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Get More Credibility + Go Pro = More Money EVERYTIME
The other day I was trying to squeeze in a quick lunch. I was in an unfamiliar area of town, so I wasn’t sure where to go, but I was starving. Famished. And finally found a little hole in the wall joint to snag a bite, but when I walked thru the door, the smell almost knocked me down..
My nostrils burned, and my gag reflex almost got the best of me.
As I looked around my “flight” reflex kicked in. I took a step back and my damn right flip flop was stuck to the ground.
I had no prob leaving it there stuck for life, I had to escape this so called local eatery.
I wasn’t expecting Rodeo Drive dining, but this was beyond hole in the wall eating. This was a death wish and I wasn’t going out like that.
Credibility issues are easy to spot when it comes to dining out. When it comes to your own business it is easy to dismiss what can be a huge red flag for perspective buyers.
Are you turning off customers? Here are 6 ways to up your credibility pronto.
1. Your phone
Using your cell phone or home phone as your business phone, especially when starting out is a great way to save some money. If this is the case your phone needs to be answered like a business line 100% of the time. Your voicemail needs to not only be set up, but it needs to be professional and clear. If you can’t answer the phone professionally let it go to voicemail. You can always call someone back. Keep your phone out of the hands of anyone that might answer it, in a less than professional manner (your younger brother trying to be funny or your three year old nephew are not the best of receptionists.)
2. Your Business Card
Even if your business is mostly conducted online you still need a card to hand to those you meet in person. I am a firm believer that the business card is not dead. Make sure your card looks professionally designed. All graphics and photos need to be clear. The style needs to be consistent with the rest of your brand materials, and it needs to be easy to read. Clear and concise is better than cluttered and busy. You can always send them to your website for more information, you don’t have to tell everything on a 2 x 3.5 card.
Invest in good, quality printing. You can get 1000 thick and sturdy, 2 sided glossy or satin cards in your hands for $50. Beware of websites offering too good of a deal to get cards. You should not be charged to upload files or to get proofs. You should not have to worry about how many colors you are printing. You should not have to wait 2 weeks for cards to get to you. Check out EPIC to get quality cards printed quickly, without being nickel and dimed. If you have money to spend and want to really impress check out Moo for business cards where you can get several versions of your business card design printed (very cool for artists and photographers).
3. Your website
Unless you really know what you are doing, and are willing to invest time into DIYing your website we suggest you use a professional, at least to get the design started. It can not only save time, but in the long run it can save money as well. Your website is one of the most important investments that your business can make. More often than not it will be the first time someone is in contact with your business. Make sure they are not turned off, scared off or worried that you may not be in business.
Using WordPress or sites like SquareSpace to create your website can give you flexibility to change and add text easily yourself. Small design changes, like color or graphics can also be done in minutes without expensive software. Cost for a template design (a good start for a beginning business) can start at $750. A fully custom site is around $2500-$4000. A fully custom E-commerce site can be $5000+. Design companies, like EPIC can work with your budget, and create a site that will grow with you. The important thing is to know what you need now and what you may need later. Get only what you need and can afford for now. Don’t be duped into a $10k site, when much less will do. Don’t go without, or keep an awful site when a couple thousand dollar investment could be made up with a few new clients. Go pro.
4. Your email
It is so easy and so inexpensive to get firstname.lastname@example.org that I refuse to say much more. Less than $2o a year and you can have your own branded, incredibly professional email address. If you don’t take your business seriously, why should anyone else. I don’t care if you are mowing lawns or cutting hair, bookkeeping or making clothes – you need to get a real email address. Redrider1984@yahoo.com is just not going to cut it in the real world, not if you really mean business.
Social proof is one of the easiest ways to increase your credibility. Pick testimonials that will help you get more clients that you want. If you want more high paying clients don’t use testimonials that say your services “were great deal”, use ones that promote the value your products or services give. The best testimonials focus on the real results that you get your clients. Don’t be afraid to ask for them, and be specific on what you are looking for when asking so you avoid “Working with you is great!” Those are not very helpful, even if they do boost your ego.
Every time a customer comes in contact with you make sure it is easy for them to reach back out to you. If you want them to call, put your phone number everywhere – on your invoice, receipts, business cards or other leave behind items, prominently on your website, your email signature, anything you mail to them, your car, your signage, your product packaging… if you want them to go to your website make that everywhere. Make it too easy for them to contact you for more of what you sell.
Just because you are not burning your customers nostril hairs doesn’t mean you are not turning off drones of potential clients. If you’re not going pro and taking your business seriously you might as well have sticky floors and foul smells.
TAKE ACTION NOW
What is one thing you can do today to bump up your credibility? How can you make the move to go pro in your business. Start with one item on the list or share another way you can make a huge difference today. Let us know what you did in the comments below.