What business are you in? Do you sell something relatively inexpensive that your customers might take gamble on? Or does doing business with you involve more of a leap of faith? Whatever you do, there’s no escaping the fact that trust makes business work.
Do your customers need to trust you?
When I speak to a potential new customer, I know that there’s a lot riding on it for them. If I’m writing new content for their website or an update that’s going out to clients, that’s creating an impression. They need to trust that I’m going to do it properly without them having to spend too much time going back and forth editing things. The time cost is just as important as the price.
Your product might require a substantial outlay for your customers. Builders, kitchen companies and travel agents all come under this heading. They need to know that you’re not going to take their money, do a botch job and run. When you’re arranging the only holiday a family might get that year, there’s a personal investment too.
Trust is essential if you offer professional advice. People have become wary of ‘experts’. Even if your client is looking for someone to pursue an injury claim for them, they might still suspect that you’re an ambulance chaser.
So where does all this trust get me?
It might get you repeat business, recommendations or referrals. If you’re in an industry where repeat custom is rare a marketing team of happy clients can take you a long way. The term social proof is generally only used on social media but it applies in the real world too. Say, for example, your clients are elderly people without a will. They might contact you themselves or it could be one of their children. A recommendation from a friend who describes how lovely you were and that you explained everything over a cup of tea could be the clincher.
Of course, the recommendation might not be in person. It could be that your prospective customer searches for a solution on Google or Facebook and comes up with your name.
How do I build trust?
Let’s face it, you already know how to build trust in the real world. Even if you’re a psychopath, but I’m guessing you’re probably not.
You offer good customer service and treat people like human beings. Simple. If you want to take it further you’ll build your business profile in the community. That could be through CSR, networking or whatever works for you.
Online, the principles are the same but the techniques are different. Instead of a personal recommendation you have a Facebook testimonial as social proof. Conversations is via Tweets and comments.
The best way to build trust
I’m biased (of course) but the easiest way to build trust online is to write a blog. You become familiar as you’re sharing content regularly. It enables you to speak directly to your audience. You can work out what questions they’re asking Google and answer them in blog form.
It also takes away the hard sell. You might be thinking “pay me and I’ll solve your problem”. However your blog post is saying “here’s some information that might help”. It gives prospective customers something useful and lets you demonstrate your expertise. It reduces their fear that you’re going to blind them with science or rip them off.
Do you have a blog? Please share if you do, I love having new things to read! If you have your own unique method of building trust with your customers, let me know in the comments below.