We all know how important trust is in working with someone. When we’ve previously worked with an individual, or a company, and the outcome was positive, we’ve established the confidence that they’ll deliver.
In contrast, it’s rare that we’ll take a chance doing business with a new person or company. After all, how do we know they’ll do what’s needed…or promised? Businesses trying to get work from someone who’s never hired them, or bought from them, are operating in a Catch-22 situation; no trust has been established thus making it difficult to get new work.
I’m frequently asked by clients how they can get customers to trust them. They know that if people trust them, they’ll buy from them. Building trust is part of building a brand.
Trust, like a brand, is built by word-of-mouth referrals, by establishing business relationships through repeated contact and by having completed successful business transactions.
But those actions take time. And in the online world, which, by definition discourages personal contact, relationships are more difficult to build.
You might ask, “How can I accelerate trust-building?”
Ways To Accelerate Trust-building:
Solicit testimonials from customers you’ve worked with. Post them on your website, in your newsletters, in your email signature, on collateral materials. People value the opinions of others.
Once you’ve finished a transaction, ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation. Those Recommendations are valuable…they’re broadcast to all of your connections.
LinkedIn Endorsements: while their popularity seems to have slipped a bit (like a video game that’s been in circulation for awhile), they are still helpful in reinforcing your profile and pumping up LinkedIn search results.
>>Tip: When asking for testimonials and recommendations, remind your referral to highlight those products or services you’d like noted in the testimonial.
Case Studies: a short description of projects you’ve undertaken can be extremely beneficial to those trying to decide if your company has the appropriate experience. Use the P.R.O. format — Problem (or Challenge), Resolution (measures you implemented to solve the problem) and Outcome (recount the effects of your involvement).
Include your Core Values Statement on your website— many businesses want to align with companies that share similar values.
Creating and publishing custom content that reinforces your “go-to expert” status. Write blog posts, articles, white papers, research studies and social media posts and shoot videos that provide helpful, valuable information that is relevant to your target audience.
Publish your custom content on your website, on LinkedIn’s Pulse platform, or as a guest blogger in media accessed by your audience.
Distribute your content in email marketing or in an enewsletter to your mailing list.
Curate and distribute content from others that your audience will find newsworthy.
Promote your custom and curated content on your social media platforms (Hootsuite is a social media dashboard that makes it easy to post on multiple channels).
Interract in LinkedIn Groups, on Google+, Facebook and Twitter by commenting on and sharing your content and that of others.
Public Relations: promote a newsworthy event about you and your company — a new hire, project, achievement or acquisition (client, equipment or another company) boost credibility and SEO. You may also catch the eye of a journalist who will write an expanded article about your event.
Include a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page on your website. Address questions, issues, problems and challenges that arise frequently in your business. This approach builds your “go-to expert” status, increases trust and incredibility and saves time (you don’t have to answer the same question AGAIN!)
An introduction or elevator pitch that replaces the “What I Do” statement with the “Here’s what I can do for you…” offer will be far more effective in sparking conversation.
Use the blank real estate on the back of your business card to list a testimonial, your Mission Statement or quick recap of your elevator pitch.
Hand out or mail a simple tri-fold brochure that includes a company description, the benefits of working with your company, your Core Values Statement and testimonials from past customers.
Think like your customer…what would it take, what would you need to hear, for you to hire you? Then create and distribute that information. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.
Want to build trust and build your business? Contact Martha. Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based B2B and professional services branding and marketing expert. She is the author of The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Easily Create, Publish & Promote Your Business Blog.