As a small business owner, your success hinges on whether you can establish yourself as credible. It’s possible to be operating from your home or a San Francisco virtual office , for example, and still convey to a prospect that your company is worth considering. Here are some ways you can increase your reliability factor:
With all the talk about building a “brand,” it really comes down to sharing what is unique about you, and what you can do for your customers. Don’t try to be something (or someone) you’re not.
Know your value in the marketplace
Do your homework to determine a fair rate for the value of the products and services you are offering to your customers, and then stick to it. If you already know that what you are charging is fair, you will be less inclined to be swayed by customers who object to your pricing, or who want you to perform extra services at no charge. You will simply explain what your fee covers, and the value you provide for that price point, allowing the customer to make a final decision.
Develop several contacts within a customer’s firm
Take the time to get to know your customer’s business by developing relationships with several members of their team. You will want to understand the company and the role it plays in its industry, as well as how it operates. As an outsider, you may be able to bring a unique perspective to the challenges your customer is facing.
Practice active listening
Someone who is credible doesn’t have to try too hard to make a point. When your customer is speaking, take time to listen attentively, consider what he or she has said, and then respond as appropriate to the situation at hand.
Stop thinking and behaving like a salesperson all the time
Yes – at the end of the day, your small business needs to sell. But focusing too much on selling can be off-putting. Instead, focus on how you can meet your customer’s need. Your customer is coming to you because they have a problem they need to solve. Focus on how your company can help the customer, whether it results in an immediate sale or not. Even if you don’t end up selling to the customer right away, your desire to help will be noted, and you will score major credibility points. The customer is more likely to buy from you later and refer other people as a result of your patience.
By keeping your focus on what you can give to your customers, you’ll increase your company’s credibility. It’s the best approach you can take to help grow your small business, and you can start implementing it from the day you welcome your first customer in the door.