Having good credibility with your customers is essential for everyone – but especially for 21st century salespeople.
Having high credibility will mean that you are the ‘Go-to’ person when opinions or validation is needed, it means your proposals or ideas are more likely to be listened to and actioned.
How credibility is built
Whenever you meet someone for the first time – and to be fair, every time you encounter someone, you judge them on an imaginary horizontal scale of one to ten against the traits that are either
- Important to you or
- Necessary to show competence
The composite scores impact on your credibility on a vertical again on a one to ten scale.
I have used knowledge in this example – but it could be looks, humour, empathy, formality – or any of millions of traits or qualities you might want to measure – at any particular time.
Within these two dimensions there is an exponential curve which extends from 0-0 up to 10-9 – note it doesn’t go all the way to 10-10 [there is a point at which the other party becomes a ‘know-it-all’ or pompous self-important and therefore the credibility plummets back to the horizontal zero line!
We look at the other party and as we converse or observe we allocate a notional score in terms of what we expect to see for their age, life experience and in some cases title. An average score would be Five.
If during the discussion you can show that your knowledge on a particular subject – or indeed your general knowledge is more than the average for your age, life experience or title might suggest then your credibility goes up exponentially
As you can see a move from 5 to 7 makes a change in credibility from one and a half to Four and a half.
So, in business, and in life it is not only important to look the part and act the part but also to spend time on increasing your knowledge of the world and particularly the business and personal environment of your customers, this ensures that you always have the optimum credibility.
The idea is to use questions and conversations to remain between six and eight on the horizontal scale – don’t try to ‘blow them away’ with your knowledge – or you may fall foul of the nine – ten ‘dead man drop’ – being categorized as a know-it-all.
The other thing to be aware of is that the horizontal scale increases as you gain age, experience and the buyer expects more from you – but s/he will move the average expected for everyone else too, therefore as your credibility increases the competition will find it harder to be credible!
Use the 7C’s of knowledge to build your knowledge every day.
Take the 7C’s of knowledge test - FREE
Mark yourself out of 10 for each of the 7C’s and see where your knowledge level is currently, identify the areas to improve and plan to improve them – as well as your credibility with customers the same principle applies to social contacts too [against the criteria you hold dear in a social context].to explore new ways of doing business with your customers.
Three great reasons to drive your knowledge
People with high credibility tend to get promoted more frequently, they earn more money, and they are happier in life. If you can link any three random facts or statements and articulate the link then your blood will be flooded with Oxytocin, Serotonin and Dopamine – which all make humans happier.