When it comes to credibility, there are only two ways to get it. The fast way and the slow way. There's little middle ground, and there's no way to build it wrong.
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But building credibility is essential to your success. With it, you can do great things. Without it, you go nowhere.
If you've ever started your own business or interviewed for a job, you know you're only as good as your word. It takes time to build trust, and your reputation can precede you.
I know from experience that credibility is key. It's hard to build, and even harder to get back.
How do you build credibility? And, how can you build it faster?
What I've learned is there are two ways you can build credibility. You get it quick, or you get it slow. You either build credibility yourself, or you borrow it from someone else.
The Slow Way
You can't build credibility if no one knows you. If you were on a deserted island, your credibility would be zero. If you locked yourself in your bedroom, you wouldn't need credibility.
Every time you connect with someone, in person or over the phone, you impact your credibility. It goes up or down. You're either more reliable after you connect, or you're less.
To build your credibility, the first thing you need to do is do what you say you will do, DWYSYWD for short. Every time you keep a commitment, you boost your credibility. Every time you don't, you lose more than you'd have gained in the first place, even if you'd screwed up.
If you have a blog or podcast, share your story. Open up and let people see what you're going through. Share more than just your successes. Offer up your mistakes and missteps, and you'll connect with people in the trenches.
If you have neither, connect with people in person. Buy them coffee or take them to lunch. Get to know people in your community and ask them about their life. Getting out of your comfort zone and sharing life's adventure does wonders for building credibility.
You build credibility by providing consistent results, achieving goals, admitting when you make mistakes and by not placing blame.
The Fast Way
What if you don't want to wait to build your credibility over time?
Building your credibility over time is the best way to get lasting results.
But what if you can't wait?
There are times when you need credibility fast. When you want to build a business, get a promotion or gain a new customer, you need influence.
When you need credibility fast, you must borrow it. To borrow it, here are a few things you can do.
If you're a blogger or podcaster, guest post or do guest interviews. When you appear on someone else's platform, you borrow the credibility, authority, and influence of that person.
If you're neither of those, ask for referrals and recommendations. A third-party saying you're credible is much more effective than you saying it yourself.
He's great at his job
makes more of an impact than if you said,
I'm great at my job.
In sales, having credibility and a good reputation helps you get in the door. It also leads to more sales. In blogging and podcasting, it helps you build a loyal audience.
The Risk with Both
I'm a fan of building credibility over time. Taking it slowly builds a solid foundation of trust. But, sometimes we need to move a little faster.
However, there are problems with the build it fast methods. There are drawbacks and risks that go along with borrowing the credibility of someone else.
If the person you're borrowing your credibility from loses theirs, you could lose yours as well. If you tie your flag to the wrong ship, and it sinks, you could sink too.
If your rise to the top is too fast, you miss the opportunities that go with the growth process. Just because you know how a delicious cake tastes doesn't mean you know the art of mixing its ingredients.
Building credibility takes time. Sometimes the best credibility-building thing you can do is to show up, day after day and put in the work. While you can't wait around for things to happen, or for someone to dub you “thou art now credible,” you can always be building credibility in the background.