Vital Component to Marketing Success: Establishing Credibility

Copyright © 2007 Joel Sussman

As a salesperson or the owner of a small business, do you consider yourself to be qualified, experienced, and dependable? More importantly, have 95% of your customers had a satisfying experience doing business with you or your company? If your answer is ‘yes’ to all those questions, then your services or products have the potential to be in high demand. The trick is effectively communicating that information to your target market.

Let’s assume that you have what your prospective customers are looking for: excellent service, high ethical and quality standards, a near-perfect track record in living up to promises and producing desired results, and the skills or knowledge to help your clients achieve their goals or solve their problems. Think about it. You are exactly what people are scouring the Internet or Yellow Pages for and spending countless hours researching. If you’re not in demand now, then you ought to be!

What’s Standing in the Way?

In all likelihood, your phone isn’t ringing off the hook because you haven’t convinced your prospects that you can offer them all these desirable qualities and benefits. That’s where marketing strategy comes in!

Whether or not people ask you these questions, you can be sure it’s almost always on their minds: “How long have you been in business? What are your credentials? Are there people who can vouch for your dependability (provide references)? Why should I feel secure choosing you over the competition for this important project/need/solution?

Strategies for Establishing Credibility & Trust

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a minute and try to think like someone who’s in the market for your services. At some level, they’re thinking, “Why should I put my faith in this person or business?”

One good way to project an image of reliability is to join the Better Business Bureau and display their logo in your ads, stationery, brochures, and web site. According to their web site, “members of local BBBs are businesses and firms which meet tough BBB membership standards, agree to follow the highest principles of business ethics and voluntary self-regulation, and have a proven record of marketplace honesty and integrity.”

Another approach to making a good impression is to join professional organizations and display that affiliation, wherever space allows, in your ads, letters, and marketing literature. Someone who’s a member of a professional or industry organization usually cares about ethical standards, working cooperatively with others, and keeping their training up to date. It also conveys the impression that they take their profession seriously and that they’re not a ‘fly by night’ operation. Membership in Chambers of Commerce can also be an image-enhancing investment.

Some other ways to establish credibility and trust include being active in the community, earning professional credentials, appearing in the media as an organizational or industry spokesperson, conducting seminars, teaching classes, writing a newspaper column, and speaking at public events and meetings. Having a well-designed, up-to-date website (that’s not ‘under construction’), professional-looking business cards, and an impeccable reputation are also important facets of branding you and your company as a dependable and quality-conscious source of products and services.

Joel N. Sussman is a business writer, newsletter publisher, and webmaster of Marketing Survival, a resource for small business owners. Visit for a wealth of helpful marketing ideas and articles, marketing templates, downloadable marketing manuals, and free marketing tips newsletters.