There are many factors responsible for scaling business sales and building a brand, and knowing how to build credibility is one of them.
When you have a business establishment, one of the things people look out for to patronize you and trust you is your level of credibility.
Additionally, the ability to form alliances with other firms or organizations that place you in a good and strong position professionally also boils down to credibility.
When you build credibility, people generally see you as a point of reference and a valuable asset and resource.
Additionally, it is easier for others to trust your intuitions, suggestions, and decisions when you are credible.
Building credibility has also been found to contribute to more open communication and collaboration between two or more parties.
With credibility comes a reputation that makes you stand above others and earn you recognition in your field or industry.
You heard this word used a lot especially in industries that focus on information dissemination and communications.
For example, a magazine distribution company must have the credibility to stay relevant in business, as people largely depend on them for news.
Also, any business that sells products and services equally needs to build credibility, for the prospective and current customers to believe their claims as to the features and benefits of their products.
As we go further in this article, we will outline the benefits of building credibility one at a time.
Also, you will see that building credibility is more or less having certain desirable qualities in the right proportion.
Those qualities you need to cultivate to attain this status would be considered.
But first, let us understand what the word ‘Credibility’ really means, and why it is important in business.
How to Build Credibility – What is Credibility?
Credibility is a quality that an individual or organization is said to possess that makes them believable and trustworthy.
It is a quality of being convincing enough owing to a track record of reliability and trustworthiness, making one believable.
Usually, before someone can build credibility in himself or his business, he must how by experience that he is reliable.
And that is why before one can be said to lack credibility, such one would have shown multiple signs of lacking reliability and not trustworthy.
On the other hand, when you have credibility, people around you would have seen overwhelming signs and evidence to know that you are honest and reliable.
Hence, whenever you share your views and opinions with these, it carries weight and is more likely to be accepted.
Not only that, but when you introduce products and services, it is easier to get patronage, thanks to your credibility.
Another factor that can contribute to how people perceive your credibility in addition to trustworthiness is expertise.
Usually, before people make their decisions on what business to align which and which ones to avoid, they look at the level of expertise of those in charge.
If you come off as a business establishment where the employees or you are not well informed, then you will lack credibility.
On the other hand, being an expert in your field would also go a long way in helping you build credibility as a business establishment.
Building Credibility – Why is this Important?
As an entrepreneur or business owner, whose goal is to be an industry leader and be relevant, you need to build credibility.
The way people perceive you as it relates to your level of credibility has a huge impact on your success in your career path.
To be specific, here are some of the benefits that come from building credibility as a business owner:
Credibility Makes You an Authentic Leader
One of the goals of every entrepreneur is to be seen as an effective leader.
This is so because running a business and managing people also requires having a great influence on others, which calls for leadership traits.
You are seen as a leader in your industry when you command the respect, attention, and followership of others.
However, it is not just enough to be a leader or be seen as one.
It is also very important that people see you as an authentic leader.
That is the only way they will listen to what you say and follow your leadership.
And the way to gain authenticity status as a leader is to build credibility.
When people see you as credible and trustworthy, they are more inclined to want to follow your lead.
It will also help you to hold a better influence on those who follow you.
Credibility Helps Increase Business Patronage and Sales
Take a moment to think about all the businesses or vendors you currently patronize.
Two important factors influence your decision to choose and eventually remain with these.
These are their quality of service or expertise and also their trustworthiness.
We’ve seen this scenario play out many times, whereby we disconnect ourselves from individuals or businesses because of dishonesty.
It is often said that once a person tells a lie, every other thing he/she says loses credibility.
That shows how important it is that you as a business owner as well work on building credibility as an individual and for your business.
When you always prove true to who you say you are and the services you render, your patronage and sales will increase.
On the other hand, if you are not trustworthy or lack the necessary expertise for the business you run, your patronage will reduce.
Even if you manage to win over some customers, it would be difficult to retain them once they find out you lack credibility.
That is the reason building credibility is very integral to increasing business sales and patronage.
Credibility Contributes to a Great Work Culture
Many businesses today struggle with building and developing a good work culture among their employees.
And this can affect the efficiency and productivity of these.
When you as a leader build credibility, it can rub off on those who work under you; your employees.
Being trustworthy and reliable is a trait that is easily noticed by others and picked up by them.
If on the contrary, you are fond of habits and actions that show you lack credibility, it is only a matter of time before your employees follow suit.
And having that kind of attitude around your business environment causes a poor work culture.
Therefore, building credibility is one of the areas where you can lead by example, and influence your employees the right way.
