How to demonstrate credibility

I thought a bit before recording this video because the issue seemed so obvious to me that you might feel slightly insulted that I should bring it up at all. But something happened the other day that underlined the importance of what I’m talking about.

I was working with an independent consultant to whom a couple of things had happened to push him off track, and he needed to refocus. So, I suggested we revisit his value proposition.

One of the ways we do this in 12boxes is with something called a ‘people who’ statement. It’s a simple way of defining the target audience for a proposition and it goes something like this:

People who – are trying to do something
Because – why they want to do it
But something, which we specify, is getting in the way
So, they need a way of overcoming what is getting in the way so they can get on with achieving what they are trying to do.

The idea of this simple narrative is that it resonates with the target audience, so they go, “That’s me!”
That’s why the emphasis is on looking at the situation from the client’s point of view and describing the challenge in a way that they would recognise.

It’s not about what we would do for them. That can come later after we’ve established the value of overcoming the difficulties and achieving what they want.

Before my meeting with the consultant, I had shared with him the structure of the ‘people who’ statement and asked him to think about creating one from his clients’ point of view before we talked again.

But what came back was – guess what – a statement of what he could do for the client.

And when we had our meeting, he continued to repeat what he could do for the client.

It sounded as if he was delivering an elevator pitch and the more he repeated it, the less credible it felt. The problem was that it wasn’t describing a situation that one of his prospective clients would relate to.

One of the most important ways of building credibility with a client is not to parade your past achievements, or the distinguished history of your organisation, but to show that you can see things from your client’s point of view.

You might see this as a statement of the bleedin’ obvious. Forgive me if it seems like it.

But it is amazing that even experienced people forget that the most powerful phrases we can use with a client are things like, “Is this how you see it?” “Have I got this right?” “Is this the way it is?” or even, when we are feeling confident, “It’s like this, isn’t it.”

Even when we have got it slightly wrong, and the client jumps in to correct us, we are halfway there, because the client knows we are interested in them and their issues, and not just making a pitch.

I’m pleased to say that the consultant I was talking about did create a convincing ‘people who’ statement without too much difficulty, and he will be positioning himself in a way that will get his practice where it needs to be, with the focus firmly on where his clients are starting from and how they see things.

If you would like an informal chat about how you position your practice, why not book a free session with me.

Just go to and choose the discovery call and a day and time to suit you.

Let’s speak soon.