How to Gain Credibility When Starting Your Small Business

How to Gain Credibility When Starting Your Small Business

Small Business Sales Training

Have you ever dreaded being asked the question “Who else have you worked with?” at meetings with potential clients? When you have only just started, you’re going to need other ways to sell your product without a track record. Don’t worry, there are ways to be credible when starting out. Here are my three tips to help you secure your first clients:

Understand your value

One of the most common mistakes I see entrepreneurs make is to underestimate the impact that their work might bring. They are experts in their field, but they assume that what they know is common knowledge. This is a strange but natural human tendency1.

To counteract this mindset, make a list of all of the literature you have researched and the years of experience you have in your field before you started your business. Realise that you are a subject-matter expert. You know that if your prospective client applies what you know to their business, they will be much better off. If you can, quantify this difference by working out the dollar value of that change. Being able to reasonably demonstrate a return on investment is the best way to increase credibility upfront.

Find opportunities to practice

You can’t sell something you don’t believe in. Without confidence in your abilities, every word that you say will hint of incongruence with your inner beliefs. You must build up your self-image.

Nothing builds confidence and credibility more than actual success. Find opportunities to test your product or service. This might mean offering your prospects a free trial. If you lower the risk for your potential clients, they will be much more willing to try you out and see your value. This strategy has an additional benefit of giving something of value without expecting something in return.

“Act as though…”

Oftentimes the reason we lack credibility is because of the way we view ourselves. If you see yourself as soft and non-confrontational, you will have a hard time being assertive when asking for the sale. You cannot sell effectively as a small business with this mindset.

The good news is that you can change your self-image through a mental technique used by actors, professional athletes, and even trial lawyers.2 In simple terms, you must act as though you have already achieved the success that you have set out to. By the way, this is not about “faking it until you make it.” It is more about choosing the type of person you want to be, and behaving your way into the role. Visualise your future successful self – how do you feel? How do you walk and talk? Start acting that way now, and soon enough it will become a part of who you are!

Take Action

You can increase your credibility and sales as a small business by understanding your value, finding opportunities to practice your craft, and acting as though you are already successful. Doing so will increase your confidence and self-image, and soon enough you will secure your first clients!

Sales Ethos provides sales training in Melbourne, Australia. Led by Ben Lai, our vision is to inspire and equip sales consultants and entrepreneurs to sell with purpose, pride, and integrity. Our core belief is that Integrity + Skills = Success, and achieve this by providing startup business coaching, sales coaching, and sales process consulting.


  1. Why incompetent people think they’re amazing – David Dunning
  2. Psycho-Cybernetics; Maxwell Maltz; 1960

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