Influence Equals Credibility
You want to influence your dream client to choose you and your solution. You want to influence them in your direction so that you will win their business. But influence isn’t made up of tips, tricks, gimmick, or secrets. The ability to influence your dream client in your direction first requires that you be someone worth being influenced by in the first place.
Being a person of influence requires that you be credible.
For you to be credible, your business acumen has to be informed by your experience. To be credible, you have to have had the experiences that allow you to talk about your dream client’s problems, challenges, and opportunities through the lens of your past successes–and failures.
Without the experiences that prove that you can deliver the better outcomes that you promise and that your dream client needs, it is difficult to seen as a credible source.
If you are new to your role or your company, you can rely your prior experiences and all of the business acumen you have developed to this point. It is a mistake to not believe that you didn’t learn from your prior experiences (unless you didn’t make the effort to learn). If you are really new to your role, you may need to include someone from your company who has more experience and can act to validate what you say.
Telling the Uncomfortable Truths
Being credible means dealing with reality and facing the uncomfortable truths. If your client’s business challenge is going to require that they make serious internal changes, you have to address what is that means and what needs changed. If the change they need is going to cost more than they are expecting, you have to be willing to address the costs of that improvement, even when it is certain your dream client doesn’t want to hear it.
The business managers and C-suite executives you call on aren’t looking for a “Yes-man” or “Yes-woman.” They have enough of those within their own organization. You build your credibility by providing the truth, especially when that truth is uncomfortable. You build your credibility by providing a solution that is based on dealing with the ugly truth that is your dream client’s reality.
Saying “I Don’t Know.”
Being credible doesn’t require that you know the answer to every question you are asked. Being credible means having the ability and confidence to not know. Your credibility is better served by not answering questions to which you don’t know the answer and instead asking for time to get the right answer.
Your credibility is built on your ability to discover the answer and to discover the truth. Your dream client needs to know that they can count on your honesty and your integrity, both of which require that you have the ability to say: “I don’t know the answer to that question, but I will find the right answer and get back to you.”
Not Painting an Incredible Story
Winning deals means telling your story of how you will help move your dream client from their present state to a better outcome in the future. But this doesn’t mean telling an incredible story, a story that defies belief.
Being credible means addressing all of the challenges and difficulties building that future outcome. Allowing your dream client to believe an incredible story is a recipe for a future disaster and a complete lack of credibility. Your credibility and your influence is destroyed by the unpleasant surprises that you failed to disclose to your dream client when you told your story and presented your solution.
Your dream clients are grown ups. They know that great results are the result of great efforts. Pretending that a great result can be obtained with little or no effort destroys your credibility; your dream client knows better.
Being a person of influence requires that you are first credible. Your credibility depends on your ability to prove you have the experience and business acumen to make a difference, to tell the truth when it is uncomfortable to do so, to say that you don’t know the answer to questions but will find out, and to not paint an incredible picture.
- What makes you credible to your dream clients?
- Can you be a person of influence if you are not credible?
- How can you prove that you know how to solve your dream clients problems and challenges?
- What is the cost of telling the uncomfortable truths? What is the cost of not being willing to tell the uncomfortable and unpopular truths?
- Is it okay to not know the answer? Does it make you less credible? Even if you have experience, are you really expected to know the answer to everything? What do credible people do when they don’t know the answer to a question they are asked?
- Does your story include the challenges and effort your dream client will be required to make in order to achieve the result you are promising and selling? What will happen to your credibility when your dream client is surprised with unpleasant news?