Building Credibility Helps You Get Mentorship Roles
As you go farther in your journey of entrepreneurship, you most likely aim for the time when you will attain top expertise.
At this time when people perceive you as an expert in your industry, many start looking up to you as a role model, and seek mentorship.
Well, at such times, one of the things that will help you stand out among other experts is your credibility.
Remember that we said credibility isn’t something that simply happens automatically or overnight.
Rather, it is a result of conscious and deliberate efforts to build and improve.
Hence, the actions you take from the first day of business and over time would either build your credibility or show you lack credibility.
When you achieve the former, you will have many people who want you to mentor them, because you’ve built up a track record of reliability, honesty, and credibility.
Credibility is Key in Attracting Investors
Investors are among some of the important assets of a business establishment.
It could be that your business hasn’t grown in size, and as such you need investors to help propel growth.
The contributions of investors are also important when you are aiming to expand your business and increase sales.
As important as this is, getting investors is not that easy.
This is because people are very careful of how they spend their hard-earned money and check many factors before investing in a business.
While they would check things like the viability of the business plan, potential for growth, and success, they also look at the credibility of the owner.
If you as the owner or manager of the business do not possess a track record of reliability and credibility, it would be hard to win over investors.
On the other hand, with credibility come increased trust and confidence in you and your brand.
And of course, you will easily convince many investors to come on board with their input for business growth.
Building Credibility Helps Improve your Brand Reputation
One of the things you should never joke with as a business owner is your brand reputation.
Your brand reputation is simply how you are perceived by your customers, prospective customers, and the general public.
You need a good brand reputation if you want to stay relevant in your industry and also make people buy from you.
And that is where building credibility comes in.
If your business lacks credibility, it wouldn’t take long before everyone around know about this.
We live in an age where information travels quickly in a flash, and when you give people reasons to doubt your credibility, they will share your stories.
Before long, if care is not taken, you might start to have a brand reputation that is not desirable, which can taint your business image.
Credibility Will Assist you in Getting Business Loans/Support
While running a business, there might be times when you run short of financial support and need additional input in terms of loans.
There are many companies around offering business loans for this purpose.
However, before you can be granted that privilege and opportunity, you must have a track record of reliability and credibility.
If you are perceived as someone who doesn’t keep to his words or is dishonest, it would be difficult to win the trust of such companies.
And getting a loan to support your business would be hard or impossible.
With credibility, however, you can easily get that support when you need it since there is an assurance that you will be true to your promises of repayment.
How to Build Credibility – Ten(10) Important Things You Need to Do
Building credibility in business can be likened to the process of building a house.
To build or erect a house, there is a lot of processes, materials, and effort that go into it.
The builder would need to select the right materials, and equally follow the right process to ensure the work is not just done, but properly done.
And of course, it would be unrealistic to think that the completion of the project is an instant one.
Realistically, it takes a considerable length of time to complete such a project or undertaking.
The same is true for building credibility.
The process for this is a gradual one and requires the combination of certain deliberate actions to make it a reality.
With that background knowledge, here are some practical measures you can take to build your credibility either as an individual or for your business brand:
How to Build Credibility – Widen your Scope of Knowledge
This is one of the most important parts of building credibility, as it is the foundation of it.
When you share ideas, opinions, or information with others, the first thing they look out for is if you know what you are saying.
If it is evident that you lack knowledge of what you talk about, there is no way people will see you as credible.
On the other hand, when you have a good reserve of knowledge in your field or area of expertise, it is easier to come off as one who has credibility in that area.
To see the truthfulness of this, you only need to think about many of the experts in different industries that we see as credible sources of information.
One common thing about them all is that they are very knowledgeable in their field.
Hence, widening your scope of knowledge is an integral element in building credibility.
Build a Clear Brand Identity
How many times have you seen a new product in the market and have reservations about buying it because you do not recognize the brand?
Usually, one of the pedestals on which we measure credibility is how clear and popular the identity of a brand is.
That is why brands Indomie, MTN, Peak, Omo, Samsung, Apple e.t.c. have even been able to take over the market to the point of gaining a monopoly for some.
The reason is that these companies have invested time in building their brand identity, such that people quickly recognize them.
With time, once your company or business has a recognized name and image in the market, you build credibility.
And that makes you stand out among competitors and set your brand up for sure success.
Share Original Information and Resources
Nowadays, the internet has a lot of information on practically every area, field, and subject.
Sometimes, it is difficult to tell the facts from false information.
As someone who is aspiring to be a thought leader and also build credibility, you need to double-check the information you see and share.
