If you’re planning a start-up business and feel you lack credibility in the marketplace, there’s good news. First, you’re not alone. It’s only natural to feel like you lack credibility when you enter the marketplace for the first time because, in all probability, you do. But that’s a challenge you can easily overcome.
Other than updating your bio to showcase your skills or chatting yourself up at the water cooler, you probably haven’t been spending massive amounts of time promoting yourself. But through the magic of the internet, you’ve navigated your way here. In less than six minutes, you’ll acquire the knowledge you need to begin developing credibility in the marketplace. Utilize these seven credibility-building strategies that cost you absolutely nothing and are available at the scroll of your mouse.
Why you absolutely, positively must do everything possible to build credibility
So, what’s all of this talk about building credibility in the marketplace really about?
It’s about success and failure. With credibility, you’re ready to strike out on your own and soar with the eagles. Without credibility, you’re stuck in a nest of flightless emus waiting for momma to deliver a worm every now and then.
• Builds trust between you and your customers
• Allows you to strategically position yourself in the marketplace
• Offers you a competitive advantage over the zillions of other businesses offering services similar to yours
• Earns you referrals
• Leads to invitations to speak and teach at industry-specific events
• Builds a pathway to expert status and even more success
Why you absolutely, positively must do everything possible to avoid destroying your credibility
Don’t accidentally put a hit out on your own credibility. If you think that statement’s a bit harsh, keep reading – it’s easier to scramble and fry yourself than you think. Take a friend’s advice and avoid these all-too-common credibility assassins:
• Grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes, in addition to overall amateurish writing, sabotage credibility. If all that textbook grammar stuff isn’t your thing, ask a friend to proof your work or hire a proofreader to point out and correct mistakes before you publish.
• Passing blame to your printer, the mail service, an internet connection and anyone and everything else on the planet for your mistakes leaves a sour note in everyone’s mouth. Own up to what you do well and own up to your blunders.
• Avoid belittling other professionals and delivering public put‑downs. Focus on yourself, your abilities and your values and let the universe take care of the rest.
• Never take credit for other people’s work. It’s not only sleazy; it’s unethical and quite possibly illegal too. And remember, at the end of the day, the only reputation you’re damaging is your own.
• No web design experience spells disaster. Nothing extracts more from a business’ credibility than a “House that Jack Tried to Build” website. Do yourself a favor – hire a professional web designer, move on and continue to do the things you do well.
Now that you understand the importance of building credibility and how to avoid sabotaging it, it’s time to get down in the trenches and dig into the nitty gritty details (and methods) you can employ today on your quest toward credibility
The benefits of putting a credibility-building strategy in place are endless. As you learned earlier, credibility builds trust between you and your clients, enables you to strategically position yourself in the marketplace, gives you a competitive advantage, earns you referrals, gets you invites to speak and teach at industry-specific events and builds a pathway toward expert status and more success.
But, all of this won’t amount to a hill of beans until you put what you learn into action.
Post these seven credibility-building strategies on your wall, your fridge or your pet panda as a reminder to take some type of action every day as you formulate a plan to strategically position yourself in the marketplace.
#1 – Keep your promises.
Repeat three times – keep your promises, keep your promises, keep your promises but don’t overpromise. If you’re tempted to overpromise, focus on what you can do and admit what you can’t. Sometimes you don’t have an immediate solution. Admit that you don’t and formulate a plan to follow up with your client or refer your client to an expert in your network. And, for Pete’s sake, don’t leave the prospect hanging – follow up regularly so your client knows you’re still working on a solution.
#2 – Be present, show up and position yourself as the go-to person.
Attend in-person events, publish scheduled blog posts, reach out on social media and keep connections in your network buzzing with activity. Diligence pays off when responding to questions, email requests and phone messages, even when tactfully averting requests for free service. And, unless earth has somehow become unhitched from the universe, never, ever cancel a commitment. That’s how go-to people do business.
#3 – Prepare yourself before meeting with prospective customers and offer rock solid results.
Clear values and a mission statement prepare you to showcase the skills you bring to the table. One-pagers and other marketing tools give your presentation focus and speak directly to your prospects’ needs and challenges. In fact, they’re designed to illustrate how you’ve already solved problems similar to what your prospect is experiencing in the here and now. You can’t get more rock solid than that.
#4 – Show your clients you care. Listen to their needs and challenges and offer solutions.
Challenges are typically the reason clients need services in the first place. Ask questions about the prospect’s business, actively listen and keep an ear out for inroads and appropriate lulls in the conversation and step in with solutions. Listen, respond and care.
#5 – Earn certifications and professional credentials, then show them off (just a little).
Offering credentials isn’t an in-your-face kind of thing, but credentials do prove you’re actively engaged in your field and can back up your claims with proven knowledge and experience. List your certifications and credentials on the “About Me” section of your website, on your business cards and in your marketing materials as appropriate. See how easy it is to show off a little without nauseating your prospects?
#6 – Build strong relationships through networking and volunteering.
Join professional associations related to your field and, circling back to #5, look into certifications offered through those associations. Network inside and outside of the association, attend conferences, get to know organizers and decision-makers, market yourself as a speaker or course leader in your local area, publish e-books and keep an eye out for industry-related volunteer opportunities.
#7 – Name your price, set boundaries and stick with your values.
Don’t let your customer drive all of the negotiations especially when it comes to setting your prices. Never agree to a lesser fee unless there’s a clear future benefit attached to the compromise. If and when issues arise, tactfully take a stand and never apologize for your pricing scheme.
Congratulations, you’re now ready to better position yourself in the marketplace. Put these strategies into action and you’ll be soaring with the eagles in no time at all.
If you have any questions, our team would be more than happy to help. Call us today at (215)-393-9787.