How to Establish Credibility With Prospects in the Enterprise for Your Startup

You want to put yourself in a “thought leadership” position fairly quickly: blogging is a good way of doing that; white papers or e-books as well.Ben Yoskovitz, Highline BETA Founding Partner

At the Problem interview stage, were prospects consistently declining your connection requests, your meeting invitations or were they just not replying to your messages?

Although a part of that can be attributed to lack of time or interest, if you’re not even near a 10% success ratio, there might be something wrong with your techniques and approach.

Once you started meeting with prospects, did they no longer accept your meeting invitations or not refer you to other contacts? If so, they may not take your ability to solve the problem seriously or they may not believe in your pitch and value proposition.

For justified reasons or not, your company (and you) will not always be taken seriously. Maybe prospects think that you’re too young, that you don’t have enough to offer or that you don’t know enough about the industry and you’re going to waste their time. No matter the reason, this lack of credibility (or professionalism) must be addressed if your business is to progress. You need to establish credibility with prospects.

To increase the initial perception of credibility means taking a step back and focusing on the levers of credibility.

Are there contacts with more influence that you can leverage to reach prospects? Can you show more commitment or passion by playing an important role in the industry? Can you boost your personal credibility by giving a talk or publishing a whitepaper? Can you be more “likable”?

As you move forward and build relationships, credibility becomes more about impressing, delighting and delivering results.

If you can’t get enough credibility with some of the buying influencers, bring in outside advisors, leverage industry experts, show previous projects that were successfully delivered or start with a smaller pilot project and deliver on promise.

Building credibility takes time; start with small wins.

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