Without credibility, creating a brand becomes very difficult. You earn credibility by proving you are qualified to as many people as possible and showing that you are consistent and trustworthy. There are several ways of accomplishing this, especially as it relates to Personal Branding. For example, a professional bodybuilder is more likely to be trusted and followed for muscle building advice than someone who is a middle-aged overweight school teacher. People want to have proof that you’re worth investing in. For the bodybuilder, you can see direct evidence that this person’s advice works. While the school teacher may have great advice, people would be taking a risk by following their advice.
When trying to demonstrate credibility, you can do it in 3 general ways. This is discussed in my Dessert Theory post, but very applicable for establishing your brand’s credibility.
-Tell: If you can avoid having to validate your credibility by telling someone, you should. But there are effective ways of establishing your credibility through explanation. For one, you should learn what SPIN Selling is. In short, by asking relevant questions and being truly interested in figuring out core issues, you can present yourself very authoritatively. For example, the bodybuilder could present an audience a series of questions to find out their core problems. Once he understood the situation, he could explain that he once had those same issues and has overcome them. This is how you build credibility through explanation.
-Demonstrate: Demonstrations speak for themselves. When you are demonstrating, you are showing examples of your expertise. Showing client demonstrations or different people reaping the benefits of your services is a very strong mechanism for credibility building.
-Word-of-Mouth: The last, but most powerful form of credibility building, is word-of-mouth. When someone says you are the best thing since sliced bread, you are building your credibility in a much stronger fashion then if you yourself were telling that person. But the secret to word-of-mouth is that the more authority the person who recommends you has, the more authority is placed on you. When the CEO of a company says you are a prized asset, that recommendation is much more powerful than the recommendation from someone less known.
It’s important to gauge your perceived credibility with an audience. If you don’t calibrate correctly, you can lose them. With credibility, people are more likely to buy into your brand and pay attention to you. It starts with curiosity and your own pursuit of knowledge on your given subject. Read voraciously, start writing, tell people what you do so you can start establishing your credibility!