we have to kind of trust that they’re giving us the opportunity not to screw up as we move on.

 

C. Lee Smith:
Well, I think that that’s fair. Starting out, I definitely think that’s fair. I prefer the interlay to more look at, sometimes the being known, being liked and being trustworthy can be a little open to subjectivity. And that’s one of the reasons why I created the hierarchy of sales credibility then, because I think that that puts a much finer point on it. And so really what we’re talking about here is what the internet says. So what does the internet say about Warren Buffett? Well, we all know. You can go there, you can Google search him, you could see his thought leadership and everything like that. Okay, he passes the test.

 

C. Lee Smith:
Next, it’s what does Warren Buffett say? Does he speak intelligently? Is he relevant? Is he still relevant? Does he make me money? Does he understand business well enough to be able to help me? Certainly, yes. That’s the second aspect of it. And we can get into the rest of it from there. But I think that’s a good basis that he has to be known, you don’t hate him, and he hasn’t demonstrated untrustworthiness at that point. It’s a good starting point. But ultimately that’s where we want to go, is much higher up the pyramid of the sales credibility.


The Hierarchy of Sales Credibility · [10:01]


Will Barron:
Sure. So we will go through each individually, but give us the summary. We’ve gone through two there. Tell us the other three elements of the pyramid.

 

C. Lee Smith:
So after that, it’s not just what you say, but it’s also how you say it. And this is where salespeople unknowingly trip themselves up on, on a regular basis by how they present themselves in email. They don’t write in authoritative language, or they don’t show that they are knowledgeable in the business area of the client. Or they go onto a Zoom meeting and the background behind them or wherever, it looks like they belong on an episode of Hoarders. Or there’s all kinds of things behind them or whatever, they have nothing to do with their ability then to solve problems and understand someone else’s business point of view.


“The pinnacle of sales credibility and what we all strive for is what your clients, what your prospects say about you.” – C. Lee Williams · [11:02]


C. Lee Smith:
So I think that those are some examples there. But it’s not just what you say, it’s what you do next. So you actually have to follow through, do what you say you’re going to do then do a little bit more. But the pinnacle of sales credibility and what we all strive for is what they say. And what they say is what your clients, what your prospects say about you. That is the pinnacle that we want to get to, but it’s important to denote that the hierarchy sales credibility is not about personal brand. Personal brand is about who you are, and it’s how you put yourself out there and everything like that. You have a hierarchy of sales credibility for every single account and prospect that you have in contact with. So someone that you’ve worked with for 10 years might be totally thrilled with the work that you’ve done for them and will give you that recommendation and those referrals and things like that. Well, the next prospect of it doesn’t know you from Adam and they’re going on and they’re doing a Google search right now. So everyone has their own pyramid.


Comparing the Hierarchy of Sales Credibility to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs · [11:50]


Will Barron:
Is the pyramid, if I liken this to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, so the bottom layer, we’re going to survive. We’re going to be okay. And then as we go through the different layers, we’re going to become happier. It’s going to be more sustaining, it’s going to be a nicer world or life to live in. Is this similar with regards to salespeople in their profession, in that if the internet doesn’t say bad things about you, you might do a few deals. At the very top of the pyramid, if you have tonnes of recommendations from previous customers and your organisation is well-represented and your buyers love the organisation that you work for, does that mean that life in sales becomes a nicer place to live?


“You don’t necessarily ask for referrals, you have to earn referrals.” – C. Lee Smith · [12:49]


C. Lee Smith:
It becomes really easy, really fast. My company, multimillion dollar company, how we built it up is by people leaving one organisation that we’ve served very well and they go to another organisation and we’re one of the first people they call. And so it is all about that, but you have to work for it. You don’t necessarily ask for referrals, you have to earn referrals. And you have to do that, again, through the prior levels of the pyramid. By what you’ve done for them, by what you said, how you said it, and then of course, how you present yourself online as a thought leader. And as someone who’s very capable of being able to make sense of things and solve problems.


