Here is a catch-22 situation that all trainers face when they are just starting out. You see, in order to get engaged to conduct training, you need to have a certain amount of credibility. That’s for sure. But how do you get credibility when you are a new trainer? Now, that’s the challenge.
In order to get credibility, you need to first be conducting training programmes for (hopefully) satisfied clients. But you can't get clients when you don't have much credibility. Can you see where this is getting to? It’s the classic chicken and egg dilemma.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines credibility as ‘the quality of being trusted and believed in’. It is a powerful asset in any business and for us trainers, our livelihood depends on it. Period.
So, if there is one thing that you must do as a new trainer, it’s to start building credibility. The better you are at it, the better your business will be.
When I first started out as a professional trainer, I was stressed out by the fact that I had no portfolio of clients whom I’ve trained. How on earth was I to compete with all the more established trainers out there?
That’s when I discovered a very simple but profound secret about human nature – how much, or rather how little it takes to achieve credibility.
Do you agree that in today’s day and age of social media, people’s level of trust is so low that you need to work extra hard just to prove yourself over and over again?
What if I tell you that it’s not true? Do you want proof?
Fine, I’ll show you proof.
Have you, or any rational people whom you know, ever believed in a piece of news item that was found on Facebook and shared it only to later discover that it was a hoax?
I rest my case.
So, what gave these fake news sites instant credibility with their readers?
One powerful factor is they have the look and feel of a genuine news site, so they were able to gain our trust in a split second. The moment we are ‘connected’ to them, we see them as credible.
As the old saying goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Ouch...poor cat.
Similarly, there are multiple paths to gain credibility. You can use any one of these to make yourself appear more credible in the eyes of your potential clients.
To be credible, you must first be seen to be credible. What do I mean by that? Let’s reverse engineer a bit, shall we?
Let’s say that you are looking at buying a widget. Like most people, you’d probably search the Internet for more information to help you make a decision. Suppose you have narrowed down your choice to 3 different brands. Let’s call them A, B and C. How sophisticated J
You used your favourite search engine and found the following:
Brand A – no website
Brand B – Has a website that looks like it was built in the early 1990s
Brand C – Has a contemporary looking website
Which one of these do you think will be seen as more credible? I will go with Brand C. Not that I know it is better than A or B. But their website alone gives me the impression that they are credible. For all you know, Brand A could even have been the best among the 3. But because I can't find it on the Internet, my brain automatically perceives it as being less credible.
So, the first thing you must have as a new trainer is your own website, preferably in the form of yourname.com. If you look at my website, it's www.lukebong.com.
It’s now very cheap to buy an Internet domain name and hosting plans so there’s no excuse not to do it.
Training is a very unique business. Our clients are buying our knowledge with the hope that we can transfer that knowledge to their employees.
So, you need to let your prospective clients sample you first for them to believe in you, right? But how? I mean, you haven’t got any clients yet. Don’t worry. It’s actually quite easy.
Ever heard of YouTube?
That’s right. Anyone can register an account and post videos. So can you. But you must post relevant videos of yourself teaching. Don’t just post random cat videos, even though those will certainly get way more, and I mean way, way more views than your teaching videos.
The number one reason you want to post your teaching videos is so that you can send the link for that video via email to your prospective clients for them to sample your training.
You don’t need elaborate equipment or sophisticated production teams to produce your teaching videos. All you need is just your smartphone or camera which can record a video, press the recording button and deliver your magic.
But wait a minute! What about the audience? Are you forgetting something? I don’t have an audience so I can’t record my teaching video.
You want an audience? I’ll give you your audience. (Sorry about the tone. I was watching WWE pro wrestling so I guess the effects haven’t worn off, yet. But I promise there won’t be any powerslams)
The solution is quite simple. There are 2 ways to do it.
1. Get a few friends to be your audience and teach them your topic. Remember to record it on video.
2. Video yourself teaching your topic using a flipchart or some sort of visual aid. You don’t even need a live audience. (Well, if you are the type that need the live stimulation, you can always put pictures of faces on chairs and imagine you are speaking to a packed stadium)
Remember, the most important thing is for your prospective client to be able to sample you in action. The audience in the video is secondary.
Before you start throwing eggs at me, allow me to explain this first. (If after that you still want to throw eggs at me, then can you make that an omelet?)
What’s the best way to get a room full of live, enthusiastic, appreciative audience for you to train? The answer is - Conduct training for organisations that want to send their people to attend training but don’t have the budget to do so. It’s a no-brainer. Both parties win.
For them, they get to be trained by you. For you, you get to build up your list of clients, albeit free ones, but your future clients don’t have to know that, right?
In addition, you can also bring along your video recording equipment and record your teaching videos. Isn’t that great?
So, do you still want to throw eggs at me?
As a trainer, credibility is currency. Don’t let the fact that you are new in this business become a giant obstacle in front of you.
As this article shows, there are many ways for you to achieve credibility, even if you are green behind the ears. All it takes is some personal initiative to turn obstacles into opportunities.
I have produced a podcast on another powerful way to create instant credibility and authority – writing a book. Make no mistake about it. The credibility you get with your own book is incredible. So, if you want to learn how to write your own book painlessly, click on this podcast link now.
What’s your favourite method to build credibility? Share them in the comments section below.