Credibility: An Entrepreneur’s Greatest Asset

Credibility: An Entrepreneur’s Greatest Asset

If you have elected to pursue a low-cost, referral-based marketing strategy to help build your business, you will only be able to grow it to the extent that people find you credible.  If you have been sending referrals to other business owners, and they haven’t been sending referrals back, it is usually either a training problem, meaning that they don’t know how to find and send referrals to you, or it’s a credibility problem.  When it comes to credibility, there are some things that you have no control over, such as the amount of time you have been in business or your physical features.  But there are many areas where you do have control.  Let’s look at a few.

Be goal oriented.  Having goals in business is important, but just as important is how you articulate them to others.  Increasing profits is a common goal, but if you tell someone you want to grow your business by 50 percent over the next year, their eyes will glaze over and they’ll be thinking about how they can ditch you.  When expressing your goals, talk about some of the smaller objectives you are working on.  You could say something like, “We are expanding into xyz market, so I want to have a new associate in place by January.”  Or, “Things are getting much busier now that we’ve taken on a couple of larger clients, so I’m expanding our work space next month.”  These types of goals give greater credibility to the speaker than talking about just making more money.

Be prepared.  There isn’t much that turns me off more than sitting down for a meeting with a business associate and he isn’t prepared.  We might think that we can fly by the seat of our pants in a meeting and maybe even congratulate ourselves on our performance afterwards, but we’re not fooling anybody.  If you aren’t prepared, people can tell.  And you lose credibility because of it.

Show up on time.  Much of your credibility comes from making other people feel important. One of the easiest ways to do that is to mind those simple courtesies, such as showing up on time, saying please and thank you, and doing what you say you are going to do.  If you show up late, people will wonder if you will also show up late for one of their referrals.  Your referral buddies’ reputations may be on the line when they refer people to you, so you want to give them good reason to believe that you will take good care of their clients, friends, and family.  Showing up on time is an easy way to build credibility.

It’s your business and I bet you love what you do.  If you want to build it into something great, something that you will be proud of and that makes you a good living, take simple steps to make yourself credible in the eyes of others.  Remember that you are always the face of your business and everything you do and say reflects on your ability to attract good referral buddies and clients.

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