One of the biggest issues most companies face is gaining trust from prospects and maintaining that trust when they become clients. The competitive playing field has changed dramatically since the Internet became an effective commercial sales and information tool. Now Fortune companies compete with online garage sales. Choice is more than abundant, it's overwhelming. With the added choice comes greater opportunity for good, as well as bad.
As individuals, companies, marketers, ad agencies, and Internet marketing firms, we all have a common goal to sell. We sell for ourselves. We sell for others. Part of that sales process is gaining the trust of who we are selling to. However, this is process isn't anything new. Trust - and mistrust - has always been a huge part of a prospect's decision-making process. It existed well before the Internet. It happens when we shop for a car…When we see a sale in the newspaper…When we prepare to sign a contract for services…Or when we shop on eBay.
The Internet has provided us all with far greater access to information. Our role, as marketers, hasn't really changed. It just got a bit harder. Our responsibility to be "trustworthy" has always been there. And there have always been those marketers - the "snake oil salesman" - that chipped away at our ability to gain trust from buyers.
We know people don't always trust marketers. And we know why. Successful purveyors of products and services understand that gaining trust and combating skepticism are huge responsibilities and requirements that will affect the ultimate outcome. We need to keep in mind that it's far easier for our prospects to simply find someone else they trust more than we do us.
So start right away by understanding how to build trust with your customers and prospects. Here are a few tips...
- Tell it like it is: Let a customer know what the next steps are and what they can expect, then...
- Walk the walk: If you say a call will be returned within one business day, return it.
- Here's what it looks like: Give accurate representations of the process or product.
- Say it with flowers: Customers like "happy" surprises. There's nothing better than to get some free tips, or even a "taste" of what's to come.
- Keep it simple: Life's hard enough for most people. Don't mire someone in details when starting to build a relationship. Make it easy. Ask for a little now, then maybe a little more later as the relationship builds.
- Under-promise and over-deliver: It's a pretty simple concept. Figure it out...
Remember that building trust is an investment in not only one sale, but the development of a lifelong customer relationship. There are a lot of roadblocks out there that may affect this process. Tackle them early one and you will reap the rewards of a profitable relationship.
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