Building credibility – it’s a one of the major skills that every professional needs. Whether you are working as an entrepreneur, consultant, running your own business, or a professional, you need to prove you can deliver well.
Establishing credibility can be difficult when you are just beginning — especially when you’re trying to prove your worth to a potential client who doesn’t know the real you yet. With a plan, you can build credibility and rapport and find new clients.
How to keep building credibility with potential clients
Speaking cordially and respectfully
People will form diverse opinions when they meet you for the first time. Whether or not those cold contacts and assumptions will be harnessed and turned into orders depends on how you speak and address them.
You need to make them feel comfortable, so they can openly talk about their challenges. You need to help them feel heard and then help them develop a vision for solving it – and, if appropriate, assure them it’s a problem you can solve and that you can attend to their needs promptly.
You need to take a respectful, cordial approach and restate your capabilities.
No need for overbearing kindness or hoking concern. But, by seeing your clients as people like you, showing respect and giving them the attention they deserve can work wonders.
And use clear, consistent communication. If you sound hazy and ambiguous, it will be difficult for many to trust you, whereas clear, accurate, dependable communication will improve understanding and trust.
Allow their questions to land with you. Let the potential client feel heard. Give prompt, thoughtful answers.
With networking and proper social contacts, you can build credibility with potential clients. People prefer to deal with those they know and trust.
Check in with contacts on a regular schedule – frequent contact, conversation and more formal discussions helps keep you front of mind, but it also lets them know that you are part of their world. Be sure to be genuine and to respect boundaries, while steering away from anything that feels like it’s just to get the sale. Over time, those connections will build trust and referrals.
Consider using published works to establish your credibility.
- Publish blog articles
- Write newsletter pieces
- Guest post on other blogs and websites
- Write letters to the editor
- Write for trade and professional journals
- You could also write and deliver speeches on topics in your field.
Publishing your works will help establish you as a thought leader, well before you need to write a proposal for a potential client.
Consider turning to social media to engage in conversations and build your reputation as a thoughtful leader in your field. You can look at short tweets, build a following on Instagram or even develop video blogs that let people really get to know you and your vision.
Speaking at events and even to small groups can also help people get to know you. Once you’re given a podium, people naturally start to see your authority. If this seems overwhelming, keep in mind that you can build up to it, leverage other ways of communicating or work on your skills through a safe space, such as Toastmasters.
Consistent, as-promised delivery stands out. It’s essential to building credibility with both ongoing clients and potential ones.
With efficient and good service, you’ll retain existing clients and encourage them to refer you to others. That good work fosters trust and durability. It’s the best form of ‘social proof’ out there.
None of this suggests that you make too much out of the ordinary. We speak, write, network and meet with people every day.
But keeping your credibility and good faith in mind as you go through your business day and processes will help build trust and authority with clients – and establish you as a preferred provider, worthy of your consulting fees, trust and time. Work at it and you’ll be on your way to building credibility with potential clients, existing clients and the world at large.
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