Personal Versus Organisational Credibility: Which One is Better and How to Leverage Both · [13:09]


Will Barron:
It seems like we’ve got this personal pyramid and then there’s perhaps a pyramid with the same topics and same titles for the organisation that we work for. Is that fair to say?


“When someone’s researching you as a salesperson, you’re representing that company. So they don’t necessarily make the distinction between the salesperson and the company.” – C. Lee Smith · [13:27]


C. Lee Smith:
I think that’s totally fair, that the company you worked for then also has their own pyramid. It’s a parallel pyramid, I guess. And the thing is that when someone’s researching you as a salesperson, you’re representing that company. So they don’t necessarily make the distinction between the salesperson and the company. If you’re a salesperson for Xerox, then whatever they think about Xerox is going to be transferred to you. And likewise is if they go online and they find some things in there that are unsavoury, and you’re a representative of Xerox, then Xerox is going to be tarnished by that.

 

Will Barron:
The reason I ask that is in my medical device days, when I worked selling endoscopy products, I only ever worked for the best companies in the business, in the space. And a lot of what we’re describing here happened to me organically, just because I could get the meetings, I could see the surgeons, I could do the deals, which then got me the referrals, got me that credibility, all on the back of me not really knowing what I was doing, but working for a great company. So if someone was new to sales or someone’s looking for a change, Lee, which would be the best approach? Would it be to really double down on their own personal pyramid, or would it be a little bit of a shortcut perhaps to get into an enterprise that people love the brand behind?


“So the neat thing about your personal credibility is you take that with you wherever you go.” – C. Lee Smith · [14:57]


C. Lee Smith:
Well, I think it’s both, but I would say this. If you get in with a really good company and everything like that, it’s at the whim of the company whether you work for them or not. And so if all of your credibility is wrapped up in the credibility of the company, and then all of a sudden the company decides, “Oh, we’ve had COVID, we’re going to need to have layoffs.” Or, “We’ve had a down quarter a quarter and we’re going to have to restructure things,” or whatever. So the neat thing about your personal credibility is you take that with you wherever you go, and you have those business relationships wherever you go. So then if you are no longer with Xerox and now you’re going over to Fujitsu now or something like that, the relationships that you have and the credibility you build up for each one of those accounts go with you. Whereas-


How to Build and Scale Your Online Credibility as a Salesperson · [15:45]


Will Barron:
Was this even possible 15 years ago? Or is this only enabled because of the internet age that we live in?

 

C. Lee Smith:
I think that credibility has always been an issue. So many sales podcasts that I listen to, not nearly as good as yours, mind you. I was hoping for a spit take there, but it didn’t quite happen.

 

Will Barron:
Nearly.

 

C. Lee Smith:
You’re a true pro.

 

Will Barron:
I think it came up my nose a little bit, if I’m being real, if I’m being honest with you.


“You can’t have trust unless you have credibility. You can have credibility and no trust, but you can’t have trust without credibility.” – C. Lee Smith · [15:58]


C. Lee Smith:
But I hear a lot of talk about becoming trustworthy at work. And we had something that as salespeople, we all aspire to is to be a trusted advisor and to win the trust of the account. Great, how do I do that? If you want to earn trust then you need to start by building credibility with that particular account or prospect, because you can’t have trust unless you have credibility. You can have credibility and no trust, but you can’t have trust without credibility. So credibility is why I wrote the book Sales Cred, and it’s why I’m so passionate about this topic.

 

Will Barron:
That’s why I love this framework. It’s one of the reasons that I wanted to have you on, Lee, because we’ve had people come on the podcast a bunch, probably 30, 40 times to talk about trust as a concept. Now, as a concept, it’s easy to understand. I trust that you’re not going to say something horrific on this podcast now that means we’ve we scrap the whole show, and we have to redo or not redo it. I trust the ceiling isn’t going to fall down on me and crush me, and it’d probably make a great show and it might go viral, but it would not be a very productive- [crosstalk [00:16:48].

