“Credibility is a leaders currency” – John C Maxwell
In the age where we live in, access to information is easy. Virtually everywhere we have access to variety of data bases via the intermediary of the internet. As there is so much information out there, it becomes more and more difficult for businesses and individuals alike to establish and cement their credibility. It is no secret, that before a sale could be closed a degree of credibility needs to be established. This is especially, important when it comes to enterprise conversations in the financial industry. In that sector when customers choose a technological product, they expect that can help the development of their business across the organisation. Throughout my various experiences, in financial services and financial technology, I have noticed that there are some really some basic strategies that can be really helpful when establishing your reputation. What is more, most of them tend to be transferable.
While building credibility and proving your expertise, the first thing to remember is the fact that the whole process will inevitably take time. There is no point of rushing, especially when dealing with complex products and large organisations. As an example, if you are about to position an enterprise wide managed solution to an asset manager that will benefit the trading team, as well as senior management, portfolio management, compliance and operations, you will have to have at least a meeting with each department member at least couple of times before you can prove that you know about their business and you can potentially solve their most painful challenges. There is no point of rushing, as this can easily backfire. However, there is a point on being efficient and smart about the process.
The first obvious mistake is to talk too much about your service or product and how amazing they are. Instead it is better to describe what the situation is, in for example a competitor of the organisation to whom you talk at the moment. Mention how they have managed to solve some of their challenges. This is key during the initial stages of your conversation with your potential buyer. To establish credibility, it is especially important to emphatise with your prospect on his pain points and listen very carefully to what they say. Ask questions about their business, about their challenges , about how they think these could be fixed if at all. Be curious and listen instead of talking. If asked about your product or service, remain vague and as factual as possible in initial stages.
As the relationship with your prospect evolves and grows, aim to bring value in each and every single interaction you have. For example, let them know about the results your other clients achieved solving similar challenges. Remain as factual as you possibly can. Share what you have learned by interacting with others in the industry you work in. Think of the common challenges the industry goes trough. In finance for example, regulation is a big theme at the moment. Practically, each and every single organisation faces similar challenges with getting up to speed with the upcoming regulation as well as its implications at both organisational and industry level. Focus on what are the critical business issues for your prospect. Think what it takes to turn these challenges into opportunities helping your potential client to gain more business. Learn enough about your customer so that you can share relevant ideas, insights, and information that you factually know would be beneficial to them. Ask questions. But most of all, make sure they have no doubt that your intent is to provide value to them.
The fact of the matter is there is no size fits all. It is the same in financial technology. Your service or solution is not perfect for everyone. When you’re under corporate or self-induced pressure to close more sales, it can be hard to remain truthful and avoid doing and saying anything to win the sale. However, remember that your expert brand in your field and industry are more important than winning a deal which ultimately will deliver a solution not solving the challenge faced by the client. Remember that reputation takes ages to build and a single second to destroy. Before closing a deal that you know, there is a chance that the product or service you sell will not deliver what the prospect needs, think whether you would go to a see a sergeant who long ago has done an unnecessary surgery to friend of yours. This friend of yours, now has a long term disability because of that unnecessary surgery went wrong. Chances are you might not be willing to even see that person and you might even wonder how it is possible that they are still in business. Long story short, think of your prospect as a patient, and always put their interest at the forefront. Sometimes that can meant recommending a solution that you do not offer. Remember, developing trust is essential and it comes back as a boomerang. The more truthful you are, the more word of a month business referrals you will get. Trust is precious. Without it, you don’t have a chance to get the business. With it, you’ll have an opportunity to grow long-term, highly profitable relationships. It’s worth the effort.
Remember that in the digital age where we now live, your digital record is what you are. Exactly like you credit score in front of the bank you are asking for a mortgage, what you post and share on the internet can help you build your credibility in front of your future clients. Taking that seriously, will yield great results for long time. Think what your future clients will think of you if you constantly share and create content that is relevant to them, as well as display the success you have had with other people in the industry. As always, like, share, comment and of course tell me what are your strategies for building credibility.
Boris Grozev is a seasoned fintech executive. Entrepreneur by heart Boris has helped number of businesses to create and implement business development and product strategies. His advisory work in Emerging and Frontier markets has promoted culture and technology change, fostered innovation and lead to tangible results. He invests in variety of asset classes. Boris is a fast learner, whose leadership abilities, ambition, stamina, passion to succeed and attitude naturally spread to others helping to achieve common goals.