5 Ways to Build Authority With Any Prospect


In a previous post, I outlined six ways to quickly win your prospect’s trust. But while trust is necessary for a good working relationship, it’s not enough. You have to establish authority as well.

When you call a prospect for the first time, you probably haven’t given them any reason to care about what you’re saying. They’re thinking:

    • Who is this person?
    • Why should I believe anything they say?
    • Do they even know anything about me?

Authority is different from trust. Establishing authority requires showing that you’re a specialist in a particular subject matter or process, and possess a particular skill set that can help your prospect.

Establishing authority is also necessary to stay in control of the sales process. If you seem like a hot mess, your prospects won’t believe that you’re able to truly understand their problems, much less help them come up with a viable solution. Sales reps who convey authority come prepared to calls, think a few steps ahead, and project confidence.

Generally speaking, being authoritative usually requires a person to be forceful, confident, and direct. But authority takes on a slightly different meaning in sales and is therefore expressed in different ways. Here are five techniques salespeople can use to build authority with prospects.

1) Start your calls with an agenda and a question.

Setting an agenda shows your prospect you’ve thought deeply about your business relationship and how to advance it in a productive manner.

Always ask your prospect to review your agenda and confirm it makes sense. Steamrolling your prospect is the opposite of authority — there’s a huge difference between being controlling and being in control (more on that later). Be flexible and willing to adapt if that’s what your prospect wants.

The question signals that while you’re in control, you’re not going to force your prospect into anything. You care what they have to say. Some examples of good opening questions include:

    • “How’s everything going [in relation to discussed goals or plans]?” Ask for a status update early on to quickly surface potential roadblocks.
    • “When we last spoke, we discussed X and decided on Y. Does Y still make sense?” Confirm that you and your prospect are on the same page. If you’re not, find out why.
    • “Before we get started today, is there anything you think I should know?” A mix of #1 and #2, this question gives your prospect the opportunity to discuss information that’s important to them — and may wind up being crucial to your sale.

2) Demonstrate your experience.

If a salesperson said to you, “Trust me, I’ve seen your situation a million times — everything will be fine,” how would you respond?

If you’re savvy, you’ll say, “Oh, really? Give me an example.”

Your prospect has no reason to believe that you have a track record of success unless you show them what you’ve done. Whether it’s sharing anecdotal examples, setting up a call with a satisfied customer, or providing a walkthrough of the sales process, your prospect will be far more likely to listen to what you say if you’re able to prove you know your stuff.

3) Work how the prospect wants to work.

What’s the difference between being controlling and being in control?

A controlling salesperson is rigid and inflexible. He won’t change his approach no matter what his prospect says, because he believes his way is the only way. And guess what? He probably doesn’t close a lot of deals.

A rep who’s in control knows this isn’t an effective tactic. She’s not afraid to change her strategies if it turns out her prospect needs something a little different. By being adaptable, she’s demonstrating that she’s an expert seller — all while making her prospect feel as comfortable as possible.

The takeaway? Always ask your prospect if they’re in agreement with you before taking a step. For example, you might say, “What I’d like to do now is spend 30 minutes taking you through X. Is that okay with you? Will you let me know if I start talking too fast, too slow, or if you have any questions?”

By getting your prospect’s buy-in, you’ve automatically made them a stakeholder in the process and confirmed that you’re proceeding at their desired cadence.

4) Be businesslike with a personality.

I love making people laugh. When people are having a good time, they’re more relaxed and more real.

Authority doesn’t mean being so lofty and out-of-reach that your prospects can’t relate to you. I use analogies to make my prospects smile — “moving faster than a hungry dog to a hot dog cart” is one of my favorites. Humor allows me to foster a connection with my prospect, who is then more likely to tell me the truth.

Here’s another way in which I bring my personality to selling. I like to ask whether the process has been easy or hard, stressful or relaxing, fun or a pain. This tells me whether the prospect has done this before and is following a set plan, or is winging it and needs a bit more help.

