, ,

Building credibility in a noisy world

How to build credibility

In my experience both in my business and personal life credibility is built through meaningful and consistent follow up.

Follow up is often thought of in relation to sales, “did the sales rep follow up?” But follow up, when dissected can be applied in a number of ways both at work and with friends. I examine 4 ways to build credibility through follow up.

1. Gratitude

Business – With clients think in these terms, “thank you”, “I appreciate”, “fantastic to meet you”. Every client or business interaction, EVERY one should involve a follow up even if it is simply one of gratitude. This builds credibility. Gratitude can be applied to colleagues, your boss, your employees, your suppliers, anyone you come in contact with.

Personal – Everyday there is an opportunity to use gratitude follow up with friends. “thanks for the chat”, “I appreciate your ideas”, “I am grateful for your friendship”. Friendship/Family gratitude follow up can be extremely powerful, an unexpected gift at an unexpected time. Another great place to use it in your personal life is after dining at a restaurant, staying at a hotel or shopping somewhere you will shop again. Your gratitude just may result in a discount or VIP service next time.

2. Strategic Recap

Business – I’m blown away how often I do not receive any kind of recap follow up after a business meeting. On the sales front whether in a B to B or B to C environment it builds easy and quick credibility. A simple format I train reps to use is “I said I would do abc and you said you would do xyz”. Recaps can be as simple as bullet pointing what was discussed. My favourite of recent years is from my personal trainer. She recaps what exercises we did, why we did them and what I should do before we meet again.

Personal – We don’t only feel a heightened sense of trust when someone puts something in writing in the business world but also in our personal life. Recapping conversations, agreements and even shopping lists is a form of mirroring that builds credibility.

3. Value Add Touch Point Follow Up

Business – Every decision maker is inundated with noise and the goal is to break through the noise and build credibility. The idea with value add follow up is to stay relevant when you are not around. This builds credibility as someone who is a thought leader or just thoughtful. I find the easiest way to to this is through a planned mailing calendar. It can feel impromptu to the recipient but it doesn’t need to be from your side. First create a mailing list of the people you want to influence ( and keep adding names). I refer to this list as my centers of influence. Then create the calendar of what you want to send and when. It can be as simple as an article you tore out of a magazine. Keep it simple.

Personal – Sending a friend a note card, an article, a small gift are all great examples of adding value. It’s one thing to send someone an email link of an interesting article it’s another thing to buy them a magazine and mail it with a note.

4. Follow Up on Follow Up

Business or Personal – Follow up is not a one time event, it’s an on going process. The better managed, the more credibility. People are busy, they don’t always respond to your follow up. Don’t take it personally, keep following up. If your customer doesn’t call you after your detailed strategic follow up, call her until you connect. If your friend doesn’t respond to your invite to go for lunch don’t be offended call him again.