Entertainer Milton Berle said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” In business, if customers are not knocking down your door, it may be because you need to build credibility first, and public relations can help.
You cannot build credibility in a day. However, there are strategies you can adopt today to lay a strong foundation of trust and develop a solid reputation, using public relations tools and techniques.
The importance of credibility in business
The definition of credibility is to inspire trust and respect in others. Credibility is not some instant, one-time activity. You must earn it, over time, through a combination of factors.
Everyone from the CEO to the sales team must establish credibility. For example, employees may question the ideas and not enthusiastically follow a leader they don’t trust. Potential customers are reluctant to purchase from a salesperson who is unsure about the product he is selling or if they smell a rat. Credibility is necessary in most any business situation, from giving presentations to working with vendors.
What you need to do to build credibility
In other words, always be able to deliver what you promise. Also, if you make a mistake, accept responsibility immediately instead of trying to pass blame. Then, go above and beyond to correct it.
When you explain what you are going to do, there should be no mystery about your intentions. Anyone allowed to speak for your company should first receive spokesperson training from a PR firm to ensure that your messages are delivered effectively. Also vital: If there is bad news to share, don’t hide. Keep the lines of communication open.
Remember that listening is also a part of communication. Use public relations, social media and industry influencers to learn what customers want and how your company can help solve problems.
Don’t proclaim to be a company that cares about American-made products and then ship hundreds of positions overseas. Discuss your values and goals openly and be transparent about your operations and culture.
Nothing looks worse than insisting your employees work longer hours for no additional pay or telling your customers that you must raise prices, and then flying off to an exotic vacation in your private jet. People do notice such contradictions and will soon begin to be suspicious of everything you say. With help from a PR firm, you can learn how to build a positive image where your words and your actions are aligned.
Promote your accomplishments.
Every victory and industry award helps to establish your company as a thought leader. Seek recognition from news media and don’t forget to toot your own horn by highlighting your achievements on your website and social media platforms.
Let your expertise shine.
People want to see that you know your product and industry inside and out. Stay on top of trends and changes in your field and work to become the go-to source for information and new developments. A competent PR team can help you share your knowledge by finding the right speaking events, positioning you as an expert source for journalists and using tools to help customers better understand your product, such as how-to videos.
Perhaps just as important, never be afraid to admit when you don’t know something. Making incorrect assumptions, embellishments or statements that are plain wrong can damage your reputation and hurt the credibility you are trying to build.
Hire a PR agency to help you.
Even as you attempt to build credibility, one mistake or crisis can tear it all down in minutes. According to a recent survey, consumers rank trust and credibility higher than product quality when rating a company’s reputation. A PR firm can manage it all for you and help to protect your brand.