Edification to Increase Your Sales

If you're a professional salesperson, you know how important "third-party credibility" is when it comes to your prospect's perception of you and your product or service. Put more simply, your prospect will believe something good about you that *someone else* says more than they'll believe the good about you that *you* say. This is one reason why testimonial letters are so valuable.

Another type of credibility, however, comes from you edifying, meaning "complimenting, or building up" your associates. For example, when I was selling in-home solar energy equipment; a superb product but a very expensive upfront price, I had one advantage and one disadvantage. My advantage was knowledge of the sales and positive persuasion process. My disadvantage was being about as technically ignorant as one could possibly be (and that's an understatement).

So, what I'd do is bring along an associate by the name of Ed. Though not exactly a colorful personality, Ed was in fact a brilliant engineer. It was very easy for me to, while in the midst of my presentation, field questions by asking Ed to explain.

The key, however, was that before and throughout the presentation, I "edified" to the prospect, again and again, Ed's genius (and he truly was). This provided, for the prospect, total credibility regarding Ed's suggestions and thus, an equal amount of credibility to my presentation. The prospect understood that I answered only what I knew and was impressed by my complimentary attitude toward my associate.

Another helpful idea is to edify other people within the company with whom your prospect might need to transact after he or she moves from prospect to customer or client.

For example, "Dave in our customer service department is a terrific guy. You'll find him very helpful." Or, "Marianne in accounting is a whiz with numbers and she's wonderful at explaining the finances so even I can understand. You can always feel free to ask her any questions." "The installers you'll meet tomorrow - Mark and Susan - are real pros. They do an excellent job."

Two points: The first is that all of this must be true. If not, you're in big trouble when the time comes that they interact, as well as your personally knowing that you told a fib, which you don't want to do.

Secondly, you have a degree of control here, which I suggest you utilize in a very positive way. Let the rest of the team know how much you respect their work and that you've let the customers know about them. When they come through for you, send a handwritten note of thanks and congratulations. Send a letter to them personally, to their supervisor, and to the big boss as well, letting him or her know how great a job that person did.

And, of course, as discussed in an article entitled, "The Reverse Gossip Game" (you can read this article in our new website library by going to http://www.burg.com/reversegossip.html) edify all of your team members to each other "behind their backs" Word will eventually get back to those you've edified and you'll have one very cohesive team, all working diligently to live up to your reputation of them.

Bob Burg ( http://www.burg.com ) is author of "Endless Referrals" (McGraw-Hill) and "Winning Without Intimidation: How to Master the Art of Positive Persuasion in Today's Real World" (Samark Publishing).

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