The degree to which your clients believe you will dramatically impact your success. Research at the University of Houston identified five factors that contribute to whether a person is believable or not. What is important to understand about these factors, however, is that all five must be harmonious within an individual in order for them to be seen as highly believable. When one or more of these factors fail, believability diminishes that person’s persuasion and they become less effective. Examine the five factors and see how you rate:
How knowledgeable are you about the products and services you sell? Is your knowledge deep or merely surface? Are you able to respond quickly to client’s questions or are you frequently forced to do additional research and get back with answers? The deeper your knowledge, the more readily you can respond with confidence; the more ease with which you can communicate the value of your products or services — the more competent you will appear to your clients.
How well do you hold up under pressure? Do you get flustered during those tough or uncomfortable situations or are you cool, calm and at ease? Your ability to effectively and calmly handle client’s concerns and difficult questions will reflect a strong composure and enhance your believability.
Extroversion denotes your genuine warmth and affection for others. If you are sincere in your interactions and genuinely connect with others, you will go a long way toward establishing rapport with your clients. Genuine is the key word here. You can’t fake caring. Clients see right through a false effort to be warm and sincere. If you’re truly engaged with the client for the client’s sake, your sincerity will shine through. If you’re merely faking it, expect that to show through as well.
Character denotes your ability to build trust with people. While character has always been important, it’s even more so today given that there is so much negative news and constant conflict and controversy that severely erode trust. Your character will be reflected in the judgments you make, the ethical decisions you convey and the follow-through you demonstrate. Trust is the cornerstone of all long-term relationships and it is critical for those valued referrals.
This factor can be a silent killer. Sociability reflects your social skills, your etiquette and appropriateness. It’s amazing how little concern many people give to this factor. Clients won’t tell you when your behavior is inappropriate — they just won’t do business with you. While etiquette training has become somewhat of a dinosaur today, don’t discount its importance. Lack of manners or appropriate behavior is often the number one reason a client decides to do business with someone else. So it’s important to mind your manners.
The next time you call on a prospect or an existing client, keep in mind these five believability factors. And while some factors, like sociability, stand out more visibly than others, remember that they are all important in building rapport and believability with clients. When you can honestly say that all five are in sync, chances are you will have a good relationship with your clients and therefore have a more likely chance of overall success.