 

C. Lee Smith:
But you really don’t want it.


Lee Explains His Framework Behind Quantifying and Qualifying Trust · [16:52]


Will Barron:
It’s a one trick pony. But how to quantify and qualify trust, and then it’s not even my trust. It’s the trust of someone else. I feel it’s very difficult. It’s a difficult topic to really nail down, to make practical, but the steps of what the internet says, what you say, how you say it, what you do and what they say. It’s a very clear framework to kind of put trust into action, to implement a lot of this. How did you cope with this framework? Is this just purely experience? Did you do research and use that leverage, that research as to you’re asking questions of what is the most important thing, trust the perspective from the buyers? How did you come up with the framework itself?

 

C. Lee Smith:
All of the above. I mean, it’s 35 years of experience. It’s advising sales staffs that are doing it the right way and doing it the wrong way. Seeing my own staff do things right way and the wrong way and advising them. But also then a lot of research behind it. Very data driven, always have been. That’s why the company is what it is. So we have research that we’ve done where we’ve surveyed sales managers, we’ve surveyed salespeople and we’ve surveyed buyers. And we asked them all the same questions, and basically what it comes down to there are some do’s and don’ts of things that will lose you the deal with buyers.

 

C. Lee Smith:
But there’s some things then that sales managers get frustrated with their sales managers, and vice versa. And so it is all that knowledge wrapped up, and then we also have to keep it current and updated because as you’ve seen, the sales world has changed considerably in the last year and a half, more than it has the previous 10. And so we have to continuously do this research and continuously have these conversations with people just to make sure that we’re staying ahead of the curve.

 

Will Barron:
What I find fascinating though is that sales has changed. It was never going to go back. A lot of the change perhaps was coming, but COVID has just knocked it forward and accelerate things. I’m holding off using all kinds of cliches here as I described that. I’m sick of hearing about digital transformation. But what we’re describing here, a lot of this is very fundamental and probably will never change. There’s a VPO for a top spot, I think the quote is along the lines, and he quoted this in a PR thing that went out to thousands of websites. A press release.


Timeless Strategies Salespeople Can Implement to Cement Credibility · [19:35]


Will Barron:
And literally it was like, “It’s a no-brainer to do business with Will Barron,” something like that. So I copied that quote, and that quote from that VP, his name’s Kieran, I’m sure he won’t mind me talking about him on the show. I’ve got hundreds of thousands of dollars of business on not one quote alone, because that’s what someone else said about me. That’s what a company like HubSpot who’s well-respected is saying about me as an individual. That would have worked 20 years ago, 50 years ago, it’s probably going to work 20 years into the future as well, isn’t it? Is there anything else in particular about this hierarchy, about building credibility that is timeless?


“If you say it, it’s bragging. If they say it, it’s proof.” – C. Lee Smith · [19:48]


C. Lee Smith:
Well, the other thing is that you reminded me of something that my friend and mentor Jeffrey Gitomer likes to say. He says that if you say it it’s bragging, if they say it it’s proof. And so what’s changed a little bit is that bottom layer, that base level, which is right now what the internet says. In the past, pre-1995, for example, that’s your reputation. So it’s what do they say about you at the rotary club, what do you say about you at the athletic club? But the thing is, back then that word of mouth travelled much more slowly and got around, whereas now it’s instantaneous. If someone’s going to put something online, a lot more people know about it a lot more quickly. And that’s the big difference here, is that it’s all accelerated. It’s pretty much the same framework as it has been for decades, but now everything is much more accelerated and much more prominent and easy for people to see.


Key Differences Between What You Say and How You Say It · [21:07]


Will Barron:
Okay, well let’s get practical here. And I’ll link to obviously the [inaudible [00:20:40] in the show notes of this episode, but I’ll also pinch one of yours if you’ve got one that’s annotated that we can borrow, or I’ll draw one of our own to the hierarchy in the show notes, anyone who wants to see it specifically as we go through it. What the internet says, the bottom of the hierarchy, we’ve covered that a million times on the show. LinkedIn profiles, your own PR, searching your own name in Google and seeing what comes up. Removing any ridiculous pictures off Facebook that are public. Let’s leave that one behind for a second. Now, what you say and how you say it, how are they separate? Are they not the same thing?