If a piece of information is coming from your platform or desk, it makes little difference who you credit the source to.
A lot of people who got that information from you will only remember where they saw it from first.
And if that piece of information at the end of the day turns out to be false, it will affect your credibility.
The last thing you want is for people to see you as that person or organization that shares fake news and baseless facts.
Hence it is important that whatever information you are sharing with the public is original and reflects pure facts that you know.
Also, if you are sharing resources with your audience, make sure you develop them yourself and it’s original.
All these would contribute to building your credibility both as an individual and an organization.
Be Consistent in Your Methods, Processes, and Results
Another way to build credibility as an entrepreneur is to ensure that you are consistent on all fronts.
What you say, do and practice should always stick to a great level of consistency.
People who do business with you and align with your brand should not at any time be in doubt of what to expect from you.
If your business makes products, then the quality you deliver and quantity must stay consistent.
Going high today and stooping low tomorrow will only make you come off as unreliable and of course, make you lack credibility.
And if you continue with that pattern, it is only a matter of time before people who once trusted you lose confidence and hope in you and your brand.
Strive for Competence and Expertise
One other factor that dictates how people see credibility in individuals and their brands is their level of competence.
What that means is that whatever it is you are doing right now, do not be okay with just being good enough.
But rather aim to be exceptional and be the best.
If you are competent, it will show in your approach to solving problems in your business and how you manage your enterprise.
Your customers and even prospective customers will see this.
And you will come off as being a credible asset and resource to them.
Another thing you can do to build credibility is to strive to become an expert in your field.
Once people begin to see you as an expert, they tend to believe in your words, actions, and processes, which is what being credible is all about.
Adhere to the Principles of Confidentiality in Dealing with Customers and Partners
One of the actions that make some individuals or businesses lose credibility is sharing confidential or personal information of customers and business partners with others.
Many of this information was shared out of trust and confidence in your brand and your integrity.
Selling out such information or giving others undue access to it will only make you come off as being untrustworthy, and hence lose credibility.
Hence, you have the responsibility to protect every information that people share with you in confidence.
The more you show yourself exemplary in doing this, the more you build credibility in front of others.
Be Easily Accessible
One mistake you cannot afford to make as a business leader is staying distant from your employees, customers, and prospects.
Everyone loves businesses that are easily available and accessible.
That means when someone wants to get certain information and make inquiries from your business, you are readily accessible.
Being difficult to reach can raise doubts in the minds of others.
And it can make them lose trust in you and your brand.
And of course, once trust is no longer there, there is no credibility.
Therefore, put systems in place to ensure people can always reach you when they wish to.
This availability and accessibility show you are transparent and help you build credibility.
Be Honest Always
The primary thing that breaks credibility for a person or a business establishment is lying.
Some businesses lie about their products or services or even features of these.
They might make claims that are false all in a bid to convince customers and increase sales.
Even if you get some success with this for a while, it is not sustainable.
It is only a matter of time before people find your business out for what you are.
Which is a brand that is not trustworthy.
This can make them lose belief in your brand and they can share bad reviews about your business.
What you need to do therefore is practice transparency and honesty at all times.
If your products or services are below par for some reason, own up to your mistakes and openly apologize.
This is more effective than trying to deceive people and in the process losing credibility.
Collect Testimonials and Positive Feedback
Since you’ve been in your business endeavor, you most likely have many satisfied customers who have come to trust the credibility of your brand.
These are also integral in helping you build credibility before others.
Therefore, one of the things you need to do is gather enough testimonials and reviews from these.
Post these reviews on your company website or social media pages.
That way, other prospects see what people are saying about you.
Building a reservoir of positive feedback goes a long way in showing your credibility to others.
It also helps to improve your brand reputation.
Network/Connect with Industry Thought Leaders
The chances are there are certain individuals and businesses in your industry that you already know are credible.
The general public sees these as reliable sources of information, and those who give quality products, and top-notch services.
Having an alliance with these is also another way to build your credibility.
When you connect and network with them, people who see this will naturally come to trust your credibility more.
Additionally, you will learn one or two things from these.
These would, in turn, increase your knowledge and help you build credibility.
Final Thoughts – How to Build Credibility
Credibility is one of the most important factors that scale patronage, long-lasting relationships, trust, and business sales.
One of the foundations of this is knowledge, and also being consistent with your brand image and information.
As with every worthwhile endeavor, this does not happen in a day.
However, with constant practice using the right strategies and measures, we are confident you will soon successfully build your credibility as an individual and a brand.