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4 Simple Ways to Build Credibility (And Influence People)

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Building credibility is the first step toward influencing others. You wouldn’t want your team to say yes to someone who walked off the street with zero credentials—and neither does the client you’re pitching to. How does one build credibility in a world where businesses come and go at supersonic speeds? With honesty, authenticity, and a little bit of good old-fashioned gumption.

#1: Learn What Today’s Businesses Want to Hear

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, a global survey on corporate credibility, a certain set of factors typically influence corporate reputation. When asked what the most important factors were to corporate reputation, 83% of subjects answered, “Transparent and honest practices.” Another 83% answered, “[A] company I can trust.” Compare these responses to a mere 45% of subjects who believe “financial returns” to be the most important factor—or the 58% who said, “prices fairly.”

#2: Establish Your Brand’s Authenticity

Businesses don’t want to hear about how well your company is doing this quarter. Sure, that might establish that your enterprise isn’t going under anytime soon, but it doesn’t express your trustworthiness. Instead, touch on these points during a negotiation:

• Your company’s loyal customer following
• The values your company commits to 100%
• Topics your company is passionate about
• Your company’s authenticity, proven by a blog or social media presence

By focusing on what gives your company heart, you can establish your brand’s personality. When you let the party you’re influencing get to know you and your brand, he or she will make a judgment based on an emotional connection.

#3: Support Your Claims With Statistics

Nothing builds credibility like cold, hard facts. Numbers don’t lie. If you have relevant statistics about your brand you can cite during negotiations, client will have no choice but to see that you’re credible. For example, simply stating that your client base is made up of “a lot” of returning clients sounds weaker than stating, “75% of our clients are repeat customers who come back to our company for consistent high quality.”

#4: Stick to Your Guns

A brand that wavers on its core values, beliefs, and life’s work is a banner brand for fickleness. Don’t change your values according to what you think a client wants to hear. Instead, establish your brand based on original intent for the company. During negotiations training, teach your employees to stand firm on your company’s core values. Steep your brand in concrete beliefs and confidence, and your clients will recognize you as a voice of authority—someone they trust and want to work with.

Rebuilding Bridges: How to Salvage a Broken Business Relationship

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Business relationships are just as focused and dependent upon trust as any other relationship. Sometimes, deals fall through, deadlines aren’t met, or the result doesn’t meet expectations. Failings such as these can lead to resentment, but that doesn’t have to be the end of a business relationship. When you’re thinking about whether you should try to fix a damaged business relationship, keep this framework in mind.

Assess the Relationship’s Value 

It may sound harsh, but sometimes it’s better to let a relationship go rather than labor to salvage it. You need to make sure your effort is going to pay off. While this may sound like a cold calculation, rebuilding a business relationship is different from regaining trust from a friend. Emotional attachment may be important to personal relationships, but in the business world, both parties need to bring something to the table.

Know When You’re Wrong

We build relationships on trust, and if that trust is broken, it can be very difficult to repair. Rebuilding trust is possible, but it takes a great deal of effort and sometimes takes quite a long time. First, you need to take accountability for anything you may have done to contribute to the failed relationship. It can be difficult to recognize our own faults, but in the business world, it’s crucial that you’re able to own your mistakes so you don’t repeat them. Remember, you’re not just representing yourself – you represent your organization. Personal pride shouldn’t impact those types of decisions.

Open the Communication Channels

Once you have accounted for where you may have gone wrong, it’s time to open a dialog. This can be most difficult when trying to regain a frustrated client or customer, but it’s not impossible. Ask the other party what could have been done differently and if there’s anything you can do to resolve the issue now. Sometimes a singular issue can uncover a larger problem within your organization, so take the time to hear the other party, and then ask if you can do anything to improve your organization as a whole.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

This adage rings true in the business world. If you’ve determined where a business relationship has gone wrong, believe that it’s worth salvaging, and have reopened communications with the other party, it’s time to start making moves. If both parties have something to gain from continuing to do business with each other, it makes the process much easier. While emotions don’t play as much of a role in the business world as they do with personal relationships, the wronged party needs to see that you’re willing to accept failings on your part and are taking measurable steps to correct them.

Any business relationship has potential, so they’re almost always worth salvaging. Take the time to extend an olive branch and try to rectify your past mistakes. You don’t want to be known as an organization that doesn’t play well with others.

