There was a time when all you had to do to land a sale was to look good and say all the right things. If it turned out that some of those things you promised didn’t always materialize, no big deal, move on and find someone new.
Today, buyers have access to information and tools that leave every business exposed to a much closer version of the truth.
If you screw up now – and don’t honor your promise – you may find an entire highly indexed YouTube channel dedicated to your suckiness.
Trust has always mattered, but I believe it is perhaps the most important long-term marker of success and businesses need to acknowledge trust building and amplification as an essential marketing tactic.
The thing is, you know what to do – the online world and all these new tools often get people thinking they need to do things in ways that don’t fit who they are – use your instincts, they’re probably better than you think.
Trust building must be seen as one of the intentional goals of your message, content, promise, promotion, delivery, follow through, and measurement.
When today’s buyer is considering a purchase, they certainly need to know that you’re an option and they certainly need to like what they see when they start checking you out. Ultimately, however, they must trust that you can deliver and they will Google you, test you and ask about you in their social networks before checking that box or even setting a meeting.
Below are five considerations when it comes to building a strong case for trust.
Your rep on the street
What others say about you reveals a great deal. There are some businesses that live and die today on the reviews from customers. This is an area that you must pay attention to. Reviews impact SEO and they provide some measure of proof that you do what you say.
This is no longer about simply doing good work, you must intend to mine the glowing reviews of your customers and show appreciation for every kind word said about you as part of the trust signals that are now a plainly public part of the mix.
Who you hang out with
Social networks reveal more about you than you might know. Your connections to other connections create subtle hints about who knows you and who you (theoretically) hang out with.
How you connect, how you add value, and how you show up in these networks sends important trust signals.
Who you partner with, who you collaborate with, and who you mastermind with are all part of the trust puzzle – but is it intentional?
What you do and say
My parents would on occasion access the age-old parental standby – “do as I say, not as I do” when questioned on some finer point of advice. So much of what we do as a business is public today. A prospect can effectively check you out and even engage to some extent without your knowledge.
People are watching how you interact on Twitter, how you provide service, how you respond to a negative Yelp review and even how market and promote yourself.
I get the cobbler’s children syndrome, but if your business is not a shining example of the point of view and service you’re asking your prospects to embrace, there’s probably going to be a trust disconnect at some point.
Ease of use
This one is a big bucket. You can do and say all the right things, nail your value proposition and promote scores of reviews from raving fans, but if the first thing a customer faces is a hoop jumping circus, all that trust building you worked so hard on will be for naught.
Convenience has become a value proposition and we just want things to work the way we think or have grown accustomed to them working.
At least once a quarter go through the process of becoming a customer with a customer and go over and above to understand how they actually experience your business.
One of the greatest challenges for business just getting started is they can offer no proof or existing customers getting great results. Funny thing is very few business focus on this element enough.
One of the greatest ways to garner trust is to offer proof of results. If a prospect can see documented results from someone that has their very same issue it gets much easier to imagine getting that same result for their business.
You must work very hard at measuring, reviewing and documenting the tangible results of your work on behalf of your clients if you want to demonstrate the ultimate trust marker.
Building trust as a marketing asset isn’t about making things up that allow you to look and sound good, it’s about amplifying the fact that you can be trusted to perform as promised and that you value your reputation so highly you make room in your crowded days to cherish how your customers experience your business.