People want to hire and buy from those they know, like, and trust. That’s a universally held truth across the business world and the best way to earn the trust of your clients is to be authentic in how you present yourself.
What is authenticity?
Other than being a commonly-used buzzword these last few years, authenticity means being your true self in both words and actions. Your words and actions should match; your passion should be evident but not looking like it’s an act. Your honesty and integrity should be evident when speaking to you. And your online persona should match your offline persona when people meet you in person.
Some businesspeople argue that there’s a subtle nuance to authenticity that really means being yourself in the correct setting. For instance, wearing shorts or a business casual outfit to a corporate meeting where the other attendees are in formal suits could be seen as a sign of disrespect, even if that’s what you wear at your beach house. If you start cursing in the middle of a staff meeting or in your emails or on your social media posts, even if that’s how you speak at home, it could be seen as disrespectful and off-putting. No matter how you define the word authenticity, it’s an important trait when it comes to company branding and associating yourself as your company’s spokesperson.
Who would you do business with?
The poor used car salesman stereotype gets a bad rep but you can immediately picture a smarmy guy who is pleasant to your face but then bad mouths you when out of earshot for not buying his car or asking too many questions. For most people, that would turn them off from buying because you wouldn’t know if he’s telling the truth or just wanting to sell you a car.
Someone who’s authentic would have a genuine interest in wanting to help you, in this example, by selling you a reliable used car that actually works. They would answer any questions you might have and would find the answers if they didn’t know them right off the bat. They would be honest about the inner workings of the car and would be disappointed if you walked away from the deal, but you wouldn’t feel pressured to buy something you’re not ready for. Which of these salespeople gives you the better authenticity vibe in this example?