There’s a very important reason as to why building credibility and trust within your network can impact your success.
Some may think making sales and running a business is all about hunting down and finding people to network with. The truth is that the top business moguls design their lives and their professions in a manner where their relationships come to them. True power and leverage mean finding a way to dominate your industry and to do it in a sophisticated manner.
Here’s an example:
You’re not feeling so hot and decide to visit your doctor. The doctor sits you down and asks you a list of questions. Some of them don’t even seem related to how you’re feeling. But you dutifully answer every question anyway. Why is that?
- You’re in pain and you view your doctor as an expert at pain relief.
- You know your answers are an important step toward your doctor finding a remedy.
- You trust your doctor, maybe for no other reason than he looks and talks like a doctor.
The two of you are in rapport—a harmonious relationship based on good communication. How would you have felt if a doctor chased you down and told you all about himself, but asked no questions, gave you a packet of Tylenol® and told you to go home and rest? A little disappointed? A little cheated? That’s how people within your network feel when you don’t find a way to gather intelligence about their pain or problem. Truly, it’s much worse. They’d view you as a novice, not an expert in your field—and no one wants to deal with a novice.
So the big question is…
“Okay Myke, how can we build massive credibility for ourselves?”
It all comes down to positioning, social proof, and leverage. I have used these three concepts to go from a couch surfing nobody to a six-figure authority in my field and the local community.
First, I’ll walk you through the big picture, which will cover all three concepts. As I walk you through each one, I’ll give you some actionable steps that you can put into action today.
You can position yourself as an expert with simple tools, such as having a professional website. If you don’t have a website, who in the world is going to take you seriously?
Some other helpful hints are to go out there and find a photographer who can take photos of you in action, or in a professional business setting. This will drastically change someone’s first impression of you. A lot of college photo students will do this for free.
The human brain—whether you like it or not—creates a judgment/opinion of what you’re looking at within 1/24th of a second. It could be a person, an article of clothing, a car, or even food. An opinion is created within the brain, and the same goes for when people look at you.
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#2 Social Proof
A great way to build social proof for yourself is by taking advantage of photographs, but this time, we’re going to make sure it’s by using third-party credibility.
Any time you find yourself within the radius of someone more successful than you, or a higher authority in your field, find an excuse to take a photo with this person. Then, with their permission, add it to your website so that you build from the positioning segment of this article—above.
If you attend seminars or networking events, be sure to get out of your comfort zone and take photographs with all of the top leaders there. It’s is a key factor of importance in your appearance, and the impression you create with others.
Another great way to build credibility is by podcasting. No, I don’t mean starting your own podcast. I’m referring to you landing interviews with podcast channels that relate to your niche. Does this make sense?
Position yourself in front of thousands and get your story and your knowledge out there. Even if you don’t really know what the hell you’re talking about, practice makes progress, and that’s all that matters.
Plus, these podcasters are usually just trying to get interviews under their belt and find success just as you are. It’s a win-win situation and it’s a great way to get your name out there and build credibility. Go sign up for some free interviews today!
Another way to gain some massive credibility with social proof is by branding yourself.
Here are a few very simple steps to help you get started:
1. Go to Fiverr and pay $5.00 for someone to design a simple logo for you or your brand.
3. Download ‘WordSwag’ for iOS or ‘Fonto’ for Android and create your own image quotes for your Instagram or Facebook page and share them weekly.
In order to gain leverage in your industry and the people within it, you have to be willing to work for free and do plenty of favors.
Why do you think I spend hours writing up content like this in order to help you for free? It’s because I want to build leverage with you.
The more favor tokens you build with individuals, the more leverage you will gain with others when you need something. It could be a simple favor, such as asking them to check out your web page or your sales video, or even meeting with you for coffee when you’re in their local area.
Or maybe you’re running a Kickstarter campaign and you now have the leverage to ask them if they would mind supporting you by throwing in a few bucks. You get the idea.
Work for free, and do what you have to do until you can do whatever you want to do.
Here are some great ideas on how to build leverage with your potential partners and people within your network.
- Article Sharing – Share a heartfelt blog post that relates to your prospect that they would find value in. Let them know you were thinking about them.
- Magazine Subscription – Think about what your prospect or potential client likes and enjoys. For example; hunting & fishing. If you have their address, surprise them by subscribing them to a year’s worth of a magazine that you feel they would enjoy. This is a great way to stay in the front of your client’s mind every single month and it will barely cost you ten bucks.
- Free Book – Same idea. Think about a book your client might enjoy. Mail it to them with a handwritten letter wishing them a productive week etc.
- Gift Card – Send your prospect a gift card with a handwritten letter. If you do not have their address, most big brands offer options to email an e-gift card.
- New Introduction – If you know your potential client’s needs, be sure to introduce them to people that may be able to help them better than yourself. When you help people and humble yourself to stay out of the picture, you will build leverage. Your future client will feel that they owe you one. Trust me, it works.
- Podcasting – Use the tool we talked about in the positioning segment, and when you find an interview opportunity that does not relate to you, but maybe relates to your prospective client, be sure to send them a personal email with the link to the interview channel. Let them know you thought of them, and that the interview opportunity could help them make progress. What an amazing gift to hand someone—free publicity!
- Survey – If you have addresses, put five bucks with a nicely typed questionnaire in an envelope, along with a handwritten letter. Let your prospect know that their feedback matters to you, and that you’re always wanting to improve your efforts. Note that you’ve included $5 in exchange for their honest feedback. Make sure your questions are designed to help your business. This way even if they do not hire you or purchase from you, they will always remember you and you also get some useful feedback to improve your business!
If you’re trying to take shortcuts, this will never work for you, simply because your mind is in the wrong place and you’re not willing to provide the value—but if you’ve made it this far through this article, then you’re obviously not an impatient get rich quick type of individual, right?
Put in the work, put in the hours, and position yourself as an expert. Go out there and dominate. Play chess while the rest of the world plays checkers.
While everyone else is copy/pasting long messages to random strangers on Facebook, you spend weeks building rapport and true conversation.
While everyone else is trying to automate communication, you’re sending out gift cards and hand-written letters.
While everyone else is lying about their income, you’re being humble and letting everyone know that maybe you aren’t where you want to be yet, but that you’ll never give up on your dreams and that you will, in fact, get there one day, and more importantly that you’re connected to the right people.
The truth always wins. Never lie, because people who lie do it out of fear. Some of us go broke for months, and other times we cash out. It’s part of the game, but if you stay true to your mission and give it all you got in order to be authentic, you will always win.
Opinions expressed here are the opinions of the author. Influencive does not endorse or review brands mentioned; does not and can not investigate relationships with brands, products, and people mentioned and is up to the author to disclose. VIP Contributors and Contributors, amongst other accounts and articles, are professional fee-based.
Myke is an author, professional speaker, and entrepreneur featured on Entrepreneur, MarketWatch, Business Insider, Yahoo! Finance, The Wall Street Journal, NBC, Fox News, CBS, ABC, Silicon Valley Business Journal and many others. He is the founder of RVA Social, one of the fastest growing digital agencies on the east coast.