Belief Builders and Credibility Creators

There is a four step process everyone goes through as they make a purchase.

  1. Consider – Before anyone makes a decision, they must consider this opportunity. Most salespeople skip this step to their detriment.
  2. Decision – This is when the ‘sale’ takes place. However, most ineffective salespeople skip the consideration stage and try to force the decision that was never even considered.
  3. Commit – Without a commitment, a sale is not a sale. As many as 20 to 40% of sales are lost due to a lack of commitment requested of the purchaser.
  4. Resolve – Making sure the commitment is followed up and followed through to its conclusion to ensure the sales is completed. Up to 10% of sales are left unattended and therefore lost.

Consider – or lack thereof is the number one source of lost sales, by a long shot. Anecdotally, as many as 4 out 5 sales are lost because the prospects never considered the offer being presented in the first place. Without it, there is no decision to be made.

So how does one go about having people consider their offer or proposal?

Create Credibility

Every exponential marketer knows the number one factor that influences a purchase decision is confidence and trust. The road to confidence is paved with credibility creators and belief builders.

Having the lowest price won’t help you much if your prospects don’t trust you in the first place. Nor does offering the widest selection, most convenience or best features if your prospects think you’re a crook.

You’ve got to face up to the disappointing reality that without trust:

  • Prospects won’t call your toll-free number,
  • Prospects won’t access your website,
  • Prospects won’t mail in your coupon,
  • Prospects won’t come into your store,
  • Prospects won’t visit your trade show booth,
  • Prospects won’t talk to your sales rep,
  • Prospects won’t take your calls on the phone,
  • Prospects won’t even accept your generous freebie offers.

… if they don’t trust you or your company.

Your suspects (people just getting to know you) and prospects (who have taken a step towards purchasing from you) can’t afford to waste time or money with people or companies that haven’t earned their trust and confidence. In order to earn that trust you’ve got to use specific exponential marketing strategies and use them authentically, congruently and honestly.

When you come from a place of sincerity and generosity, it envelops everything you do. It becomes an unstated, yet powerful aura that influences suspects, prospects and clients.

For example, if you are a low cost cleaning company, you’re better off sending a superbly written direct mail letter on very inexpensive stationery than the same letter on costly stationery that looks and feels expensive.

Congruency = Consistency = Credibility = Trust

The paper stock you use in a direct mail campaign carries a strong (indirect) message that consciously and often subconscious outweighs the written word. So too does using a real versus metered stamp. There is nothing worse than attempting to write a personal letter that is ‘bulk/off peak’ mailed/stamped. The typeface speaks volumes as does the printed versus a handwritten signature.

Just so you know, 99% of the direct mail letters that have my signature are signed by me personally. It is exceptionally rare when I can’t afford to affix my personal signature to a direct mail piece that bears my signature.

This means I invest hours (sometimes up to 10 hours) signing each and every letter. I have to give my hand a break every hour due to cramping.

Why do I do it? Because I believe it makes a difference. I’ve been told by my clients that they are amazed that over the years, every single letter they received from me is personally signed.

It has to be an exceptional campaign for me to accept NOT signing the letters individually. I avoid that as much as I can because I know that the recipient wants to receive something personal.

Entire marketing campaigns fail because of inattention to seemingly unimportant details that undermines the prospect’s trust.

One of my pet peeves is an amateurish logo or cheap business card. It makes your company seem like an amateur, an also-ran, a wannabe rather than someone of substance and authority.

Any hint of amateurism in your marketing pieces indicates to your suspects and prospects the potential for amateurism elsewhere in your company – they are called credibility killers and belief blunders.

Absolutely everything you do (or don’t do) within your sales and marketing activities creates or kills your credibility.

Do a quick self-test by assessing:

  • Your company name – Does it reflect who you are and what you do?
  • Your logo – What does it say visually? Is it consistent with the name, your industry and positioning?
  • Your slogan or Unique Selling Proposition – Does it adequately reflect what you stand for unequivocally?
  • Your location – Physical and online, do they represent your market and positioning relative to competitots?
  • Your marketing materials – Does your stationery, business cards, packaging, brochures, business forms, interior decor, website pages, email templates reflect your corporate image consistently or is it ad hoc and all over the place?
  • Your presentation – How do you dress to meet clients and is the attire worn your people? Is it professionally appropriate communicating your standards?

You communicate credibility with the building you’re in, the people you employ, the technology you use, the quality and extent of the follow-up in which you engage, the special (personal) attention you pay to suspects, prospects and clients, the testimonials you display, the quality of your trade show booth, your signage, and of course the neatness of your premises and your staff’s personal hygiene.

You gain credibility with each advertisement you publish, listings in directories, columns and articles you write and talks you give. You gain it with a professional, well-written value-packed newsletter. You gain even more by your support of a noble cause such as the environment or well respected charity or event.

All these little things add up to something called your reputation.

Credibility is not instantly created. It takes time, money and effort to establish, develop and sustain. It is the single most important investment you can make in yourself and your company. It will win you more contracts and sales, but don’t do for that reason.

Do it because it’s real, authentic, genuine.
It’s why you’re in business, it’s who you are.

2 Responses to “Belief Builders and Credibility Creators”

  • Great advice Marc,

    Congruence as a Personal Trainer is achieved by self committment to health and fitness. When people join a Gym or use Personal Training – credibility is achieved by the trainers being healthy – whilst a personal trainer setting goals with a client and continually reminding them builds regular committment and resolve to the clients decision to lose weight, improve their health and continue regular exercise.

    Brendan Rigby
    Personal Trainer/ Corrective Exercise Therapist
    Inspire Fitness for Wellbeing

  • Thanks Marc for the reality check.

    The self-test assessment revealed some shortfalls for me as I had been focusing a lot of attention on building reputation and credibility through developing a strong presence in the provision of content through my education webinars

    A timely message for my 1% improvement for logo, online presence and marketing materials in particular. My online presence is currently going through a new look and feel with next week being a huge merge of database and content from two web sites into the one.

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