You may have done hours of research and reading, and be well prepared. That won't automatically give you the authority you need to close deals. You may have a great product no one else has, and invested significant amounts of time putting your information together. But, so what?
No one knows who you are, or where you're coming from. How can you convince them to do business with you when you haven't done any business at all? You have to inspire trust in order to bridge that gap.
Easier said than done, right?
Believe it or not, there are three psychological tactics that will help you gain credibility instantly. Get the attention you need, and instill the necessary confidence to take your audience from reader to customer. Follow along, and learn how it's done. This is easier than a Jedi mind trick, but just as cool.
Create an argument... against yourself.
This sounds counterproductive, yeah. But by first determining who your ideal customer is, you can clearly define who your customer is not. Build an argument based on who you DON'T want to buy your product.
You may be asking what sense this could possibly make. But the fact of the matter is, potential customers will be impressed by the fact that you are willing to turn people away. You will score major credibility points this way. You appear more honest by arguing against your own self interests. Potential customers will lose confidence in you if you market your product as one size fits all. No product or service is going to suit everyone, so find those it doesn't suit, and use them to your advantage!
An interesting experiment, conducted by Dr. Elliot Aronson, proves how simple this concept is. Two newspaper articles were written, in which an interview was conducted with Joe "The Shoulder" Nepalitano. He was used as a low prestige source, as he is a convicted criminal and drug dealer. In one newspaper, Joe argued against stricter courts and more severe sentences.
In the other, Joe argued for more lenient courts and less severe sentences. In the group where he argued for more lenient courts, his argument was not effective. Yet, when he argued for stricter courts, his argument was extremely convincing. Why? Because he was arguing against his own self interest. People tend to believe an argument when there is nothing to be gained.
People believe precise numbers!
This is common knowledge in the field of marketing. Just as details will help take your pitch from questionable to quality, precision will bring with it a sense of authority. It may seem easier to round off numbers, and make your content more easily digestible for your audience. But, in truth, people find specific numbers more believable because it infers accuracy. Accuracy infers that you know what you're talking about, and isn't that the idea?
Daniel Schley of Ohio State University conducted a study whereby he asked a group of people which was more believeable; A) that 60% of American households recycle, or B) that 60.37% of American households recycle. People were more inclined to believe B, and of those people, 78% said it was more believable because it demonstrated accuracy.
Don't be lazy. It would be simple to write a testimonial with a guesstimate of 200,000. But people are more likely to take you seriously if exact numbers like 201,618 are given. You may think that rounding numbers for your potential customers is not a big deal, but this is a self-defeating practice. Why?
People believe precise numbers!
(Hey, you're catching on!)
In order to garner authority, you need to give full disclosures. Part of this is making sure that you go the extra mile and find out the exact statistics, the full numbers, the entire quantity or population, down to the hundredth if that data is available. The further you take it, the more credibility you will earn, bottom line.
The final tip for you is something that would appear obvious. Yet, many of us just plain don't do it. Without further ado, we bring you...
When you make a claim, provide proof to back it up.
Ok, no kidding. But this wouldn't be a trick if everyone were doing it, right? Somehow it still gets overlooked. Don't falter on this point, it is essential.
It sounds like common sense, but when you're going to make an argument, be ready to provide data to back it up. Hearsay and "thought leadership" are not enough to convince your readers to accept you as an authority. You must be able to stand behind the claims you make and give supporting information. Now, use research wherever possible, from a qualified research database. But, if no research is readily available for you to source, then focus on these other options for providing proof:
- Statistics, as in from the Census Bureau
- Personal Stories, from your life or your customers' lives
- Testimonials, from the people you work with
- Professional or Media-given Accolades, awards, logos or designations
This is so simple, and so obvious. But without proof, you're just the average guy on the street. If you want to convey the idea that you know what you're talking about, bring the information to back it up. Get used to doing this, make it a habit. Being well prepared gives you the authority you seek to convert prospects into customers, and establish the confidence that your audiences needs to buy from you.
Besides, it increases your confidence. And confidence is very sexy.
Use all three tips together, and watch your conversion rate soar, even when you're just starting off. The reality is that in most cases, when people buy a product, it's less about the product and more about you.
Don't be afraid to sell yourself, but do it honestly. Stand behind your product, believe in what you do, do the right thing, and the sincerity you need to convey will become automatic.