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Build your base!

This post would have been published 3 days back if not for the stupor induced by Onam festivities (Onam being Kerala’s biggest festival).

Credibility – without this crucial ingredient a Consultant’s or Sales Professional’s practice wouldn’t take root or take-off. But how does one gain and build credibility?

The dictionary says that credibility means the quality of being trusted or believed; reliability and authenticity are synonyms.

When the company wanted a Manager to handle the large territory surrounding it’s headquarters region they pulled in Ramesh, a Manager who was handling a smaller market, instead of Kumar, the deputy to the incumbent who was leaving shortly. Manoj was shocked because he felt superior knowledge of the market and it’s requirement made him the ideal replacement. What Manoj didn’t know was that Ramesh, who was only as experienced as he was, had built a huge reputation on various parameters by working independently, even though it was a smaller market. While Manoj handled just the Sales function Ramesh had dealt with Sales, Service, Receivables, Human Resources and Administration. At the bigger location the other functions were managed by the Head and the Deputy handled just Sales.

Manoj could have proven his skills in the other functions too, if he was interested, by assisting his boss whenever required – but he took the easy way out and stuck to just Sales. As a result even though he did a splendid job as a Sales Manager when push came to shove Ramesh walked away with the prize on the strength of better all-round performance.

The Senior Management had nothing to measure Manoj’s skills in the other functions and decided to promote Ramesh who smartly built a portfolio which was tough to match. Just to complete the picture Ramesh’s peers, who were in charge of similar territories did not balance their work across functions and usually focused just on Sales, Service & Receivables Management.

We have a great example of a Manager who worked with a purpose. It might be hard work, but it pays off in the long-term by way of better returns.

Credibility is also measured by who you are working with – it could be employers or the clients!

Larger organisations are the leaders in their industry – they deal with more complex projects or have cutting edge products and they pay better too; hence the best resources in the market are employed by them. Working with such organisations gives you credibility and the same goes with the clients you work with. If you have a portfolio of clients who are the biggest or the ones with the best reputation you are looked upon as someone worth hiring or associating with.

Hence it is a mix of who you work with and what work you have done while you were there.

For beginners the Institute they graduated from can be an important factor indicating credibility, but as you build a portfolio it would be more about the work done rather than where you studied.

One other way of building credibility is to get into the lecture circuit or the media. Don’t lose any opportunity to address Industry Associations and Promotional Bodies or to deliver Keynote Speeches at professional institutes. These are ways your reputation can spread to a larger audience. Being called to make a speech tells the world that you are an authority on the subject.

By appearing on TV or Radio Shows in the business or relevant segment you get the opportunity to inform the world that you are at the apex of your game. It indicates that you are an achiever, someone who has given ample proof of his skills and there is credibility in what you say or do.

One last example – blogging today has become a powerful way of building credibility. It’s a great way to showcase your work; but avoid indulging in too much theory and give ample proof of the methods prescribed.

Credibility is a soft ground that needs to be carefully treaded upon. You can lose it if the effort to build it is too forceful and aggressive. One needs to adopt a pull strategy rather than trying to push it down the other person’s throat. An angler standing in a sylvan stream waiting for the fish to grab the bait would be the best analogy I can think of.

But, it is essential to keep depositing into the credibility account because yesterday’s achievement will wear off in a while and the rules of the game are constantly changing – so keep upgrading, improving and keep providing new evidence for the validity of your method.

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  1. September 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm


    I do believe that a person who is properly exposed to all the facets of the work deserves the post, but is there not a way of assessing the aptitude before the decision is made, so as to check how the person can be rated as per his aptitude and being in the same market can get him more exposure if his skill sets are right rather than giving it to a person who has handled different areas in a small market as there is a risk of succumbing to the pressures of a bigger market. Look forward to the comments


    • JayadevM
      September 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm

      Hi Kris,

      Welcome! Your first comment at the Sales Coach blog raises a pertinent question.

      I don’t deny that Manoj (the Deputy) probably has the skills to take on the assignment. And Yes, there are tests that can be administered to assess the suitability of a person for a role.

      However, just sticking to the situation in this article the management was going by the demonstrated skills of the two individuals.

      Manoj was closer to the headquarters and had opportunities to demonstrate all his skills and win favour with the management – he however stuck to a rigid line. Ramesh demonstrated skills that went beyond the specifications of his role.

      They say that greatness and success come to people who are ready for it. The Management noted that Ramesh was a go-getter and a self-starter, someone who was willing to go the extra mile and deliver results beyond expectations.

      I used the terms larger and smaller to indicate relative sizes – Ramesh’s territory was definitely smaller, but not by a wide margin.

      Yes, there is a possibility that Ramesh could fail in the bigger market, but going by his track-record the chance of that happening has low probability. He would do what is required to succeed at the new location.

      Manoj being present as his deputy could be a two-edged sword – his experience would be useful, but the bruised ego could be difficult to manage. Ramesh would find it a challenge and being smart he would either win over the person or remove him from the equation.

      • September 2, 2012 at 3:24 am

        Which actually means you need to do a bit more than you are supposed or given to do. Yes, that is a good practice, but the rule of the haves and have nots apply at work too where 95 % of the employees will do 5 % of the work and 5% of the employees would do the rest 95% of the work. How can we justify it

      • JayadevM
        September 2, 2012 at 7:23 am


        Absolutely! Going beyond the basic requirement, stretching to the limit of your potential, showcasing your skills are all essential to prove that your are the best among equals.

        5% will do 95% of the work and those 5% will get the goodies too. If it isn’t that way there is something wrong in the system and you either have to change it or get out of there because you are not getting just returns.

        Will use your question to write an article – so please wait for a more detailed response to your query.


  2. September 2, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Sure will wait for the next one … great going coach.

    • JayadevM
      September 2, 2012 at 11:35 am

      Thank you, Kris

  3. Jamy
    September 3, 2012 at 12:39 am

    Fantastic read indeed Jay! Absolutely nothing to add except that I am trying to embrace all of the above in my current profession!

    • JayadevM
      September 3, 2012 at 3:00 am


      The anecdotes you have shared about your work tell me that you are doing ut alreadyand proting the right habits and attitudes in your team too.

      Thank you for your support

  4. January 21, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Hi! I found you on Indiblogger.

    Great content. I love that you intertwine examples so that one can actually related to it.

    Check out my blog here: http://shradhabhatia.com/2014/01/the-brand-called-you/

    Do leave a comment with you feedback & views. Keep the great content coming 🙂


    • JayadevM
      January 21, 2014 at 10:54 am

      Hi Shradha

      Thank you for stopping by.

      I am glad you found my article interesting. Yes, I try to include examples in all articles for the reader can connect with the subject matter.

      Your support is appreciated.

      Best regards!

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