Historically, businesses would focus on purchasing advertising and reach and then use that reach to tell people how awesome they were. That model doesn’t work very well anymore. If I want to buy a new SUV, I’m not going to go to a Toyota salesperson and ask them what the best SUV is. I’m going to go to credible sources such as review sites or safety rating sites to pull incredible data to help me make a decision.
One of the credible sources people go to now are influencers, experts in the field who have a wide audience and a lot of credibilities. 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations (Source: digitalmarketinginstitute.com). In today’s episode, Josh Albrechtsen and I talk about how we can leverage influencers and other strategies to boost our credibility.
Josh Albrechtsen graduated from the BYU Marriott School with a BS in Management Information Systems. He started his full-time career at Entrata as a development project manager, and he was promoted to lead different parts of the company over his 5-year tenure, including the development, services, and product management organization. Josh left Entrata to become a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator with the Ensign Group. He met Riley, his partner and the founder of Cortex, while running a Skilled Nursing Facility in Orem, UT, and eventually joined Riley as a co-founder of Cortex. Josh has accepted a spot in the MIT Sloan EMBA Class of 2023.
Entrata and Influencer Marketing
Entrata was Josh’s first job out of college. He started doing development project management for them and was eventually promoted to lead that team. While in that position, Josh had the opportunity to work with developers in India and travel there. He transitioned to a services leadership role for about two years. Then, he moved to project management as Entrata was growing there.
Early on while Josh was working at Entrata, the company’s sales began to grow. But, they were growing fairly linear. Josh was a part of the executive team when they made the decision to connect with some industry consultants in the multifamily space. These consultants were highly regarded at trade shows and were there on the panels talking about multifamily. Entrata did a consulting arrangement with each of them, and ultimately the arrangement led to more conversations that would not have happened, otherwise, because the consultants had the network and credibility that Entrata could piggyback off of. Entrata grew exponentially purely because of that change.
Influencer marketing can lead to a lot of success and growth. Entrata found people that have influence in the space, and they positively associated themselves with those influencers and leveraged their credibility.
Using the “Kind of Like” Strategy to Describe Our Business
Josh left Entrata and became a nursing home administrator. He did that for two years and then co-founded Cortex.
When Josh was describing Cortex to me, he said Cortex does follow-up phone calls for healthcare providers to patients recovering at home, employing registered nurses to make the phone calls. Then he said it’s kind of like Uber for nurses doing in-home health care.
This “kind of like” strategy of describing a business is one of the secrets for credibility. This strategy is a great element of credibility because we can take something that is credible― something that everybody knows is credible and knows how it works―and associate it with ourselves but with a small twist. If we were to describe Airbnb this way, we’d say it’s kind of like Uber for homes.
Being Vulnerable to Build Credibility
One of Josh’s mentors and associates is Johnny Hanna, the CEO, and co-founder of Homie. Recently, Johnny has become more prolific on LinkedIn, and he’s been doing mental health Monday posts. He is being very vulnerable on LinkedIn about mental health issues he has struggled with or that he’s helped other people with, inviting them to be more vulnerable and open.
Initially, these mental health posts had some traction, but now they have massive followings. In the comments, people repeatedly say that when Johnny pulled them aside or sat in their car and talked to them about this topic, it really resonated with them. These individuals have since been seeing a therapist, working on their mental health, or doing something else to address this issue.
Being vulnerable with our associates is a huge aspect of credibility. One of the secrets is the secret of imperfection. When we try to be perfect, we’re not real. But, showing the scars we have actually gives us credibility. It allows people to connect with us in a way that is otherwise difficult when we are trying to be “perfect.” Perfect is not relatable because nobody is perfect.
“Trust is a product of vulnerability that grows over time and requires work, attention, and full engagement.”
-Brene Brown, American professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host
Another concept of credibility is listening first. Josh’s father is a great example of this. Josh called him before the interview, asking him for advice on something, and Josh said he talked for the majority of the time while his dad just listened to him.
When Josh was growing up, his dad was the CEO of a motorhome company. Josh asked him how he managed his life with all the people in his company. His dad said he just stayed quiet and listened. People usually assumed Josh’s dad was smart, but he surrounded himself with smart people who could help him.
“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”
-Karl A. Menninger, American psychiatrist
The Most Credible People in Josh’s Life
When I asked Josh who is the person that has the most credibility for him in his life, he said first his father and outside his family, Johnny Hanna. He said they are very similar in many ways. They both always do what they say they’re going to do. They are both vulnerable. Despite having a lot of success, they both haven’t let that go to their heads; one wouldn’t know how successful they are if they met them on the street. Johnny and Josh’s father are intelligent, well-versed in business and life principles, and they rely on those principles instead of the opinions of others.
Month-to-Month vs Long-Term Contracts
When I was running Adoption.com, I had a client that stayed with me for 11 years, the longest client I’ve ever had. This client was on a month-to-month contract with me, and I believe that is one of the reasons he stayed with me for so long. If there was something wrong, I had to fix it immediately. It forced me to try to make him happy every month.
Long-term contracts are the enemy of successful long-term business relationships. If a customer isn’t happy, they will cancel as soon as they can. Most SaaS customers usually sign month-to-month contracts for this very reason.
Thank you so much Josh for sharing your stories and knowledge with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
1. We can connect and build positive relationships with influencers to connect with their credibility and network.
2. To establish credibility when we’re describing our business, we can use the “kind of like” strategy to connect customers with something familiar and credible and put our own unique angle on it.
3. When we are vulnerable with our customers, we can connect on a higher level and establish credibility with them.
4. Listening to others is a great strategy for credibility because it shows them we care about what they have to say.
5. Just like Johnny Hanna and Josh’s dad, if we are committed, vulnerable, humble, and hold strong to our principles, our credibility will probably grow.
6. Consider using month-to-month contracts to encourage us to keep our clients happy. We may be able to keep our customers for a longer period of time this way.
Connect with Josh
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