People buy from those they know, like, and trust. “Knowing” comes from marketing and advertising. “Like” is cultivated by showing potential customers your human and endearing side. But how in the world do you help someone with minimal interaction with you and your business, trust you?
It’s not as hard as you may think.
1. Be Transparent in Your Copy
Stay away from extreme superlatives—biggest, cheapest, most awesome ever. These claims make you sound like a disputable business and often are hard to believe. If you want to make an “-est” claim because you truly believe it, consider a guarantee to back up your word such as “cheapest price on this item in town or we’ll refund you the difference.” Someone who’s willing to make that claim must have confidence in it.
People believe reviews written by strangers much more than they believe marketing copy. Focus at least part of your marketing on improving the numbers of reviews you have and their quality. Ask customers to review you. Make it easy for them to do so by providing URLs to the sites that are most helpful to your business/industry. If you’re not sure how to do this, The Referral Engine by John Jantsch is a good place to start.
3. Answer Bad Reviews in a Helpful Way
You won’t always receive excellent reviews. Just take a look at the site Trip Advisor where someone complained because a beach in Thailand was too “sandy.” Even the best businesses must deal with illogical critics on occasion.
But instead of getting angry or telling them there’s nothing you can do about that, remember everyone who wrote a review gave up moments of their lives to do it. Thank them for sharing that with you and then see if there’s a solution you can help with. If not, suggest something they might try instead.
After all, you are answering this review as much for the person who wrote it as you are for the people who read it afterward.
4. Answer Questions Even If It Doesn’t Always Benefit You
One of the biggest ways to make a truthful impression on someone is to answer their question honestly even if it doesn’t benefit your business. For instance, let’s say you run a handyman business. The homeowner asks if you can perform a specific service. While you know you can, you also know it will take you much longer and be costlier if they have you do it over someone who specializes in it.
You can take the work, or you can explain that while you offer many quality services, they’d be best off using a specific professional and offer them a referral. The next time they need a handyman, you can bet they’ll be calling you because your truth telling just saved them money even though it cost you business. That type of truthfulness makes a very favorable impression.
5. Create Mutually Beneficial Relationships
Unless you are a one-person business, your employees are likely the ones dealing directly with your customers the most. You need to ensure they feel motivated by your mission. Taking the time to improve your company culture can have great effects on your customer outreach just as helping your customers understand your mission and why you do what you do will make them want to buy from you.
6. Join the Chamber
Your local chamber is the voice of business and most customers see it on the same level as the Better Business Bureau. A company that is willing to invest in its community is one that will be around to honor its guarantees.
Today, people want more than a competitive price. They want to believe in the company they are buying from. One way to sway public opinion about your business is to improve trust.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, and AssociationTech. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.