When a potential client is considering working with you they are looking for evidence that they can trust you, that you’re a safe pair of hands, and that you have the experience and expertise to deliver what you promise. I call these credibility clues.

Prospective clients want to be confident in their decision to choose you. Your responsibility is to provide evidence, facts, and proof to help them make a good decision.

You probably already have some credibility clues hanging around:
1. Testimonials on your website, in marketing materials and social media (you do have these, right?)
2. Past experience of being ‘selected’ by industry bodies or authorities in your sphere – conference speaking, TED talks etc.
3. Previous companies and clients you have worked with
4. Case studies of the results you have helped clients (people like them) achieve
5. Publications and media appearances
6. Awards, accolades and certificates (not your “Little Dolphin 5m Swimmer” certificate!)
7. And, of course, a published book!

All of these credibility clues need collecting and creating, they don’t just appear by magic. You can use and reuse them in plenty of ways. Let’s look at a book and how you can use it as a credibility clue.

How do you use your book as a credibility clue?

You can drop credibility clues during these three stages – pre-book, within the book and after publication.

Credibility clues during the writing and research stages

Signal that you are writing the book on social media, in your newsletter, when you speak to current and potential clients. Be real, show what’s happening – the good and the bad. The clue here is that you are human…

Share excerpts to demonstrate your expertise and show progress.

Ask for feedback – “What do you think?” “What’s more important to you?” “How have you handled this issue?”

Gather and build an ‘insiders group’ with whom you share extra information, they will feel connected to you, and could become beta readers. Not only will this allow you to drop some credibility clues, but it should also make your book better and make the marketing easier!

Ask for cases and anecdotes from your wider audience.

Credibility clues within the book

Your author section is the most obvious place to name drop and mention companies you’ve worked with, and usually where most authors only drop credibility clues in a flurry of, “I’m great, buy me,” enthusiasm. I can promise you that unless you drop credibility clues throughout they are very unlikely to even read the book, let alone your author page!

More subtle (but not too subtle) credibility clues can be included within each chapter, try:
1. “When I helped a Fortune 50 company… {achieve a brilliant result and save gazillions of dollars}”
2. “I worked with Jim, CEO of {well-known company}…”
3. “After speaking at the {well-known to your target audience} Conference…”
4. “After the training session, Jane said: ‘{how fabulous you are, the result you helped her achieve!}”
5. “I am often called in to fix {problem your reader might have, and service/solution you want to sell}…”

Don’t dump them all in one chapter – spread them throughout.

Case studies and case stories
 are of course brilliant credibility clues. Make sure they show a real transformation – how you moved the person from A to B, the same movement you are talking about in your book! Include facts, figures and feelings in the cases.

My favourite credibility clues are about you, the author. Show your own journey from A to B – even the bad bits. Your FFFF credibility clues:

Firsts: when did you do the solution you are promising for the first time? When did you first understand the problem and come up with a solution? When did you first have the problem?
Failures: what did you try that didn’t work? What else did you try?
F*ck ups: what did you do wrong? How big a screw up was it? Be honest and revel in the gory details!
Fight backs: how did you fight back from failures and f*ck ups? Who guided you? What elixir did you find and you are now offering to the reader?

You can use the FFFF credibility clues in the introduction chapter to build rapport and demonstrate that you’re not superhuman, you have flaws and you’ve been where they are now. It gets you off the pedestal and into the arena.

Using the book as a credibility clue

You’ve written the book, now what? At this stage newly-authored business owners often fall into one of two traps:
1. Write it and they will come or,
2. Nobody wants to hear about my book, again!

The second trap occurs due to a lack of a marketing plan coupled with a dash of naivety. The first comes from assuming you are the centre of the universe! Both traps mean your book won’t be doing the job it is designed for – demonstrating your authority to the correct audience!

Use your book as a credibility clue by:
1. Offering free chapters for people who sign up to your newsletter – give them your very best chapter so they’ll want more
2. Writing a special chapter that you offer to readers, that adds to the story and builds more value
3. Sharing excerpts of valuable bits (your whole book is valuable, but you know what I mean)
4. Sharing your “aha author quotes” from the book – the phrases that you want to be known for
5. Sharing cases from the book
6. Sharing your system, model or IP as an image
7. Making a video about the book and explaining your system, model or IP
8. Sharing testimonials about the book (of course, asking for testimonials is in your book marketing plan, right?)
9. Creating a workbook and offering the PDF version for free (people who get the free workbook will really want to buy the whole book or even maybe ‘buy’ the author!)

Then, re-share all these credibility clues, again and again, and again… (as long as you are also engaging, and offering value – don’t be a jerk!)

Simple credibility clues for busy people

Don’t make the credibility clues too obtuse – it’s not an intelligence test, and you’re not creating a credibility clue treasure hunt. Be bleeding obvious if you need to be.

And we’re not talking about the Facebook “humblebrag” here. There’s nothing humble about it – you are proud of what you’ve achieved and helped other’s achieve. And you’re not bragging, you are providing credibility clues for potential new clients. You are building a bridge of trust to help them make a good decision. You’re giving your prospect confidence to choose you, and the desire to do so. Of course, you might not be right for them, your credibility clues help them make the decision for themselves!

Success leaves clues!” Jim Rohn.

Are you leaving credibility clues in obvious places?

Tell me your favourite credibility clues – I’d love to hear how you do it!

PS: Seriously, drop clear and obvious credibility clues – you’re not trying to create the ‘world’s hardest cryptic crossword’ (http://www.marcbreman.london/benchmarc/) – you’re helping the reader decide to trust you.


assets, credibility, customer service, feedback, research, writing

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