If you‚Äôre in business you need to maintain your credibility. Without it, much of what you say will be treated with scepticism. One way to you can help to maintain your credibility is to avoid words that damage it. When you use them, your customers and prospects feel far less confident you can deliver. They are the words that turn black and white into shades of grey; clarity goes out the window, only to be replaced by doubt and uncertainly.
Maintaining credibility and providing your customers with certainty go hand-in-hand. It shows you are confident with what you are doing and this confidence gives your customers peace of mind.
Language is a powerful thing and a few small word substitutions can make all the difference.
Maintain Your Credibility By Avoiding These Words
- Should ‚Äď No customer ever wants to hear that you ‚Äėshould‚Äô be able to get that done by the end of the month. What they want to hear is that you will have it done by the end of the month. Replace ‚Äėshould‚Äô with ‚Äėwill‚Äô wherever possible.
- Maybe ‚Äď Imagine being asked a question by a customer and you pull out a coin and say ‚Äúheads it‚Äôs yes, tails it‚Äôs no.‚ÄĚ You would never do this, but that‚Äôs the message ‚Äėmaybe‚Äô conveys. Substitute with ‚Äėwill‚Äô or ‚Äėcan‚Äô wherever possible.
- Might ‚Äď It‚Äôs very similar to ‚Äėmaybe‚Äô and generally indicates you are even less certain of an outcome. Once again, replace with ‚Äėcan‚Äô or ‚Äėwill‚Äô where possible.
- Could ‚Äď The problem with could is that it is often conditional. E.g. That could be possible if‚Ä¶. Try to get some clarity around the condition yourself so you can turn the ‚Äėcould‚Äô into ‚Äėcan‚Äô or ‚Äėwill.‚Äô
- Want ‚Äď This is another conditional word like could. Your customers would prefer that you ‚Äėwill‚Äô help them rather than you ‚Äėwant‚Äô to help them.
- Would ‚Äď There‚Äôs always a ‚Äėbut‚Äô when you ‚Äėwould‚Äô do something. ‚ÄúI would help you out, but ‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ Just like our other words that tend to be conditional, you should do your best to remove the condition so you can provide certainty.
- Believe ‚Äď Letting your customers know you believe you can get something done is far less confidence inspiring than simply saying, ‚ÄúNo problem, I‚Äôll get that done for you.‚ÄĚ
- Think ‚Äď This is very similar to ‚Äėbelieve‚Äô and should be treated the same way. Saying “I think I can get that done will never inspire confidence.
- Try ‚Äď A little green guy in Star Wars once said ‚Äúthere is no try, only do or do not.‚ÄĚ While it may be a corny line out of a sci-fi movie, it is accurate. Your customers will not like hearing you will try to do something for them. They want to know if you ‚Äėwill‚Äô do it or if you will not be able to do it.
You Don’t Have To Be Perfect To Maintain Credibility
It will not always be possible for you to provide absolute certainly all the time. This is however a goal that you should strive for. If you value referrals and word of mouth, providing certainly to help your credibility wherever possible is essential.
If you doubt the power of words, image if FedEx changed ‚ÄúWhen it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight‚ÄĚ to ‚ÄúWe‚Äôll try to get it there overnight.‚ÄĚ Would that inspire your confidence? Absolutely not. Use words that are concrete and you‚Äôll boost your credibility.
Have you had an experience with someone who couldn’t give you certainty and it turned you off?