Do You Struggle With Creating Credibility As An Expert In Your Online Business? Storytelling

The best way to create credibility lies in two simple actions:
• Think of your website as your “story”
• Live your story in social networks, media, YouTube videos, articles, guest spots and live venues

But there’s one key point here: Your story has to mirror your ideal customer or clients. Show her you totally understand her challenges and can provide what she has trouble providing.
In other words, both customers and clients have to be able to relate.

If you go back to our first exercise, where you thought of a professional that you connected with instantly after reading an article or a post on their website, that is most likely the reason – you found yourself saying: “It’s as if she was talking about me!” Or: “Yes! That’s EXACTLY what I’ve been trying to tell people I’m having trouble with!”

The best way to give your story credibility is to be real: Just tell it like it is.
Then edit out anything that doesn’t relate to your customers.
For example, they don’t need to know about your epiphany with bird-watching if your website is there to help them get into the best physical shape of your life – unless you tell your bird-watching story to demonstrate that unwittingly, as you were hiking miles of trails in search of the rare stomach-catcher warbler, you were toning your leg muscles and losing weight without thinking about it (relevance).
Here’s how to tell a great story – one that will resonate with your customer or client.
1. Find out their biggest concern, problem, desire or need
Don’t be hasty about this. Dig deep. Think about what you’re reading, hearing and what they are showing you.
For example, when a client says “I need someone to do my bookkeeping”, yes, he may mean it literally – but stop. Take the time to think about what is really underneath this comment. (Look for clues in other statements, complaints, questions – or just ask your client why!)
What they could really be saying is any of the following:
• “I hate bookkeeping. Mathematics makes me break out in hives.”
• “I can do it, but I don’t make money when I do my own books – I make it when I design a website.”
• “I feel frazzled and overwhelmed with my business.”
• “I need to keep in a creative-flow state of mind, and bookkeeping knocks me out of that.”
The really brilliant storytellers don’t just speak just to their clients’ visible problems: It’s when they tap into the hidden fear, desire or frustration underneath the surface – and address that hidden issue directly – that they create loyalty (and credibility).
2. Be yourself
Speak to your clients with your own voice. People who think they need to put on an “image” do exactly that – and people see through insincerity much quicker online than they used to, in the internet’s infancy.
When people read your articles or website posts, they should hear the same voice you use when you speak to them. In their minds, there should be no difference between reading what you’ve written and listening to your podcast.
3. Be ruthless
Not with your clients or customers: With your storytelling. If a sentence or paragraph doesn’t directly support, clarify, prove or reinforce your story’s main point or premise, kill it.
Cut out adjectives and adverbs too. Keep sentences short. (They’ll be easier for your readers to remember and accept.)
Avoid self-indulgence. Only tell an anecdote if it directly relates to your reader’s problem or need: If it elucidates the point your story is making.
Never tell anecdotes for the sake of “venting” or “sharing”: That’s what you do with your counsellor or coach, or your fellow mastermind group members – not with your clients or customers. The moment you vent or share, the story is all about you – not about your audience.
Reveal just enough to connect emotionally – just enough to use yourself as an example of your main point.
Focus on your client or customer.
4. Be repetitive.
Not like a broken record, but communicating in the way your audience has come to expect. Use templates to help create that repetitive consistency. Create regular, recurring features people can look forward to (and remember).
There’s a reason that little children love stories based on simple repetition.
Repetition means structure; and structure equals “safety”.
Safety equals credibility.
Even when you present wildly different theories or products, presenting them stamped with elements of repetition – your company colors, your logo, your price structure – helps to reassure those ready to take your exciting new step.
5. Be real.
So we’ve talked about repetition and consistency and safety for your audience. When it comes to you, however, be prepared to take risks. Reveal yourself if you want your customer to view you as a real person who actually does understand her life circumstances. If you sit comfortably, several stories above your customer, apparently having been perfect all your life, they will never relate to you (no matter how much they might envy you).
If they know you’ve had the same weaknesses, struggles, challenges and failures, it will mean much more to your customers when they see you now, having surpassed these. This is proof they can really do what you do; get to where you’re sitting.
That’s called “credibility” too – and it’s the most important sort: it’s emotional credibility.
It’s all about relevance. It’s not really about you (even if you’re positioning yourself as – we’ll use that archaic and outdated word – a guru): It’s only ever about your customer or client, and her particular journey.

