When facing a decision, we all rely on rules of thumb and shortcuts to conclude what to do.
In 1984, Robert Cialdini outlined the six core principles that affect these decision-making shortcuts in his now-famous book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
One of them is credibility (also referred to as authority). It’s a core building block of trust. When we trust someone, we’re more likely to follow and buy from them.
But what makes someone credible in our eyes?
I asked this question on Twitter (with a focus on course creators) and here’s what I found:
Course creators and online creators, in general, are perceived as credible when...
- They've solved the problem you're facing for themselves.
- They've helped others get the results you're after and can show testimonials of successful students/customers.
- They have credentials.
- They’re established in their field and have experience doing what they teach and sell.
- They’ve developed a method to help others learn the skills in the most efficient and lasting way.
- They’re generous and don't hold anything back. They give away their best practices and best ideas freely.
- They can clearly articulate what you’ll get (their offer) and how it’s gonna work.
- They don't take the information they have for granted. They're aware of when information is "obvious" to them but new/insightful to their target audience.
- They've taken the time to understand the mechanics of learning and how to apply it to their course material/approach.
In short, credibility means having a convincing answer to the question: “How do you know that?”