Credibility is defined as “The quality, capability, or power to elicit belief.” This belief is critical to you as a consultant, because it is what determines whether or not someone chooses to do business with you. Here are five simple strategies you can use to build your credibility, even as a new consultant.
1. Provide A Professional-Looking Website
It is just assumed nowadays that you have a website. In fact, most people will check you out online before they call you to do explore doing business. So you want to be sure your website reflects your credibility.
It should not look home-made. So if you are not an experienced web designer, don’t do it yourself. You can easily hire someone to install a WordPress-based site for you that you can manage. Then take an online or local course on how to update and expand your site.
Key information needs to be included on the site: your credentials, experience, list of clients, testimonials from existing clients, list of services, and contact information.
There is no faster way to establish your credibility than to appear in print. In today’s market that “print” may be online, as well as in the traditional print media.
Write regular articles on topics in your area of expertise and post them to your blog. Distribute them on article distribution sites with quality reputations such as EzineArticles.com
Offer to write articles for the online versions of professional publications in your area. These sites are constantly looking for new content and it is often faster and easier to be published there than in the print versions. Plus, it’s a great way to break into the authoritative print market.
Traditionally you may have attended local networking meetings in your area. If you have only a local marketing, that’s ideal. But in today’s market many consultants have found that networking outside of their area gives a great boost to their bottom line.
Be visible in online discussion groups in your area of expertise, as well as on professionally-oriented social media sites such as LinkedIn. Add your comments to blog posts and articles in your area of expertise, with links leading back to your site.
All of these tactics are part of the “network” that is the online world. And each of these can be accomplished in a relatively short time between appointments.
4. Manage Your Reputation
You’ve seen it repeatedly. Someone with a high profile job suddenly loses their job and their credibility by doing something wrong. And that can happen to you as a consultant as well.
Your reputation is built on the work you do with your clients, so naturally you will do top-notch work so that you can get the quality referrals for more business.
But your reputation is also built online without your even realizing it. Just as potential employers are doing an online search before hiring someone, your future clients are doing the same. So be sure they do not find any compromising photos on Facebook or unseemly rants on other sites that can damage your credibility.
5. Showcase Your Expertise
Nothing shouts credibility more than showcasing what you can do and have done. That’s why you want to provide case studies on your website. Potential clients love seeing what you’ve done for others in the past. They automatically put themselves into that picture, making your job that much easier.
Answering questions can be an easy way to showcase your expertise. Whether it’s via audio or short slide shows, it’s easy for you to take the questions you frequently receive about your topic or your services and convert them into short presentations.
Likewise, you can host courses via teleseminars or webinars for current or potential clients. Again, they have the opportunity to see you in action, leaving no doubt in their mind that you are a credible consultant.