Authentic Authority

  • Category: PositioningTribe Building

A goodly part of building authority is about building trust.

And when your first contact is digital—which it almost always is—that gets magnified 10x.

Because we’re all looking—consciously or not—for clues that tell us whether we can believe what we’re seeing, hearing and watching. If your Spidey sense tells you something is off, you bail, never to return.

“Tara” seemed like the perfect fit to work on a project I was contemplating. She had exactly the right expertise and a truly compelling website that made her seem like a sassy, bigger-than-life authority. I liked it—and her.

So I bit.

The email I crafted (which took me 30 minutes to cover all the details her site requested) got me an auto-response—she was booked for the next three months and would get back to me then.

Okay…and while it bothered me that she didn’t personally acknowledge my email (really?), it didn’t keep me from responding when she popped up after the promised three months.

On our get-acquainted call, I expected a big personality with some take-no-prisoners ideas. Instead, I got a flat-lined version of her over the top website persona—I found myself wondering if she’d nodded off between her long pauses.

Her dangled website promise did not materialize.

Not in her auto-response. Not in our first call. And not afterwards when she failed to follow-up as she’d promised (not that it would have made much of a difference at that point).

Her website, her marketing and her social media promised me a bold, high-wattage experience that didn’t align with the real person.

That’s not authority and it’s definitely not building trust.

Tara might be an outstanding wizard at her craft, but because the experience was so far off from my expectations, I never got the chance to see it.

The moral to this story is that being yourself (while also being attentive to the client experience you’re creating), is the starting point to building the authority (and trust) that will attract exactly the right clients.