Credibility and likeability attracts customers
Column by Jim Blair
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As you work to market your business and make it easier and more authentic to gain more clients, you now take the next step to be the most credible and trustworthy source of services in your field. The way you do that is to become and establish yourself as an authority. You not only establish yourself as an expert but a likeable one as well. So, do people know how much you know and do they like you?
When hiring a physician, dentist or audiologist you are assuming they have the necessary credentials. You certainly need them to have the appropriate education, training and experience. Your health depends on it. Once you are treated, what is one reason you might leave their practice? Lack of “bedside manner.” Even highly educated and experienced medical professionals lose business because of poor relationships with their patients.
It is the same with all service providers. Two factors propel you out in front of the pack or hinder you from reaching your maximum business potential – one is, “Do people know how much you know?” The other is, “How likeable are you?”
Why do I need to become an authority?
Becoming an authority in your field will be a scary thought for some. The thought that you can be an expert seems arrogant or unrealistic. “How can I possibly know enough to be an expert? I would never be able to take that position. It just doesn’t sound like me.” But I want to show you why you need to become an authority. It has to do with gaining the credibility and trust required for the customer to choose you.
You need to become a category authority because of these benefits:
– You gain the credibility and trust of the customer
– You gain more visibility – clients see you
– You gain confidence
– You separate yourself from the rest
– You can charge higher fees
– You gain peace of mind, less stress
In order for you to be seen as an authority in your field you must actually be one. You must know and be able to demonstrate your expertise to your target market. If you already feel you are an expert then go ahead and reveal that in your marketing materials. Allow your expertise to build your confidence. This confidence is caught by others and propels you ahead of your competitors.
If you feel you are not yet an expert then you want to make it your goal to become one. Here are some of the strategies:
– Read a book a month in your field
– Associate with a mentor or coach
– Attend seminars and trade shows
– Listen to CDs while driving and videos at home
– Visit websites of authorities in your field
– Attend week-long or weekend conferences
If you work hard following these and other strategies you will attain the expertise you need. Remember that many of us tend to downplay our knowledge and experience. Don’t wait too long to become an authority. Set some reasonable time limit.
Focus on One Thing You Wish to Be Known For
Becoming known for one main thing allows your customer to find you easily in the marketplace. Offering many kinds of expertise tends to confuse the customer. When a customer is even slightly confused then they do not move forward. They will move to a service provider where the offer is simpler and easier to grasp. You need to focus, focus, and focus on one simple, yet attractive and beneficial, expertise.
It is also important to remember that experts are not expert in everything and they are quick to say so. You want to be clear where your expertise is and where it isn’t.
The Power of Likeability
It may sound strange to talk about likeability, but this factor allows your expertise to be noticed and embraced by the customer. Mark McCormack, founder of International Management Group, the largest sports management company in the U.S. states that, “All things being equal, people will do business with a friend; all things being unequal, people will still do business with a friend.” If you are credible and people like you, people are going to hire you.
Likeability, if negative, can eliminate all the hard marketing work you have done thus far!
Take the example of two massage therapists interviewing for a job with the owner of a physical therapist firm. They both have over 10 years experience and have received wages at the high end of their profession. The first interviewee arrives 10 minutes late, upset and frowning. She relates in the interview her babysitter was late and she could not get a parking place. She complained for five full minutes. When she left the owner had every confidence this lady would be treating her clients the same.
The second therapist came in on time with a big smile and pleasant spirit. She was energetic yet composed. She listened to the owners requirements and then demonstrated how she was the best candidate for the job. And she got the job!
If you own a business do the same. Add likeability to your expertise and you have an unbeatable strategy to be head and shoulders above the rest.
Marketing coach Jim Blair is the author of the “Making Business Come to You” marketing system. More information on Jim is available online at www.jimblairassociates.com.