Credibility in an Incredible World

Credibilityworthy of belief or confidence; trustworthy says Dictionary.com..

Lets face it, times have changed.  No longer is business done simply by a smile and handshake, or accepted based a persons “word” as it once was.  Credibility has all but vanished from business in a sea of lawyers and greed.

That software you just bought and tried to install on Vista; when it doesn’t work you call the manufacturer for assistance.. If your lucky enough to talk to a live person, the first thing they try to do is look for a way out.. “There is a problem with your computer, check for updates, if that doesn’t work reinstall or call Micro$oft.”  A similar story when you call Micro$oft, “Nope can’t talk to you until you sign up for our $39.95 tech support package and when you do we’ll point the finger back at the software..”  Or try walking into your local car dealership and asking what your favorite car costs, you may get an answer after a 15 minute test drive and sitting in the sale persons cubical for an hour.  Or better yet, ask what the trade-in value of your car is..

The point is, credibility is no longer a given in todays business world; even to the point that the average consumer doesn’t even consider it when making a purchase.  Though it has been my experience that if you are able to build a personal relationship with a client, one that allows the client to look beyond the instinct “what’s this guy trying to sell me that I don’t need” and show them that you are a credible business, one worthy of trust and honest, sincere advice; your chances of a successful business relationship with them increases exponentially.

So how do we bring credibility back into business?  At graphXevolution, its simple..

  1. Honesty – Be honest not only with the client but with yourself.  There is nothing wrong with saying to a client “I don’t know” because immediately following should be “But I’ll find out”.  Even the best person in their respective craft doesn’t know everything about it, there is always something to learn.  Be honest with yourself to know your limits and be honest with your client.
  2. Be Upfront – Don’t be the sales man at the car lot that “has to talk to his boss” when really he’s just going to grab a cup of coffee.  Clients hate to be given a bill for additional charges, be it reasonable or not, when they are not expecting it.  Nine times out of ten, a business knows well ahead of time that extra expenses are going to be incurred.. don’t wait, talk to the client about it so they can prepare and are expecting it come invoicing time.  If you follow item 1 and are being honest, generally it does not become an issue.
  3. Be Fair – Be fair, again, not only to the client but to yourself.  Charge a fair price for the value you bring the client.  You as a business have a nitch that makes you successful or you wouldn’t be in business, identify that and be truthful to its value.  I have found that being the lowest price isn’t always the best, many clients look to an average price rather then the cheapest.  Building credibility with that customer will often bridge the gap between your price and the “cheapest” because credibility in it of itself has a value.  Every business wants to make as much money as it can but be fair to yourself and your client.
  4. Say what you are going to do & Do what you say – Identify in detail what you are going to do for the client and be truthful to that.  To me, there is nothing worse then saying you’re going to have a deliverable to them by a specific date and not being able to meet that deadline. Its like waiting for a package only to come home to the yellow sticky on your window because there was no one home to sign for it.  Obviously some things are out of control, but being honest and upfront (items 1 & 2) will help to ease the client.  If your being honest and upfront with yourself when planning deadlines, you can eliminate the vast majority of delays.

Building credibility into your business model can separate you from being another average company or the one that people talk about.  The best form of advertising is word of mouth, credibility is what people talk about next to price.. “They did a great job on my website, gave me exactly what I needed without the stuff I don’t.”..  “Well so and so did my site but they didn’t tell me that the artwork wasn’t mine, they sold me a blog but What’s a blog?“.  At graphXevolution, we are not the cheapest nor the most expensive but our credibility along with knowing our nitch and keeping within it have allowed us to be successful both in business and in customer satisfaction. We take great pride in not having a “list of references”, rather a portfolio of which anyone can be contacted.

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You Wanna Fight?

OK, so here I am sitting trying to think about what to write that would be profound enough for our third post on the blog. This topic came to me because I had just finished a tense conversation with someone who I know could tell what my expressions and attitude were just by reading my typed words. Needless to say I was very touchy and shouldn’t have been talking but instead relaxing. You’ll love the call to action at the end.

There have been so many instances where I’ve been told “you sound happy” and the person doesn’t even hear my voice. There have been other instances where I could tell I was being portrayed as unhappy or dare I say, b#@$%? Mostly after a very long day of being pulled in a million directions and wearing way too many hats. The tone of my typed words, the timing of my response, the edgy nature the words convey, all effect how I’m being perceived.

There are many business professionals who are utlizing a mirror when they chat online or on the phone with colleagues or clients. This was suggested to our business by one of our board members because even though you may not be grumpy or unhappy, your tone will reflect the expression on your face…and I believe it does, even in typed words.

I can understand how a written word is sometimes easier to put down on paper than to speak them. I understand that someone may say, well if I write it down I have a chance to see it on paper and edit my response. But on the other hand, if we loose that passion of spontaneous conversation, even confrontational conversation, what does that say about our socialization skills? Conflict isn’t bad, but insults and hostility have no place in my world.

Always remember that words can harm, especially those that are written down….sometimes even more because they can be saved and pondered upon long after they were composed.

So what’s my call to action for tonight? Go to bed, get at least 7 hours sleep and wake up refreshed because tomorrow is a new day and we’re going to start kicking business in the butt!!!!

~ Darlene