How to Encourage Corporate Social Responsibility

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The younger generations entering today’s workforce are far less concerned with benefits and compensation than previous generations were and are more concerned with sustainability, personal freedom, and responsible corporate citizenship. Today’s workforce wants to work for companies that are more concerned with helping their fellow man and the world than they are with their bottom lines.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a company’s commitment to sustainable operations and giving back to society and environment. It isn’t just the right thing to do – it has significant benefits for the companies that embrace it. Consumers do more research today on the products they buy and the companies they support than ever before, and they can do this research almost instantly from anywhere in the world.

CSR Encourages Innovation

Some companies have trouble maintaining high employee morale and some are looking for ways to make their employees feel more valued and engaged in their work. Driving a CSR-focused campaign is a great way to encourage creativity and boost workplace morale if the employees think they’re making positive changes for the world. Emphasize the importance of a CSR initiative during training sessions, so employees know why they’re doing what they’re doing, and why it matters to the company, their community, and the world.

Using CSR to Cut Costs

Corporate social responsibility can entail pursuing more sustainable energy solutions. Lean operations are quickly becoming the norm in the corporate world, and organizations are looking to cut unnecessary expenses, time sinks, and operations to work more efficiently. Doing so often involves adopting more eco-friendly solutions to workplace operations and saves operating costs at the same time. Your company’s employees and shareholders will be proud to associate with an environmentally responsible company.

CSR Sets Your Brand Apart

Committing to sustainable operating procedures, engaging in philanthropy (such as charity events), and adopting ethical labor standards are ways your company will stand apart as one that is concerned with the world’s wellbeing and wants to make a positive impact on it. The younger generation of consumers is also going to be more likely to support brands that are committed to sustainability and ethical operations, rather than simply looking for the best deals.

Building Long-Term Relevance

Creating a company culture with CSR as a bedrock value is a surefire way for a business to stay relevant in a constantly morphing world. Employees are more likely to find value in their work and daily routines when they know their organization is committed to helping make a better world for everyone they touch – their customers, partners, employees, shareholders, and their local communities all benefit from CSR-focused values and programs.

Tips for Communicating Value to Clients

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Every business needs clients to function. To keep clients, you must convince them they are investing in a valuable product or service. Communicating value can be difficult if you own a large company or business, but it isn’t impossible. With the right strategies, you can communicate the value of any product or service, maintain your current client base, and find new clients.

Ask First

It might seem like common sense to ask customers or clients what they value in a product. Surprisingly though, many business owners don’t ask. Thus, their clients don’t feel valued and don’t get the product they are looking for. Before selling one product or service, ask customers what they value most about what you offer. If you’re a baker, is it healthy, gluten-free ingredients? If you’re a mechanic, is it your response time or the specific tools you use? Ask customers what they like about your existing product, what they would change, and what they would like to see more in the future.

Think Beyond Price

Most customers or clients want an inexpensive product, but they also want to come away satisfied with their purchase. For example, no one wants a well-priced product that breaks down easily, or a service that is fast and inexpensive, but of poor quality. When deciding how to sell your product, think about other factors such as –

  • The specific response you want
  • What you are willing to guarantee (e.g. is your new electric blanket safer and warmer than competing products)?
  • The knowledge your customers already have. Customers who frequently restore old cars will come to your mechanic shop with a greater knowledge base than those who don’t.

Use a Rating System

Rating systems are one of the quickest, most efficient ways to get customer feedback. A rating scale can tell you in one number how your business or product is doing in several areas, and it saves you the time it would take to read through paragraphs of feedback. A rating scale will also draw your attention to additional comments; if someone takes the time to specifically say what they liked or did not like, you’ll notice it right away and be in a better position to change it if necessary.

Find a rating system that works for you – for example, 1-5 with 5 being the best – and stick with it. Check your ratings often. If one or two areas get consistently low ratings, focus most of your energy on improving them.

Build Rapport with Customers

You can’t communicate value to clients without talking to them. Good communication often starts with rapport. Remember your customers’ names when possible, as well as details about the products or service types they like. For example, if you own a ‘50s-style café, get to know your customers well enough that you can ask, “The usual?” If you own a bookstore and know one specific customer likes a certain author, call or email her when a new release from that person is in. If you need help building and maintaining rapport, you can also check out our negotiation training or influence training for assistance.