Like trust, authority is easier to gain if your prospect believes you’re genuine. You can’t get by on likability alone, but I always bring my personality to the table because the rapport I build with my prospects makes them more receptive to my direction. Ultimately, prospects are more likely to be forthcoming if they feel you’re genuine. And unless you understand their needs, you can’t tailor the sales process to their unique situation.

5) Recap.

At the end of every conversation, clearly list the next steps for both you and your prospect, and attach due dates. Email out a written summary after each call recapping what’s been done and what’s next, and ask for updates, changes, or questions.

Keep in mind that your prospects are busy people, and they depend on you to keep them organized and remind them of what to expect next.

It’s essential to stay in control of a sales process. You simply can’t close deals if your prospect doesn’t put stock in what you say. Moreover, you can’t successfully anticipate objections or accurately forecast deals without a plan and the ability to get your prospect to follow you. And to do that, you need to establish authority.

Source: hubspot.com ~ By Dan Tyre ~ Image: Canva Pro

How to Exercise Your Sales Authority Correctly


In his seminal masterpiece, Influence – the Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini offers six key principles of influence. Among the Big Six: is the principle of authority.

Put simply, we are greatly influenced (in ways we do not always understand) by our impressions of authority. This is not about sales tactics; this is about human nature.

Consider the captain of the sports team. Or your local congressperson. Or your physician. We have a natural tendency to respect authority, and thus to follow the advice of the authoritarian leaders in our lives.

So how do we exercise authority in the sales realm? Here are three ideas. Use these as a checklist in your own presentation.

1. Know your stuff
I know, you’ve heard it before. Know your product, know your competition, know your market, etc.

All that is true (and it will always be true). But I want to look at an advanced form of knowledge – that which you know about your buyer profile.

Selling to Baby Boomers? It would behoove you to understand their goals in the last one-third of their lifetime. Have a lot of Filipinos in your buyer base? 30 minutes on understanding the fascinating and often-troubling history of the nation will give you incredible insight. Engineers? It’s probably worth your time to study basic but important tech trends.

The key is to gain knowledge even when you don’t know how you will use it. And trust me – you will most certainly use it.

2. Look the part
The pharmacist wears a white lab coat. Why? Is that really necessary? Well, yes…if she wants to earn the respect of a customer. (Would you trust a pharmacist in jeans and a tank top?)

How you dress, how you stand, and what you hold – all speak to perceived authority. Studies show that simply holding a clipboard can make a huge difference in how you are perceived.

There is a very simple test here. Look in the mirror and ask the question, “Would I influence myself?” That inquiry might cause you to stand taller, exercise better facial posture, and perhaps even buy a new shirt.

3. Speak with clarity
I’m not talking about diction, but rather about resoluteness. in an attempt of showing kindness and caring, too many salespeople speak in a wishy-washy manner. It’s nice and all, but it certainly isn’t authoritative.

Consider talking with your financial planner. How high would your trust be if he said, “You know, there are a lot of ways to handle this and I certainly don’t want to force anything on you, so I’ll just lay out your options and you can decide.” Uh….no. I want someone who knows me so well that the options are clear and delivered with conviction.

The fact is that your customer wants to see your authority. They are looking for you to believe in yourself.

If they see that you can lead, they follow. If not, they walk.

Source: jeffshore.com ~ Image: Canva Pro

6 Ways To Communicate With More Authority


It takes courage to voice your ideas and stick up for them. These tips can help.

Hierarchy is disappearing in many companies, and that’s opening the door for employees at every level to contribute–and even lead. The trouble is, many of us haven’t picked up the skills we need to make our voices heard. These six tips can help you get comfortable with communicating with more authority across your entire organization and even outside it.


It takes some courage to share your ideas at work. Especially if the goal is to influence people outside your immediate team, including those you don’t have any power over—your boss, a senior executive, a prospective client, you name it—you might feel like you’re stepping out of line.