Do You Struggle With Creating Credibility As An Expert In Your Online Business? Certification and Credentials – Are they Necessary?

Prefer To Listen

I invite you to first read the following articles, before you proceed further
“Do You Struggle With Creating Credibility As An Expert In Your Online Business? Put the Past into Perspective – and Words”
Do You Struggle With Creating Credibility As An Expert In Your Online Business? Determine What Credentials You Need to Succeed

Secondly, I am sharing whatever knowledge I gained through the books I read and my personal experience. Things may have changed. Please feel free to share, correct or add any information. Just scroll up and click comment button and share your thoughts.

Do any of your most successful competitors have degrees or accreditation? If so, do they display their degrees after their names? Do they show accreditation stamps or professional organization logos prominently on their blogs or websites?

If they do, then it’s a sure bet accreditation is important; even if only legally. Consider taking courses or joining the same professional organizations, if you need to do so – or else figure out another way you are going to show professional credibility. (For example, Canadian interior designers and draftspersons legally need to acquire a B.C.I.N. number before they can practice.)
You can still practice as an architectural technologist if you don’t have one – but you need to be ready to associate with or hire a fellow professional who does possess a B.C.I.N. and who is ready to provide that number on stamped drawings.

What you would do in this instance would be to highlight your awards, if your design experience went back a long way, and/or briefly talk about major industry-breakthrough achievements. (E.G. “Invented the circular, self-closing skylight for Cargill and Company, 1989”)
And, of course, display your results – before and after shots of a client’s renovation project, for example. (Happy or proud clients are usually pleased to give permission and provide photographs – and testimonials. But you have to ask them – and the best time to do that is in your second consultation, so that you are setting them up for your specific request when the job is done – not afterwards.)

If you were an interior designer, you would also see, while checking out B.C.I.N. certification, that requirements are changing in 2017: A three-year college diploma will no longer be adequate for certification. You would need “a CIDA-accredited bachelor’s degree program as the minimum education requirement”.
Fortunately, most online marketers don’t need such stringent and specific certification – and degrees are not always a guarantee of stronger credibility if they are too general or not relevant to your client’s need today: However, one factor you do need to check carefully is whether or not certain certifications are required by law.
To relate this with online marketing examples:

• A university business degree is not half as important to a client struggling with setting up her shopping cart as whether or not you can do it for her simply and quickly
• You do, by law, need a disclaimer page about affiliate earnings, if you have affiliate links on any of your pages
• Certain types of coaches don’t need anything more than visible, proven experience: Others, however, by law need highly specific professional accreditation to practice
You can also display seals and insignia from other professional organizations to bolster your professional image – and the beauty of these organizations is their courses are not necessarily three-year courses: For example, a licensed plumber could increase the credibility of his site with any number of professional logos after his contact information – the customer doesn’t need to know that the snazzy “CPDA” logo really means he took a week-long course in effluent pumps with the Cochrane Professional Dealers Association.
To summarize, certification, degrees and credentials are sometimes required by law in certain fields, but displaying or talking about other credentials and certification is only as strong as the way you position and present them. If you are able to show a potential client your membership in a certain body is to her advantage, go for it!
And everybody, in any field, should always keep their ears to the ground to find out what new laws are going to be put into effect and which credentials are soon going to be required.
But when deciding which of your accreditation to highlight or display, the main point to keep in mind is:
• Show what is legally required for your industry and field
• Show what your customer or client most urgently needs/wants to see
If you don’t need to clutter up a website talking for two pages about your credentials or degrees, don’t.
Focus on proven results.

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