Speaking plainly, Credibility in Business is our ability to make others trust us based on face value. It is one of the keys of B2B communications, and one of the major factors in earning new clients.
We should never judge a book by its cover. However who would you trust with your legal defense? A person who just stepped up to you on the street in in a tracksuit, or someone who wears a suit and shows you their previous achievements? The other might be a star lawyer, but without proof you will naturally gravitate towards the more credible choice.
By the Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition, Credibility is “the quality or power of inspiring belief”. In business communications it is the rational counterpart of Trust. It is an objective collection and evaluation of a company’s previous results, works and actions.
Because of the possible risks, most decision makers would rather choose a company with a lesser, but well known service, instead of a new one with no credible references. This leads us back to our starting thought experiment about looks and proofs, and how they influence our perceived credibility.
How to Communicate Credibility?
In order to transition credibility we need actions and results first. There has to be proof of the message, and that stems from Knowledge. If the aforementioned elements are there, credibility is the strongest force a company can have to attract new customers and to keep their existing ones.
Credibility is made up by cold hard facts, which need to be communicated engagingly and according to the given industry’s standards. Well executed Technical and Commercial Communications are the biggest tools for establishing Credibility in business.
How to Appear Credible?
However, just like with everything in life, a little show is always appreciated. The looks of our company has to be on par with our achievements. Otherwise people will take us as a fraud.
For example, can a web design firm be credible with an abysmal, borderline unusable website? In this imaginary case would a long list of high profile references mean anything? Well, even if they do, their convincing effect will be severely weaker.