I’ve been hearing the word credible and credibility banded about recently. But, what does credible mean for an accountant, lawyer or consultant? and have been reflecting on what it actually means for a professional adviser – and how you can personally build it. But, before I go any further, in my opinion being credible and visible is the key to landing new clients as a professional adviser.
What does credible mean?
Before I go any further, remember that credibility is something that you can personally build – but others need to recognise it within you, before you can be viewed as credible.
It’s interesting that when people are indirectly questioning your credibility, they will ask for your credentials to do the job. Dissecting this scenario further, this means that credibility is dependent on relevant experience. Therefore, credibility, on the one hand, can be built by gaining and communicating testimonials – in particularly video testimonials – from happy, satisfied clients. Or often the right qualifications will elevate your credibility in the eyes of your potential client.
Credibility is also inherent in the personal brand that you build for yourself. A credible brand is one where people trust in your expertise and your ability to deliver on their behalf. When you first meet someone, first impressions and small actions really do count. For example, how likely are you to contact someone with some potential work, if all you receive after meeting them is a copy of their newsletter (which you didn’t give permission to receive) and they don’t follow up on what they said they would do after meeting you.
How you dress and how well you act the part, when meeting people is a major factor to building your personal credibility. If you act as if you feel you belong in a situation and look the part and your credibility can often be established before you even say anything.
As a ‘credible’ professional adviser, potential clients will expect that you have other client commitments and are ‘keeping busy’ with lots of ‘interesting work’. Therefore, when out networking, if people feel that you are desperate for work and ‘selling’ to the room, then your credibility will take a major dent.
So to summarise, to build credibility as a professional adviser, you need to be able look the part, walk the walk and talk the talk, and deliver on what you say you will do.