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The Trusted Advisor’s Guide to Building Credibility Through Competence

Establishing credibility acts as a linchpin for professionals to gain trust and influence in their respective fields and a foundation upon which B2B relationships are formed. The role of competency, in particular, is fundamental in establishing credibility since it shows expertise and knowledge. It is an effective strategy to move from being in a "Transactional" relationship with a client to being their Trusted Advisor.

Ready to go improve your skills? Below are some best practices on how Trusted Advisors can build credibility in client relationships through competency.

Building credibility: Someone speaking in front of a small audience

Demonstrate Expertise and Knowledge

According to Forbes, demonstrating a high level of knowledge and expertise in your field is one of the most effective ways to establish credibility, and this feat can be achieved mainly through three avenues.

First, pursue continuous learning to keep abreast with the rapidly changing landscape in your domain. Staying curious and committed to expanding knowledge and skills helps stay relevant especially in constantly evolving fields such as technology, healthcare, and business. 

Next, stay updated with the latest industry trends. New technologies, regulations, and market trends emerge at a rapid pace, and failing to stay informed can result in missing out on key opportunities or falling behind competitors. By staying informed professionals can anticipate upcoming changes and adapt their strategies accordingly, ensuring they stay ahead of the curve.

Finally, acquire relevant certifications that affirm your prowess and in your specialization. Showcasing these accumulated competencies will enable you to gain the trust and respect of other professionals and clients alike.

Provide Evidence of Past Successes

To further cement your credibility, it is essential to provide evidence of your past successes. You can achieve this by sharing case studies, testimonials, or examples of projects that you have completed, as suggested by Harvard's Division of Continuing Education.

Whether through tangible achievements, personal growth, and development, or a positive impact on others, demonstrating past successes can serve as a powerful testament to one's abilities, character, and expertise. This act of presenting concrete evidence of your achievements and capabilities goes a long way in reinforcing your credibility and allows others to witness your capacity to deliver results, thus instilling more confidence in your abilities.

At Encompass-CX, our client case studies show how we’ve helped businesses around the globe improve their client relationships and gain real-time visibility into revenue, renewals, and retention. 

Be Proactive in Sharing Relevant Content and Insights

Often, the way to the heart of your clients is through valuable content. In my blog about nurturing your B2B client relationships, we highlighted that “bringing valuable insights before offering paid services lets clients know you are there to help. Businesses are more likely to avail services from someone who’s already an asset to them before they even do a business deal.”

By consistently sharing industry-related content, market trends, and insights, you accentuate your expertise and build a bridge of trust with your customers. These strategic content-sharing maneuvers can be executed through channels like blog entries, engaging social media posts, articles that show thought leadership, or participation in speaking engagements.

With current clients, sending out reports documenting successes and accomplishments within the client's given industry also shows your proactivity. By consistently providing high-quality content that is relevant and valuable to your audience and clients, you can position yourself as an expert in your field.

Seek Endorsements and Recommendations

About 67% of people fall within one standard deviation of the apex and are considered average, or in the pack, so how do you stand out?

Jonathan Sutton (2017) suggests that endorsements and recommendations can give you a significant edge, and these could come as testimonials from satisfied clients, recommendations from seasoned industry experts, or endorsements from reputable organizations. These serve as social proof of your competencies and success which can enhance your reputation and remarkably bolster your credibility to help you stand out in the eyes of potential clients.

Building credibility: A crowd of business people chatting showing a way to build a strong professional network

Build a Strong Professional Network

Another mechanism in your arsenal for establishing credibility should be network building. Building a strong professional network with other players in your industry allows for exchanging knowledge, gaining wider exposure, and solidifying your reputation as a respected and Trusted Advisor

Embrace engagement in industry events, conferences, and networking opportunities; these are valuable spaces where you can expand your network. By being proactive and persistent in seeking out networking opportunities, individuals can expand their network and open up new possibilities for their career growth and development, and the more professional connections you establish, the more credibility you earn in your industry. 

Develop and Refine Skills Continuously

In the pursuit of competency and credibility, you must realize that they aren’t static attributes. To stay relevant and competent, you must continually refine and develop your skills, aligning with the fast-paced industry trends and technologies.

“It’s not just about will; it’s about skill.”

For this phase of upskilling, you are required to make personal investments in professional development opportunities as suggested by Harvard Business Review. Keep up to date with current developments in your – and your client’s – fields. Attend workshops and participate in training programs. It would also be an additional edge to be able to gather and measure feedback to understand what kind of training can quickly improve your client relationships. Showing this commitment towards learning and skill advancement can play a pivotal role in perceiving you as a highly competent professional.

Be Transparent and Authentic

Credibility also requires transparency and authenticity in all professional interactions. Opening up about your strengths and admitting to your limitations is a testament to your honesty. Being genuine, honest, and transparent in your interactions will pave the way for trust and credibility. Avoid making unrealistic claims and promises that compromise your integrity, people appreciate genuine individuals who are transparent about their expertise and past experiences.

Building Credibility as a Trusted Advisor

Ultimately, leveraging competency remains a strategic approach to establishing professional credibility. Being competent naturally acts as a springboard to a successful and fulfilling career. It bridges the gap between you and your client. An environment replete with trust, respect, and mutual growth fosters better customer relationships and positions you as a valuable resource in your field.

Climbing the ladder of success and establishing a name requires consistency, effort, continuous self-improvement, and a firm belief in your abilities. Competence establishes your credibility as a Trusted Advisor. It is the key that unlocks your potential. Never cease to sharpen it.

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