But consider this: The word “courage” includes the Latin root “cor,” meaning “heart.” Don’t share ideas or beliefs that aren’t heartfelt. You need to have a strong conviction in your ideas before asking others to consider them. But if you believe you have a contribution to make, go for it!


Once you’ve decided that the point you have to make is worthwhile, state it boldly, clearly, and confidently. Never lead with an apology (“I’m sorry if I’m saying something you already know”), introduce caveats (“I’m not sure about this, but let me give it a try”), insert tentative language (“It could be that . . . “; “My best guess is . . . ”), fill in the background information first.

Get right to your point. Clarity and directness give you power and authority, especially when you’re trying to communicate with higher-level leaders.


Defend your ideas if it turns out that you need to. It may be tough to stand up to dissenting views, particularly if the opposition comes from people more senior than you. But remember that the ideas most worth sharing is likely to be at least a little controversial. So when you say something new, expect to be challenged, then rise to the occasion by showing why you’ve taken your position.

When you do respond, be careful not to be defensive or aggressive–that will only make you look less confident and undermine your message. Instead, acknowledge the other person’s point of view, and succinctly, politely explain why you see things differently. Remember that every challenge gives you an opportunity to reaffirm your point. Welcome it as an opportunity.


I’ve coached leaders at all levels, and often senior officers tell me that they value thoughtful input that sparks dialogue—they like it when people challenge each other and share contrary views. “That’s what we’re paying them for,” one CEO told me. “We want their best ideas.”

So when you bring critical thinking to the table, do it in a collaborative spirit. When you challenge a plan, don’t just say, “You’re wrong” or “I disagree.” Instead, say, “I understand where you’re coming from, but let’s take your logic one step further.” Or ask, “Could we achieve the same goal more cost-effectively, by . . .” That dialogue builds better solutions than either staying quiet or getting combative.


It takes courage to communicate in the same open, confident way to everyone. Most of us are conditioned to address people differently, according to their relative authority. So keep that in mind. Don’t talk to senior leaders sycophantically. Phrases like “with all due respect” or “to be honest” sound condescending. By the same token, don’t let executives take over the conversation or silence you. There’s always a temptation to defer to those who have more power than you. But they won’t respect you for that. Ultimately, the best way to show respect for upper-level managers is by sharing your best ideas with them.

And when you address those less senior to you, show an equal degree of respect. Listen to them carefully, acknowledge their views, and build on their ideas wherever you can. Communicating forcefully isn’t possible if it doesn’t come from a place of respect, no matter where it’s directed.


Finally, it can take extraordinary courage simply to be yourself while you’re sharing your ideas, especially if you work in a company on a team where you aren’t necessarily seen as someone to voice your views.

Sometimes that isn’t always personal–it’s cultural. As you look around at your peers, you might feel there’s a normal way of dressing, speaking, looking, and acting. There’s no need to resist corporate culture in your effort to become a more powerful communicator.

But you also need to have the courage to preserve your spontaneity, creative energy, vitality, and sense of humor. Suppressing those qualities won’t serve you, your message, or your company.

Source: fastcompany.com ~ By Judith Humphrey ~ Image: Canva Pro

Sell the Lifestyle not the Product

Sell the Lifestyle not the Product

It’s nothing new, in fact, it’s a tale as old as time, but nonetheless, it can help to go back to basics every now and then. Selling your product (or service) based on the lifestyle benefits you offer will ultimately result in more sales, here’s why…

If you use the why, why, why test to drill down to the core benefits of your offering, you will inevitably end up at the lifestyle benefits. For example, if you sell financial services, people need you because they need to make sure they have the financial security they need to make sure their family has a roof over their heads at night and food on the table because that will stop them from having a crappy lifestyle and dying cold and miserable.

So a financial services company would be well advised to sell the freedom they offer their clients. The peace of mind and the long-lasting happy life their clients can enjoy as a result of their help. The feeling of relief and gratitude they’ll have in their old age that they don’t have to work because they had a good supervisor, or made good investments.

