“To be persuasive, we must be believable; to be believable, we must be credible; to be credible, we must be truthful.” — Edward R. Murrow
Although Murrow was specifically referring to the practice of good journalism, his shrewd statement can also be applied to the practice of good business, in which credibility and trust are the bedrock of every healthy relationship.
Whether you’re in marketing, sales, or customer support, here are five ways to start building credibility with your customers:
1. Be genuine.
Customers can tell when your intentions are not genuine, and that can be off-putting. Remember, deception will get you nowhere in the long run. So, take the time to understand what your customers are trying to achieve. They will appreciate it when you go out of your way to help them make informed decisions.
Listen to your customers’ pain points, and think about how you can address them. Meet your customers face-to-face as often as possible, and get familiar with their likes and dislikes. But before you make attempts to persuade them, you need to make sure your thoughts and actions mirror the promise of your company or brand. So, make efforts to stay in touch with them outside of sales calls, and ask how they are doing. Customers continue to give you business when they know you and like you.
3. Take the high road.
Managing your schedule is highly important to keep up your commitment. Be approachable at all times. If you do not deliver on your promises, nothing you say or do to convince your customer will be effective. By taking full responsibility for your mistakes, you show you are not afraid to admit when you are wrong and are willing to learn from them.
4. Find your niche.
Because there is a variety of channels to improve your visibility and reach your target audience, it’s important that you set yourself apart from other salespeople, so know everything there is to know about your industry, product, or space.
But this is just the beginning. Attend events and trade shows to connect with people and make an impression by demonstrating your knowledge and capability. Pay attention to details because little things go a long way towards building credibility with your audience.
5. Be heard.
It’s a noisy world out there with a plethora of social media channels. In order to stand out, you’ve got to have a unique voice and establish yourself as someone worthy of attention. So, have a strong online presence by choosing one or two social media channels and provide valuable content. Check your facts before you post them; give credit where credit is due.
As you gain credibility with your audience, you’ll begin building your referral base. You will have established relationships with your customers, and most likely they’ll be more willing to give you a testimonial, case study, or endorse you in the future.
In the end, it comes down to three simple things:
1. Be who you say you are.
2. Do what you say you’ll do.
3. Know what you say you know.
You’ll inevitably gain credibility. Trust me.