“The worst thing that you can possibly say as a salesperson is to say, “Tell me about your business today.” Because the buyer has already researched you. And what you’re saying is, “I’m too lazy to actually do a simple Google search, even, to find out anything about your business.” – C. Lee Smith · [21:26]


C. Lee Smith:
They are separate, because are you providing relevant value to the client? To the prospect, even? But even before, without reciprocity, it was what can I provide to you that’s going to help your business, that’s going to give you a little bit of insight that perhaps you didn’t know, so that there’s value in knowing me? So the worst thing that you can possibly say as a salesperson is to go into an office or to have a video call, even an email and say, “Tell me about your business today.” Really? Because the buyer has already researched you. They know all about you, they know about your company, they know about your product. And what you’re saying is, “I’m too lazy to actually do a simple Google search, even, to find out anything about your business.”

 

C. Lee Smith:
And there are databases that you can buy. We sell one that provides you all kinds of category insight. Of course you can then get lead gen data and everything like that from countless numbers of places. There is no excuse for you asking the question, “Tell me about your business today.” and immediately when you do that, that’s one of the things that salespeople do that immediately give away their credibility. So it’s a matter of, instead of saying that, saying, “Well, here’s what some of my other clients have been telling me, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” And it’s like, “Is that what you’re seeing?” Or, “How is that affecting you?” Now all of a sudden then it’s like, one, I’ve said, “Oh, I have other clients that I work with in your line of business, and I have a bit of insight from what they’re telling me. How does that compare to what you’re seeing?”

 

C. Lee Smith:
What’s going to happen is they’re either going to feel reassured that, “Oh, okay. Other people are going through the same thing I’m going through. Maybe I can be a little less anxious about it and get about solving it.” Either that, or you’re going to provide them some insight to them that perhaps they hadn’t heard before and hadn’t thought about. And now a sudden they’re kind of tuned in, and now again, value in knowing you. So it’s what you say, but you can be brilliant and be a genius and provide great insight, great research and great analysis and great help. But if you’re a jerk about how you say it…

 

C. Lee Smith:
Or let’s say that you’re one of these sales consultants out there and you’re talking about, “Hey, I can 10x your,” and I don’t mean to say 10x because I don’t want to single that guy out, because he’s a very capable guy. But, “I can multiply your sales,” and everything like that, and lead you to a better life and everything like that. And meanwhile, though, he’s wearing a suit that looks like it came off the discount rack, and a beat up pair of shoes, and driving a 15 year old car. I’m going, “Really? I’m supposed to trust that you can lead me to great prosperity when you don’t seem to be demonstrating that yourself?”

 

C. Lee Smith:
And it’s also about, on how you say it, is act you you’ve been here before. Act like you’ve done a Zoom call or a Skype call before, that you’ve written CEOs and C-level people in your emails, and that when you leave a voicemail message that you’ve done that before, and you’re not fumbling around and meandering all over the place. That’s the quickest way to become more trustworthy at work. Get in and do the business, get out, act like you’ve been there before. And then that’s how what you say then also gives them greater reassurance that they’re dealing with a true professional.

 

Will Barron:
I will put you on the spot. It’s funny that you may or may not have mentioned Grant Cardone. Because one of my most popular posts on LinkedIn of all time was essentially what you were, not with Grant, but alluded to it in a wider circumstance there of, I think I mentioned Grant in the post but it was essentially all these sales trainers who say that they’re going to 10x, 100x, make you a millionaire, all these kinds of things. Why is it only Grant that has a private jet? Now, of course Grant’s doing other things. He’s a-

 

C. Lee Smith:
Great real estate guy.

 

Will Barron:
Yeah, so he’s a fan of the show, he’s a friend of the show. And he’s doing all kinds of other things which drive a total revenue. I think he would agree that his sales training isn’t funding a private jet and all that kind of stuff.

