The letters on the soap box I stand upon frequently around here read “Building Trust”. Blogs are great trust building tools. They offer businesses the opportunity to begin the difficult process of building TRUST with potential clients and customers.
Trust is so hard to gain and so easy to lose, which is why business owners must pay careful attention to follow trust building business practices.
Building trust is such a HUGE part of marketing and advertising, yet I don’t hear anyone talking about trust and marketing in those terms. Marketing is just an invitation to your business. Advertising is paying to deliver those invitations.
However, if you aren’t engaged in trust building business practices… how can your marketing invitations build trust as well?
Trust is a HUGE deal for anyone engaged in making Major Sales.
5 Essential Trust Building Business Practices
1: Under promise… over deliver
Trust is established when behavior matches expectations. Set the expectations too high and you’ll destroy the trust you’re trying to build with current and potential customers.
The easier software way of creating marketing messages is to scream “Bigger Faster Stronger” . However, the dirty little secret that marketing professionals know is that when you set expectations too high, return rates can run 25% and higher for products marketed in that fashion – for services, those rates can run even higher.
However, when your marketing messages set realistic expectations and you end up delivering more than your marketing messages promise – well, that’s what it takes to ignite the holy grail of marketing… word of mouth advertising!
2: Transparency = Trust
If you’re transparent with your customers as well as with your employees, then you’ll be laying a foundation for building trust.
Transparency’s hard when you’re not being authentic.
For example, I have a friend who works in sales training for a large company. The company has been calling for employees to make sacrifices for the good of the company. They’ve had to turn in their corporate credit cards and they’ve had to share hotel rooms on trips. Imagine their surprise, not to mention disgust, when the CEO drove into work one day in his brand new Bentley.
Word of the CEO’s new ride spread like wildfire throughout the company. Within a few weeks, sales had taken a dramatic downturn and suddenly, the sales training department was assigned the task of coming up with outlining a new marketing campaign to increase sales. (Don’t you LOVE how corporate works!)
Oh, did I mention that the top 6 sales reps left the company in the three months following the CEO’s new car purchase?
Transparency’s hard when you’re not being authentic. Losing trust almost always hurts the bottom line.
3: Focus on meeting your customer’s needs.
When your customer does business with you, it’s because your customer expects you to provide a product or service for them. They are not patronizing your business merely to fatten your wallet or improve your bottom line.
Your customers are doing business with you to meet their needs – to satisfy their wants – to solve their problems. When your focus is upon meeting your customer’s needs… you’re automatically engaging in trust building activities.
4. Make it easy for customers to buy….
I am AMAZED at how hard some companies make it to do business with them. If I, as a potential customer, have to chase you down to get you to take my money, how hard is it going to be to reach you when I have a problem AFTER you have my money and I’ve become your customer?
Trust me, if customers are having to chase you down for the opportunity to buy your product or service… you’ll soon be facing competition that will make it easy to buy the product or service you’re offering. PERIOD.
5: First Impressions Mean a Lot!
Trust is so hard to gain but so easy to lose and little things mean a lot, especially in the beginning. Dead links on a website… a typo in the sales letter… a forged testimonial…. all can destroy the trust needed for a potential client or customer to make the move from potential to paying.
The obvious point to make here is make sure all your marketing materials make a GREAT first impression. The old “design vs content” debate doesn’t apply. Design + Content = Professional Presentation!
For example, I was visiting a blog about business blog consulting. The design is less than crisp and professional, so that should have been my first clue. There are 6 different business blog consultants who publish articles on this blog. They’re great articles… but when you click to learn more you get broken links and error messages.
If you’re in the market for a business blog consultant, you’ve got to ask yourself… are you willing to trust these people with your business blog? If the links on their own blog don’t work – links which promise to lead to you to the information you need to go about HIRING them- how can you trust them to build links on your blog that work?
Hey, believe me, I know that broken links happen ALL the time. However, this wasn’t just one broken link – it was several. One was simply the result of putting two sets of [http://] in the link. The thing is- these people claim to be blog professionals and that’s a rookie mistake!
Blogs are great trust building tools. When done correctly, they offer businesses the opportunity to begin the difficult process of building TRUST with potential clients and customers.