This will very likely surprise you.
It never ceases to amaze me how often people who are honest and have high integrity are perceived as untruthful in high-powered communications settings. Indeed, the opposite is also true. The dishonest and crooked are often perceived as truthful and people of high integrity.
Why is this? Credibility is in the eye of the perceiver. We will not be perceived as credible if we don’t meet our perceiver’s standards. The law of persuasion to keep in mind here is the law of friends:
“When someone asks you to do something and you perceive that person to have your best interests in mind, and/or you would like him to have your best interests in mind, you are strongly motivated to fulfill the request.
The first rule of credibility is never to tell another person more than he can believe, your product, service, or idea may be the best there is and solve all the problems in the world. But if the perceiver doesn’t think it can do all this and more, he won’t want anything to do with it or you. You will be perceived as exaggerating and this will result in a LOSE/LOSE situation.
You must be ready to point out the negative aspects of your service. Even IBM has bad points! (Not many, but they are there)
If you can point out a negative aspect about your product, service, or idea, you’ll disarm the perceiver from trying to find it, leaving him to focus on the benefits. You gain great credibility when you appear objective looking at your own products, services, ideas, and opinions.
The second thing you can do to appear credible is to be precise, Instead of saying that you lost twenty pounds, say the truth. You lost seventeen pounds! That sounds 100 percent believable.
A famous example of precision is Dove soap advertising itself as 99.44% pure. Now, I doubt that if you chemically broke it down you would come up with 99.44% pure. It’s probably more’. But that number sounds exactly right doesn’t it? Or Domestos kills 99% of germs it’s just the same. You would never question it.
If your computer software will save a company 28% say it will save them 28%. Don’t say30%.
Products or services that sell for £500 give the appearance of a negotiable price, but those that sell for £497 appear to have a less negotiable price.
Another key step in gaining credibility is to have written documentation by objective parties. You can say something to make a sale and it may be suspect. For someone else with nothing to gain from the transaction to say something incredible about you or your product is a big credibility builder.
Finally, in most transactions the person who started the transaction probably has something to gain. It would be very wise to diminish that fact: “Whether you buy my product or not is OK with me. It’s either going to make a big difference for you, or it isn’t. If it’s not, you shouldn’t buy it. It’s completely up to you.” After you’ve said that, all defenses come down and you will generally be perceived as a professional, competent, and credible salesperson.
If you are not in sales, credibility is still a very important part of who you are. Are you a person of your word? Are you 100 percent reliable, 100 percent consistent, 100 percent of the time? Do you always come through? Do you walk your talk? Are you always seeking WIN/WIN situations? if so, you will be perceived as credible in your business and personal relationships.