 

Will Barron:
But why is it that all these people can seem to do all of these things, but you’re right, they’re driving tatty cars, they look scruffy. And people have different styles so that you don’t have to wear a suit to be incredibly wealthy, but you’re making all these claims and you’re clearly not able to do it for yourself. So I’ll link to that in the show notes as well. I think it had like a quarter of a million views on it and it went viral all because of this idea. And there’s very few salespeople or very few sales trainers who commented on it and got into the chat. So that was a question that I know I just wanted to double down on, because I know the wider audience and my audience have questioned that in the past as well.


The Benefits of Thought Leadership in Sales · [25:54]


Will Barron:
But with that all said, earlier on, and I guess this is kind of part of the hierarchy that we’re talking about here. You mentioned this term thought leadership. So how important is it? Because I feel like there’s two roads we can go down, Lee. There’s thought leadership, “We’re going to write a book. I’m going to have my own methodology. I’m going to teach something that is new or is a new twist on things, is a new idea. I’m going to change a paradigm of the people around me.” Do we need to go down that route or do we need to just have really useful, actionable insights for our audience, for our little bubble of potential customers?

 

C. Lee Smith:
Let’s say that I’m selling restaurant supplies. Do the restaurants that run a business care that I I wrote a book or something like that? No, but on the other hand, the fact that I was able to write a book and it published says something about me, that I’m knowledgeable in the area. But if my book is about fly fishing and it has nothing to do with how to help restaurants make more money, then I don’t care. So you’re much better off than guesting on a podcast. It’s even better than writing something yourself because they have somebody else write about you. Being a guest on somebody else’s show, being a guest speaker at somebody else’s meeting. Getting quoted by somebody else and cited as a source, that’s even more credible. And so being able to do those types of things is much more relevant. Again, it’s all about relevant value. So the fact that I wrote a book and developed a methodology, unless it’s relevant to my business and helping me solve problems or achieve my goals, I don’t care. I think it’s great. I think it does help your credibility, but if it’s relevant, now it really helps your credibility.


Credibility and The Commitment to Excellence · [27:47]


Will Barron:
Sure. And it comes into the next element of what you do. A crappy book isn’t going to help anyone to credibility, right? If you say you’ve got to do something, you build the PR around doing something and then you fail to do it, as in your book has a hundred one-star reviews on Amazon, some of this can backfire, right?


“It’s better, quite frankly, to do a few things well than to try and do everything and do it half-assed.” – C. Lee Williams · [28:06]


C. Lee Smith:
You have to have a commitment to excellence. A high quality orientation, everything that you do. And it’s better, quite frankly, to do a few things well than to try and do everything and do it half-assed. So one of the areas in which I see this happening in the social media. People are, “Oh, I got to be everywhere. Oh, I got to be on TikTok now. Oh, I got to be on Clubhouse now.” All right, be one or two places where it matters, where your prospects can find you. They’re already looking at you on LinkedIn. Maybe start there, certainly. But you don’t have to be everywhere and do a half-assed job. It’s better just to pick one or two areas and really hone in and do that exceptionally well, so that when they work with you or when they research you, they see this is somebody that actually has a high commitment to quality, that does things really well. That’s somebody I want to associate with and maybe somebody that can help me.


The Best Online Platforms To Boost Your Online Credibility · [29:20]


Will Barron:
That is so smart. I wish you would have told me that four or five years ago, Lee. Because we went everywhere. We did everything. To be Frank, we did a lot of it half-assed. Our Instagram profile, it’s got 20,00 followers and I haven’t updated it in like a year, because nobody cares. It gets barely any engagement, and there’s definitely no leads that ever come from it. So we’re just publishing to entertain people as opposed to generating leads. And we’re not talking about, if you are a professional athlete, maybe there is value in those things because sponsorships can be based on the back of your social media following in that side of things. But for the, not average salesperson, but the salesperson who is aspiring to be excellent at their craft, LinkedIn and maybe some kind of podcast or YouTube channel, something like that where you’re in control of the ability to share your expertise. That’s all we need, isn’t it?

