Whether you are just setting out in the world of business, or have started to achieve some traction, the second you lose your credibility, your business dreams and aspirations could come to an end quickly. Without credibility, nobody will trust you, and your business ambitions will quickly evaporate.
Credibility is non-negotiable, which means that it must continually be earned and maintained. That being said, establishing and then growing your credibility is readily achievable, provided you follow certain rules and guidelines. To further assist you, here are some practical ways that anyone can establish and then nurture their credibility.
Don’t Hide Behind Corporate Logos; Be Yourself
Your credibility relies on you as a person when it comes to business–people typically invest in people. Be an individual who brings something unique to the table, rather than yet another bland corporate robot who simply quotes the company jargon like every other employee.
Know Your Products Inside And Out
There is no such thing as the perfect product; every item has flaws or areas where your competitor has an advantage. It is essential that you know and understand everything about the product and company you represent. This knowledge will give you the confidence and credibility to speak with unwavering certainty, which in return will make your presentations vastly more credible. Compare this with someone who has inferior knowledge and goes down the path of guesses or false promises, aka the single quickest path to losing credibility.
Listen And Respond Appropriately
Listening is one of the most undervalued and underused skills. Rather than answering the question that was asked, people have a tendency to respond to the question they think was asked or the question they wanted to answer. You will gain much more credibility if you listen properly, take time to formulate your answer, and then respond honestly and succinctly to the question asked.
Be Honest And Open
The quickest way to destroy any and all of your credibility is to lie. Never promise a customer that you can deliver something when you know you simply can’t. Many companies will agree to provide 10,000 units within a month, knowing that their maximum output is 6,000 units, simply to close the deal. Although this may close sales, it is short-term thinking and will never lead to a long-term sustainable business. Set realistic expectations and timeframes safe in the knowledge that you can deliver. This will build trust and credibility, and lay the foundations for a long-term profitable relationship for both parties.
Employ The Right Staff
Everyone possesses a different skill-set, and one of the most important decisions of an entrepreneur is to have the right team behind them. Having the designer of a product who doesn’t fully understand the financial figures doing the sales pitch to prospective investors will destroy the credibility of the company, regardless of how good the product is. Investors by their very nature will be wary, so the presentation needs to be factual and well presented, which in turn makes it credible.
Ask For Endorsements
When someone else is prepared to recommend you or praise you in public, the value of your credibility is priceless. If that person is highly regarded within the industry, then the implied recommendation is even more valuable. If a client is delighted with the work you have completed for them, never be afraid to ask for an endorsement. Provided you have delivered as promised, they will be only happy to recommend you. Third party recommendations will always hold a lot of weight in the eyes of potential new clients, as there is only more business and credibility to be gained with it.
Establishing credibility is a long and challenging process. Consider every decision you make in the long-term, and never fluctuate from your ideals or stoop below your potential. Perhaps the most important rule of all is to remember that many years of credible work can be destroyed by a single lapse in judgement, so always make decisions based on the long-term, rather than the short.