In our previous blog on how to persuade, we emphasized that “the first step in persuading someone with video is to keep the credibility of your [company] high.” The character of your business really matters when it comes to doing business; what does your company signify?

If you’re associated with sleazy practices or disorganized flops, then the character of your business will degrade in the eyes of your buyers. That’s why it’s vital to build and maintain good character: a brand or service dedicated to the client (and not the money), focused on excellence, kind, full of integrity – you get the picture.

But just how does a business go about building their credibility? Once it’s established, how does one keep it high? Take the concepts we’ve compiled below and consider how you can apply them to your specific line of work:

1. Honesty

If someone is credible, they’re trustworthy, and vice versa. To build credibility, you obviously need to build trust. And we all know that trust increases when people are truthful and honest.

Think about the most honest person you know. They’ll always be a trusted confidant for you, since they’ll always tell you the truth. Even if it’s something ugly, you are drawn to this person precisely because they are honest. Honest people are credible people.

Since business is ultimately driven by people, why would it be any different? Credible businesses are honest businesses.

How do you apply this in practice? Here’s what not to do – Uber had a data breach in 2016, but didn’t say anything about it until late 2017. What do you think happened to Uber’s credibility? On the other hand, before LastPass was acquired, it was breached and immediately announced the news with detailed information about how this happened & what they were doing about it. Which company was more credible?

Thus, to apply this, your business should keep direct, truthful communication with your ideal buyers and current clients. Communicate openly about your failures as well as your successes and you will maintain honest character. 

2. Integrity

In its basic form, integrity simply means “whole.” It’s a derivative of the word “integer,” which describes a whole number (like 1). To be of good character means to have integrity; to be “whole.”

If I’m only honest when it’s convenient for me professionally, but lie all the time in my personal life, I’m “two-faced.” I’m out of integrity, which means that I behave differently depending on the situation I’m in; I’m a person of bad character.

As we know, bad character in business leads to low credibility. Thus, it’s vital to remain whole – in integrity – when you do business. Do as you say and follow through on commitments. Lead by example, rather than by speech. Walk your talk.

There’s many ways that I could explain this concept, but the bottom line is: build trust with clients by being the kind of business who is the same on stage as behind the curtain – full of integrity.

3. Excellence

BrightLocal’s 2019 Consumer Survey found that 76% of consumers “trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends.” They also found that more than 80% of consumers read online reviews before moving forward. This is a surprisingly large number!

Why discuss online reviews in a section on excellence? Your customers can tell when things aren’t up to snuff in your organization. Reviews often discuss the quality of a business, so you’ll need to strive to achieve excellence if you want to elevate your credibility.

This will look differently for you depending on the product or service you offer. What does excellence look like in your field? How can you improve your customer experience? Once you’ve answered these questions, how can you execute them?

Focus on becoming the best business you can be and you’ll start moving toward excellence in all areas of your company.

4. Expertise

Once you’ve become excellent at what you do, you’ll have a level of knowledge in your niché that your competitors don’t. This is where expertise sets you apart.

Are you an expert in your field? If not, how can you become one? Are you considering novel ideas in the way you offer your product or service? Are you consistently refining your skills? Have you looked into guest writing blogs? Have you considered sharing your knowledge at conferences or on podcasts?

These questions and more will help you discover where your expertise is (or could be). Keep learning and look for ways to become a thought leader to build and show your expertise.

5. Consistency

Imagine that you’re talking with your friend, who is always hilarious and full of jokes. Once you start emailing him or her, however, emails come across as consistently angry. And texting them is a big mess. What’s going on here? You’re running into a problem of consistency – you know that your friend is a joyful person, but this doesn’t come across unless you’re interfacing with him or her face-to-face.

In business, this happens more often than we care to admit. This causes customers to have a disjointed view of our product or service, which confuses them. Companies who don’t have a consistent image (i.e. consistent branding, departments that communicate with one another, etc.) are tangled in their approaches.

Customers need to see that you’re united on all fronts. If it seems to them that your customer service is totally different than your sales process, you’re creating an inconsistent experience for your client. To ensure that you maintain credibility, you’ll need to make sure that your customer’s experience is consistent.

These 5 major points will guide you in building and maintaining your credibility. They’ll help you become the kind of business that knows what its customers need and provides great service. They’ll form you into a business of good character.
Along the way, this will also mean that you build community with your customers, keeping in regular communication with them (if applicable). You’ll want to highlight your accomplishments humbly to demonstrate that you have the chops to do what you do. But ultimately, you’ll establish your company as reputable, which will lead to good business for years.