 

C. Lee Smith:
But the expertise really needs to be, again, relevant to your prospects. So if I’m selling to bicycle shops, then guess what, I should be posting about bicycling and bicycle retailing and trends in the industry and trends with bicyclists, what they’re looking for and everything like that, because that’s really what’s going to resonate and matter to people. And I did the same thing with my podcast too, Manage Smarter. We’ve been doing it for four years and it’s really for sales managers. And I would say that anyone listening to this show as a salesperson, it’s a great idea to tune into that just to kind of hear, what’s the language of the sales manager? What are they concerned about? What are they thinking about? Because someday you might want to be one, but guess what?


“Just as you need to understand who your customer is, you also need to know then you know who your boss is as well.” – C. Lee Smith · [30:26]


C. Lee Smith:
If not, you’re going to work for one. And it’s really great, just as you need to understand who your customer is, you also need to know then you know who your boss is as well. And there’s some great insight, but we do it for the same reasons. We don’t get a tonne of leads from it or anything like that. We’re not trying to build a half million audience or anything like that. It’s more important that what we do, we do really well and you know the people that listen to it love it.


Is There a Link Between Trust and The Number of Impressions? · [30:50]


Will Barron:
Sure. And I think you’re a great case study of this. Perhaps, tell me if I’m wrong, but if you’re selling to sales managers and you do a podcast where customer or sales managers tune in, and they are proactively consuming you, then that trust gets built over time. I can’t remember who said this. Someone said it on the show a few years ago, and there’ve been some [inaudible [00:31:10] about it, but I think there might be something to it in that they were saying that trust a lot of trust is just impressions. You trust your parents because you see them everyday, over, over, over. You trust, I don’t know, Oprah, whoever it is because they’re on the media. They’re in front of you on a screen is so often, so often, so often. There’s an element of, you might think they’re an idiot, maybe trust isn’t the right word. But that knowing element kind of pays dividends just by impression, impression, impression.

 

C. Lee Smith:
I’m going to push back on that. I’m not sure I buy that, because I can think of a couple of politicians in recent memory or whatever that were everywhere every single day and everything like that, and it doesn’t mean that they were credible just because they had a lot of impressions.

 

Will Barron:
Fair enough.

 

C. Lee Smith:
So Oprah, when she puts out something, she doesn’t put out crap. She puts out good quality stuff, whether you like it or not. Again, everyone’s going to have their own judgement about that, but the production quality is always good. She’s interviewing people that people care about and are interested in, and she’s a really good business person and fantastic as a media person. So again, she’s doing things with excellence. So if you combine that excellence and that relevance, then with the number of impressions, so it’s not a quality versus quantity thing. It’s a quality and quantity thing when it comes to being credible as a salesperson or any profession, really. I don’t believe it’s just impressions that will get the job done.


“If what you’re doing is crap, you’ve not got the opportunity for the next impression. So you’ve got to be doing good content for then someone to choose to consume you.” – Will Barron · [32:45]


Will Barron:
Sure. I think what you said is very fair. I think there’s a layer between that we can probably add and maybe agree on here that if what you’re doing is crap, you’ve not got the opportunity for the next impression. So you’ve got to be doing good content for then someone to choose to consume you. Whereas maybe 40 years ago, you could just pay a crap load of money, and this is when all of these big household brands blew up, because they could just advertise on TV. There was four channels, seven channels, and they’d be capturing tens of millions of people at a time. So you’re totally right, and I will use that example moving forward, but perhaps it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you create good content, then you earn those impressions over time and then those impressions build up. And perhaps that leads to trust.

