Don't you wish you could make deals faster? One of the reasons it takes so long to make a deal is the lack of trust between you and your client. As everyone knows, it takes a long time to build a relationship. The Online Marketing Institute has shown it takes between 7-13 touches with a client before you make a sales-ready lead.
However, if you want to quickly build your credibility and make deals faster, you can do so by establishing your expertise. According to social psychologist Robert Cialdini, we can quickly establish our expertise by using one of these three methods.
Display your diploma, award, or credential.
Enter the office of any doctor or lawyer and you'll see a framed diploma hanging on their wall. Why? It's not that they're just proud of their accomplishments. They are. But doctors and lawyers also know that a framed degree in your eyeline is the quickest and most efficient way to give evidence of expertise.
In a study reported in Cialdini's book, Yes, he shows the power of the paper credential. In his example, physician's assistants were having difficulty getting their patients to listen to their medical advice. However, after the physician's assistants openly displayed their medical credentials, patients were much more willing to listen.
Lesson: Next time you get a certificate of your expertise, post it where your clients can see it.
Advertise your testimonials first.
If you don't have a fancy diploma or award to display, a great way to authenticate your expertise is with a testimonial. If someone else testifies you are an expert, clients are more willing to believe it.
For the strongest effect, Cialdini suggests placing the best testimonial at the top of your webpage or advertisement. If people read the testimonial first, it will lend authority to what is written afterwards.
In person, you can also use printed and verbal testimonials. For print, you can frame a letter of praise from a client and place it on your desk facing a client. Or have one of your colleagues speak highly of you.
Cialdini says in his book, Yes, you can easily establish authority to a colleague over the phone.
For a real estate firm, for example, the receptionist could say, "I'm going to put you through to Sheldon, our head of sales. Sheldon has twenty years of experience selling properties; in fact, he recently sold a property very similar to yours." Once clients hear this verbal testimonial, they are more likely to trust Sheldon's expert advice.
Lesson: People trust the advice of experts, so make sure people know you are one.
Acknowledge your weakness.
Want to gain someone's trust for your expertise almost immediately? All you need to do is acknowledge your weakness early on.
Many presenters make the mistake of highlighting all the good features of a product first and leave any weaknesses until later--or never. However, in his bestselling book Pre-Suasion, Cialdini states that when you acknowledge a weakness early on (especially one that people are aware of), people are more likely to believe what you say about your strengths.
Cialdini says this strategy has been used effectively in trials (when an attorney admits to a weakness of the case), in politics (when the politician acknowledges the positive of an opponent), and in advertising.
For example, when companies acknowledge a drawback in a product or service before highlighting its strengths, they see sales increase. Avis Rent A Car did this in their very successful "We're #2. We Try Harder" campaign. By admitting their weakness first, people were more inclined to believe their strength.
Lesson: By admitting your weakness early on, you can build authority for your strengths.