Because that’s not only what people need, it’s what they want. People want an enjoyable lifestyle, they want happiness and freedom. They want to ease their stress, spend more time with their family, and live in the now worry-free.

That’s why this is the age of influencer marketing – the number 1 thing that rises above the noise time and time again, is people living an enviable lifestyle. That’s why there are thousands of agencies worldwide whose job is to connect influencers with brands. Because it’s the easiest way to associate the brand with an authentic lifestyle that people want.

Selling the lifestyle instead of the product will establish an emotional connection with your customers. It will make your offering something they wish they had in their lives because then they can have the lifestyle they dream of.

Source: blackirisfilms.com ~ Image: Canva Pro

Why You Need To Sell A Lifestyle—No A Product

Selling a lifestyle will help you close more sales than actually selling a product. These days, thanks to social media, everyone wants to be rich. We follow people like Tom Brady, Dan Bilzerian, and a slew of others who have worked their asses off to become successful in life. We want the results of their hard work.

But a lot of folks just aren’t interested in the hard work part.

I’ve followed guys like Grant Cardone, Tai Lopez, and Gary V for years now, and I have noticed all three have a trait in common that’s made them successful.

They’re not necessarily selling a product.

They’re not selling a digital product. They’re not selling sales training, affiliate marketing, or books. But what they are selling is the opportunity to enjoy a lifestyle similar to theirs.

When these guys roll around in their fancy cars and hang out in their huge mansions, even though what they might be saying on camera is relevant, intelligent, and helpful, the average person is studying the lifestyle they live. Viewers are saying, “I’d like to have that lifestyle. I want to model this person, so I can ultimately have the same end result for my life.” You never hear these guys really pitch products. Even on their webinars, they position themselves to the people watching as if what they have is attainable. “This could be yours.”

You’ll note excellent takeaways if you follow them closely. Watch their entire process, and you will learn their strategy and why it works. These guys are some of the most popular business gurus in all of the social media, and when you pay attention, they will reveal to you what the populace wants. If they’re the most popular and it’s working for them, don’t fight it.

I’ve been saying this for years: people want the hole, not the drill. You see, a lot of times, salespeople try to sell the drill. But what people really want is the hole. I use this analogy with my mortgage clients all the time. People don’t want a mortgage, they want a house. They don’t want a realtor or investor, they want the profits that come from flipping a house. I tell people working in insurance that their clients are not looking for an insurance policy. They simply don’t want to go to jail or be broke in the event a catastrophe happens.

But often, people get focused on selling the insurance, on selling the mortgages, on selling the real estate, instead of selling the result and the lifestyle that comes along with it. To use the example of real estate, people only move for a finite number of reasons: relocation, families expanding, families contracting, empty nesters, kids going off to college, retiring, upsizing, downsizing, and so on and so forth.

An event has altered their lifestyle that’s causing them to move. Once you understand what it is, that’s in their life right at that moment, and you position yourself as the key to them having that lifestyle, true sales will be made.

Let’s be real. Nobody, including me, wants to work hard. Working hard is a result of what you see in my life—the supercars and living in a nice neighborhood, trips all over the country and the world, etc. But no one wants hard work.

Hard work separates the average person from getting the result, and from having the lifestyle they crave.

If you sell cars for a reason, the cars are not important. It’s the lifestyle that goes along with owning that type of car that matters to the consumer.

So, if you want to make more sales, especially if you’re a social media personality, coach or mentor, if you’re on video on a regular basis, or you sell through webinars, instead of focusing on selling your product, focus on the result of your sales and the lifestyle that comes along with it. When you do that, you will find yourself with a massive following just like the people I mentioned above.

But, remember, the average person isn’t looking to work hard. The average person doesn’t want a digital product. The average person doesn’t want a mortgage. What they want is the lifestyle that comes as a result of those products and services. Start selling the lifestyle, and you’ll be light years ahead of your competition.

Source: influencive.com ~ By RYAN STEWMAN ~ Image: Canva Pro

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