 

C. Lee Smith:
Yeah, and that’s why I used the pyramid as the model then for the hierarchy of sales credibility, because each level builds upon each other. And you’re not going to get the opportunity to have anything to say to a prospect if what the internet says about you is you’ve got a lousy reputation, or you’re a nobody, then you’re not going to get that opportunity for the rest of the pyramid to even matter. But it builds upon each other.

 

Will Barron:
It’s also fair to say, perhaps, that if we’re talking about Trump as a politician, I don’t know if you were specifically, but I’m going to talk about it.

 

C. Lee Smith:
I kind of was.


Will and Lee Talk About Trump’s Trust Level From a Sales Perspective · [33:56]


Will Barron:
[inaudible [00:33:56] From the outside looking in, I could be somewhat neutral about this. Some people think he’s an idiot. Some people would follow him into a insurrection into political buildings and go crazy, right? So the trust, maybe what we want is the grey area in the middle of this person, most of time they say good things. Sometimes they say things that we need to discuss, but he’s obviously gone down that specific route and he’s got 50% of the nation thinking he’s an idiot and 50% do trust him and do follow him. I think that’s fair to say as well.


“If you have a hater or two or something like that, it’s only because people see that you’re out there and you’re putting yourself out there.” – C. Lee Smith · [34:52]


C. Lee Smith:
Yeah, and I think that history is littered with leaders and politicians and everything like that, that, had a big voice, had the big megaphone and used it and used it often. And you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time. And the other thing too, is immediately then these days too, this also important to note. Relevance, if you have a hater or two or something like that, it’s only because people see that you’re out there and you’re putting yourself out there.

 

C. Lee Smith:
And I prefer to do business with humans and humans make mistakes. Humans need the need to apologise now and then, and believe me, I do it on a regular basis. I forgot where I was going with that, but that was just… You’re going to have haters because you’re putting yourself out there and you’re up there so frequently. So people immediately are going to want to be sceptical about that. And that’s okay. That’s okay. So you’re going to have to answer that and you’re going to have to deal with that, but also how you deal with that also says a lot about you.


Lee Talks About His Company and His Book “Sales Cred” · [35:33]


Will Barron:
Sure. It’s self accountability, it’s your self esteem. There’s multiple layers to all of this, which we’ll get into on another show because I’d love to have you back on, Lee, to dive into this. And could we even touch on the mindset side of things, which I did want to dive into. And so I’ll have you back on in the future, but without tell us about the book and tell us more about SalesFuel and where we can find out more about yourself.

 

C. Lee Smith:
Well, you can learn more about cleesmith.com. That’s the first initial C and then leesmith.com. That’s all about me. My company is salesfuel.com, you can go there. My book, well it’s right here. It’s Sales Cred: How Buyers Qualify Sellers. It’s a quick read and it’s designed for busiest people then to actually be able to go through. And basically it’s almost like reading a Twitter feed, really, all rolled up. But also explains then the hierarchy of sales credibility, a lot of tips, a lot of insight on how salespeople give away their credibility and some of the things that they do and say, and how they say it and how that gives away the credibility instead of building it. And so it can be a negative as well as a positive.

 

C. Lee Smith:
And you can get that book pretty much anywhere where you buy books, whether it be Amazon, it’s an international best seller, Barnes and Noble or any of the other places where you buy books, you’ll be able to find it there. And I’m working on the audiobook right now on that. So that’ll be coming out very shortly, and then at SalesFuel check out some of our SaaS-based products that we have for salespeople. Great stuff there, including we’re launching a training programme then for Sales Cred to help people out. And we’re evaluating then what the internet says about you and some of the language that you use, and grading that and giving you some advice on that.

 

Will Barron:
I’ll link to SalesFuel, everything else that talked about in this episode of the show over at salesman.org. Lee, I want to thank you for your time. I genuinely enjoyed the conversation, mate, and I want to thank you for joining us on the Salesman Podcast.

 

C. Lee Smith:
Thank you very much. Great to be here.

Beat your quota every time

slsm-success 1

Want to become motivated and beat your sales quota with a simple selling tweak?

Browse by catagory:

SALESMAN WEEKLY EMAIL