I’ve had an interesting day with two very different perspectives on the importance of credibility to win customers. I spent the morning with a number of other business owners recording video testimonials. We all understand the importance of establishing credibility in the minds of prospects. This evening, at a networking event, I met a lady who virtually dismissed me when I started talking about qualifications!
Prospects want proof
Most prospects are sceptical, they want proof that their investment will yield results. Many will have had their fingers burned by earlier purchases that didn’t deliver on their promises. They will be reluctant to make the same mistake twice. So we have to work hard to establish our credibility. Video testimonials from happy customers can help, qualifications, statistics and results are also important.
The lady I met this evening works in the field of well-being education, she is very polished and believes passionately in what she does. She is selling talks on cancer prevention. From a marketing perspective this is a tricky area because you can’t make claims without proof. We therefore talked about ways to gain new customers and I suggested working with health professionals who believed in complimentary therapies. I suggested that my neighbour, who is an eminent cancer research professor, could be a really good contact. The conversation fell apart when I suggested that my neighbour might not be willing to go to listen to a talk by someone without qualifications in the field but might be persuaded to meet individually on my introduction. I was told that my mention of qualifications meant I didn’t ‘get it’ and there was no point in continuing the conversation!
Don’t dismiss prospects because they challenge your credibility
All good sales people know that objections do not mean that a prospect will not buy, they mean that the prospect is interested but need their concerns to be addressed before they’ll spend money. As soon as I mentioned qualifications this lady dismissed me as a prospect or someone who could help her business. How wrong!
I’ll admit to being sceptical about whether cancer is preventable but I want to believe it is. I know there is much we can do to minimise our risk so I could have been interested in what this lady had to offer. I wanted to know what made her an expert worthy of my investment, all I got was ‘all my reading’ and ‘I believe’. Well I can read so a quick search on the internet when I got home found me plenty of reading material. I don’t need to pay someone to share her reading or her beliefs with me. I want solid information supported by sound evidence. I want to know I am paying for genuine expertise.
I will not pay someone who implied that all cancer research specialists are not interested in prevention because they are in the control of the drugs companies who don’t want to find a cure. I know a couple of people who have devoted their lives to the battle with cancer, to suggest they are not interested in eliminating this awful disease is insulting to say the least.To me this lady’s attitude amounted to conspiracy theory and would therefore only influence other conspiracy theorists. This diminishes her credibility as an expert rather than increasing it.
What are the lessons for owners of small businesses?
- Be clear about how you will establish credibility with your prospects, qualifications, testimonials, results, academic articles can all help.
- Understand the objections that your prospects will raise and prepare your counter. Don’t walk away leaving a potential sale on the table.
- Be respectful of your competition but know how you compete and sell the benefits of your offer when compared to your competitors.
- Don’t be defensive. A lack of qualifications does not equal a lack of expertise but we do have to think of other ways to establish our credibility.
This lady’s business is new, I suspect it will not last long if she treats other people as she treated me. That would be a shame because she is articulate, passionate and has laudable aims. I hope that she will read this article and think twice about how to ‘sell’ her services.
Are you sometimes too quick to dismiss prospects? Do you need to work harder at establishing your credibility? I can help you to define and communicate what makes you the right choice for your prospects. I’ve been working with owners of small businesses for 21 years and have helped many to hone their marketing messages to win new customers. (You can see video testimonials from some of my customers on the About page ) Book a free, no obligation 30 minute initial consultation here.