Trust is not transitive

Andy Beard is asking his RSS subscribers… “Do you trust my advice?”   Andy asks because he’s been checking the “follow through” on his promotion of other people’s products and has been disappointed in the final figures.

The very first comment to the post went along the lines of “Yes, I trust you… but just because I trust you doesn’t mean I trust this other guy.”


keys to successAndy uses RSS to communicate with his blog readers.  The other resource uses email.

I know that I am MUCH more likely to subscribe to a site’s RSS feed than I am to sign up for an email list.  Why?  Because I know I have CONTROL over the RSS…  I simply remove it from my iGoogle and it’s gone.

Email, on the other hand, is forever.  Once I’ve subscribed to your list… how do I know you’ll honor my unsubscribe request?  (This is truly a TRUST issue.)

Case in point, I signed up for an email list and then unsubscribed.  I didn’t receive emails for a few weeks but now, suddenly, they are starting to come in again from this source.  HELLO!?!?!  I unsubscribed!!!  Why am I hearing from you again?

Why did I unsubscribe from the newsletter?  Well, because the information provided didn’t live up to the “hype”.  They broke a fragile new trust by not delivering what they promised.  As a result, I unsubscribed from the newsletter.  Surprise, surprise…. they’ve broken their promise yet again.  The best predictor of future behavior once again is past behavior.

Trust is a slippery critter.  It’s tough to earn and easy to lose. 

Just this morning, I had a “difficult” conversation via email with a client.  Had I not established a trusting relationship with her, my “advice” could have been viewed as self serving, even though it was not given with my needs in mind but rather her future.  My client wanted to take a “break” from blogging and was going to take down her web site for 6-8 months, relaunching it next year.

My reply was along the lines of “ACK!  Leave your blog up!  You’ve got a PR of 3, a decent Alexa ranking after less than 6 months of blogging!  Don’t take it down because you can’t continue to post every day!!!”

It would have been easy for her to think I simply didn’t want to lose her hosting business.   That wasn’t the case, but I knew it could appear that way.  I was relieved to read her response.  Instead of seeing it as a “sales” tactic,  this was part of her reply:

I trust what you say. You have been nothing but honest and helpful for me.


I’m the daughter of a car dealer… and sometimes I come across, well, like I grew up with a car dealer as a father.  I had to “sell” and “close” all the time.  I grew up believing that “No is simply the customer asking for more information.  I was relieved that I had built up enough trust with this client that she could see that leaving her blog up was in HER best interests, not mine.

In other words, I had earned her trust.  It’s something I don’t take lightly.   When you earn someone’s trust, you shouldn’t take it lightly either.

Video Testimonials go Mainstream

For about 6 months now, I’ve been encouraging my clients to include video testimonials on their blogs/web sites, not only because it’s a powerful marketing tool, but also because of the "wow" factor.  After all, while streaming video is nothing new, the You Tube revolution has made adding video to any blog or web site as easy as adding a link!

Now, marketing genius Ken McCarty is advising his readers to look into Video Testimonials:

About 80% of consumers put more faith in advertisers who present customer reviews than those that don’t.  Over thee out of four customers say it is extremely or very important to read customer reviews before making a purchase.

And not just any old reviews. They want customer reviews and prefer them 6 to 1 over "expert" reviews. 44% of online shoppers say that consumer ratings and reviews are the most useful e-commerce  feature.  No other eCommerce shopping feature came even close.

I’ve talked often with my clients about the power of testimonials.  I’ve even included a lot of testimonial gathering tactics in my book Beyond the Niche.  However, when it comes to a selling tool that carries the POWER of a testimonial, well… it shouldn’t surprise ANYONE that some people will actually create FRAUDULENT testimonials and place them on a web site. As a matter of fact, testimonials are so powerful, (and their power is definitely "decreased" by fraudulen tuse) that  there’s even a company that offers the service of AUTHENTICATING your written testimonials on your web site.

Which is why I encourage MY clients to feature VIDEO testimonials on their blog/web site.  Video testimonials are much tougher to "fake" than written testimonials.  Simeon Pollock’s Wholistic Blog features a collection of video testimonials.  Take a look at them and ask yourself, isn’t this more powerful than words appearing on a page?