The Impact of Body Language in Negotiations

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Whether you are negotiating for a raise, time off, or the sale of a new product, every word and movement in a negotiation is crucial. Most people know to choose their words carefully while negotiating, but body language is often forgotten. The way we toss our head, flail our hands and crisscross our legs all influence negotiations in distinctive ways, so using the right body language is vital to success.

Copycat for Success

Researchers often find that the longer two people are in the same room, the more they mimic each other’s body language and gestures. For example, you might come into your supervisor’s office to negotiate a raise and find that after twenty minutes, you’re both leaning back with your legs crossed. Most people feel silly when they realize this is happening or worry that mimicry will make them look like they are brownnosing, so they stop doing it.

Researchers, however, tend to agree that mimicry is positive. Mimicking someone else’s body language or gestures, even unconsciously, shows a desire to build rapport. Additionally, most people find that clients who mimic them are more persuasive and honest than those who do not.

Stay Constructive

If you negotiate frequently, chances are you will eventually come across someone who you find challenging to converse with. This person may ask you the same type of questions over and over. He or she may pronounce a common word in a way that annoys you or unconsciously drum his or her fingers on the table. No matter the behavior, it can be difficult to hide your irritation.

 

Researchers have performed studies to determine whether people can hide their reactions to emotionally charged images. The studies found that although discomfort is difficult to hide, untrained observers do not often detect it. In other words, your client may not realize his finger-drumming distracts you, or your boss may not realize you’re nervous during a meeting. That being said, experts recommend that you stay as constructive as possible. Use neutral body language, and phrase criticisms constructively.

 

Have a Handshake

 

For decades, experts have advised employees to maintain a firm, warm handshake. While firm handshakes are still preferable, handshakes of any kind make people feel comfortable and respected. If you can’t grip someone’s hand as firmly as a colleague, or if your hands are naturally cold, don’t despair. The fact that you made the gesture will show the other person you are serious about negotiations and care what they have to say.

 

Keep Eye Contact

 

Eye contact is difficult for many people. In fact, some people from countries outside the US may find it offensive. However, good eye contact is key for US and Canadian negotiations. Maintain it to show your honesty and interest in the other person. Try not stare or focus too long on one point. This can be interpreted as aggression. Feel free to look away while thinking or deciding how to word something. If you naturally have trouble with eye contact – for example, you are from a culture that frowns on it – let the other person know. That way, he or she won’t assume you’re being evasive.

 

If you would like more tips, you can visit us online to find out about negotiation training.

How to Influence Management

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You don’t have to be a manager or CEO to influence others. Many people are born with the innate talent to influence. They seem to have a natural ability to compel others to listen; however, this is a talent that can be learned, as well. Influence training helps people learn to look within themselves and find the power to lead people. Leadership is an important skill to learn, whether or not you’re in a leadership role. It’s a skill that can be carried on throughout the rest of your career and life.

Be Logical 

When trying to get your point across, you must first address the logic within your cause. If you can convey to someone that your argument is a logical alternative, he or she will be more willing to listen to what you have to say. If you’re trying to come to problem solve with upper management, logical arguments usually create attentive listeners.

Be sure your side is clearly defined, and offer factual details to back it up. Be ready to address the downsides with effective solutions, as well. For example, if you’re trying to influence management to let you take on new responsibilities, explain how you will handle these duties. Address the common pitfalls that hinder those with new responsibilities and how you plan to handle them.

Speak to His or Her Emotional Side 

Another way to build on your ability to influence is to appeal to the person emotionally. Obviously, you need to understand your audience to do this. Speaking with great enthusiasm isn’t going to win over curt and fact-focused managers. Think about the person you’re trying to convince, speak to his or her emotion, and slip his or her name into conversation when you can. This age old trick is a proven way to get people to listen – just don’t use it too much or you risk sounding robotic!

Work Together 

One of the most time-tested approaches to influencing others is to convince them to get on board with you. “If you can’t beat em’, join em’,” as they say. With this tactic, you’re playing up the solution you will reach together. There are several ways to appeal to the cooperative side of the argument. For example, you could ask the person for help or new ideas with a topic, you could partner up and work directly with someone, or you can form alliances with those who already support your cause.

Many effective influencers use a combination of these three tactics. With practice, you will learn when and where each scenario works best. As you get better at reading people, you will get better at influencing them, and vice versa. This will also help you build essential leadership skills to advance your career.

Sources: http://www.forbes.com/2011/01/03/influence-persuasion-cooperation-leadership-managing-ccl.html