08.11.20167 min read

5 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Building Credibility

Has this ever happened to you? You’re sitting with a prospect discussing the features and benefits of your offering. You feel like you’re doing a good job explaining why she needs it, but she just doesn’t seem to be very receptive to what you’re saying.

She understands what you’re saying, but she just doesn’t seem very confident about your offering. In the end, she decides not to buy what you’re selling.

It’s happened to all of us.

So why didn’t she buy? Because she didn’t believe you.

She didn’t believe you because you didn’t take the time to build credibility. You didn’t show her that your company can do what you say it can. While she agreed that your offering sounded great, she just didn’t know if it could do what you said it could do.

Don’t beat yourself up over it—we’ve all made this mistake.

Here’s the thing: The core of a business is always trust, both when it comes to building your customer’s confidence or inducing other companies to feel comfortable doing business with you. Having an air of credibility will make people feel respect, even when you’ve never worked together before.

There are some steps you can take to be viewed as a respectable business from the beginning, but this is not something that is usually built overnight, right? You will have to be patient and build your credibility by being consistent and delivering genuinely good service—and this is something that’s hard to fake.

This post will provide some actionable tips that will help you lower your prospect’s guard and get them to feel more confident in your offering.

The best way to provide proof of your claims

You probably already know this, but I’m going to remind you anyway. Just telling people that you’re a great company isn’t enough. You’re never going to alleviate your prospect’s doubts with great salesmanship alone.

You need to prove it. How? By telling stories.

Use examples of successes that you have had in the past. You need to show prospects that you have given others awesome service and that you can do the same for them. The best way to do this is through storytelling.

Om Parkash, founder of Mayaflowers often uses stories when engaging with his prospects.

“I find stories to be the easiest way to put people at ease. There’s just something about hearing how other people have had their problems solved that makes them feel better about doing business with you.”

Stories are easier to remember; people remember facts in context, and they’re not very good at remembering random figures or bits of information without the backbone of a narrative. It’s the narrative that’s going to enable your prospect to visualize the types of benefits your company can bring.

It’s not about what you know

Pretty obvious, right? Needless to say, you shouldn’t even be in business if you don’t have a certain level of knowledge in your field. If you do know what you’re talking about, though, make sure that people realize that.

However, the issue isn’t your knowledge. The issue is how you use this knowledge to build credibility and provide value.

You don’t need to give long lectures to show off your knowledge. You just need to be able to have an intelligent conversation about your industry with your prospects.

Here are some tips:

  • Stay up-to-date with any major news that happens in your industry.
  • Try to build relationships with other influencers in your field. These relationships will lend you a certain amount of credibility.
  • Create consistent content that provides insights and value to any prospects that read it.
  • There are several different types of content that can help you do this.

When you show that you have the expertise necessary to help your prospects, it will lower their guard and erase any doubts they may already have.

Building credibility means providing value

Sometimes people think that you should keep all of your knowledge to yourself. They think it’s a good idea to withhold information until the prospect decides to buy. I disagree.

Like I said in the last section, the issue isn’t your knowledge, it’s how you use it.

The problem with keeping your expertise to yourself is that you’re missing the opportunity to build influence. It’s better to use your expertise to educate and inform your prospects and customers because it makes you more valuable to them. The amount of influence you have is directly tied to the amount of value you bring.

If you want to be valuable, you need to give them as much of a benefit as you can. It’s a great way to use the reciprocity principle to build influence.

Does this mean that you spill all of your secrets to each prospect? Of course not. That would be silly.

What I’m saying is that you can give advice and insight to your prospects who don’t have the level of knowledge that you have. This builds trust and creates a sense of comfort. Why? Because your prospect will see you as someone who is there to make sure that they are taken care of. People love this.

You don't know what you don't know

One of the most important things that a person should acknowledge is that they don’t know what they don’t know. In other words, even when you’re an expert, there will be things that you don’t know. That’s OK.

If someone asks you to solve a problem and you have no idea where to begin, have the humility to admit that you don’t know. Then, assure them that you will find out what needs to be done and get back to them with the solution.

Of course, there may be times when you have to do the unthinkable. You might have to send them to a competitor.

Don’t be too proud to send your customers to a competitor if that’s what it takes. It may be a small blow to the ego, but in the long run, your prospect will remember your honesty, and they may gladly come back to you for something else.

This kinda sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Well, think about it this way—what if you tell them you can solve the problem, then fail? That wouldn’t be very fun, would it?

The point of your business is to solve your customer’s problems, and sometimes you have to accept that their problems are better solved elsewhere.

Start closing more deals

Here’s the bottom line: If you don’t take the time to build credibility, you will be leaving money on the table. People need to feel comfortable with you before they decide to buy from you.

Use the tips in this article and you will see how much better your conversations will become. You will notice that your prospects are much more open to hearing what you have to say. This is because you did your part in building credibility.

The result? More closed deals.

This article was written by Jeff Charles from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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