I keep talking about trust.
Some might say I’m obsessed.
I just think it is the second most important word in marketing. I wrote about the first, VISIBILITY, last week.
Believe me, TRUST is mega-important.
You are marketing in a world where DISTRUST is the default position. Suspicion. Mistrust. And let’s say it, Fear.
Think about this. People may get upset if they get ripped off. But they aren’t surprised. People EXPECT to get ripped off. And they very often do.
Am I right?
If they don’t expect this, they are naïve. Suckers. Someone to be taken advantage of. Marks.
The days when a man’s word was his bond are gone. If they ever existed. Now it’s “I’ll see you in court.”
Tell me I’m wrong.
A SEA OF DISTRUST – ISLANDS OF TRUST
I’m sure you can write a long list of times you purchased something, and what you got didn’t live up to expectations.
Let’s not forget about your vote. You’re trying to buy good government. What do you get (usually)? (I can hear the sneers from here).
On the other hand, most people do have trusted sources.
I know if I buy something on Amazon, it will most likely arrive about when it is supposed to. The product will be as described. They won’t charge me more than they say they are going to. They won’t lose my credit card information to hackers.
If I’m dissatisfied with the product, I can return it for a full refund or replacement.
Amazon works hard to be TRUSTWORTHY. That’s why they dominate the world of online sales.
For an enormous number of people, Amazon is an island of trust in that sea of suspicion. But it is only an island. There is still the sea.
What if you are purchasing something online from someone you never heard of before? What are your expectations? Would you be surprised if you got ripped off, your credit card info stolen? The product didn’t work? Or it wasn’t as described?
The sad fact is, a large number of people work very hard at trying to trick you, the consumer. Get you to hand over your hard-earned cash, in exchange for not much, or worse.
Some of these people are amateurs. It takes a fool to click on a link in an email supposedly from your bank, in badly written English, with a link to a Russian website.
Some of them are very clever indeed. Bernie Madoff is in prison for the rest of his life because he convinced investors to hand over billions of dollars for nothing but a promise of easy wealth. People with that kind of money to invest, are usually pretty careful what they do with it. But Mr. Madoff was VERY convincing.
It isn’t even close to true that most people are dishonest. The average businessman is trying to do right by their customers. To deliver good value to them. They may not always succeed, but they are trying. When they fail, they do their best to make things right. So really, it shouldn’t be a sea of distrust. But that’s the way it looks. Especially when you can’t tell the sharks from the porpoises. And mostly what you hear about are the shark attacks.
So that’s the scene. If you are going to sell online (or anywhere), then, they need to trust enough to give you the dough. DESPITE every reason not to.
Let’s dissect this. These are the two big chunks:
1.To appear trustworthy.
2.To be trustworthy.
You actually have to do both.
TO APPEAR TRUSTWORTHY
Let’s say you have a terrible website. Broken pages, misspelled words, bad grammar. Sentences that don’t make sense. Missing basic information.
Even if you are a good honest business that delivers the goods to its customers, you are STILL going to lose sales by the truckload. You don’t look like you can be trusted. Most people won’t look further.
I think of consumers something like a skittish colt or a fawn in the forest. Ready to startle at the least disturbance. The sound of a twig breaking. Or a misspelled word.
This is why you have about 3 seconds to make a good first impression with your website. If they don’t like what they see, they hit the back button and look elsewhere.
You just missed that famous one chance to make a good first impression.
However much time, effort and money you put into getting someone to your website, it was just wasted.
I’ve written in detail about this before. You have to look PROFESSIONAL, to look trustworthy. Add to that trust-builders like testimonials, endorsements, memberships, case studies and more.
TO BE TRUSTWORTHY
Truly this is the bigger point. Don’t just look trustworthy. Be trustworthy. Earn trust PRIMARILY by what you do, not what you say or how you appear.
This cannot be simulated. I cringe when someone says, “testimonials, no problem, I’ll write them myself.”
It’s like the old gag, if you can simulate authenticity, you’ve got it made.
Well you don’t and you can’t. Not long term.
I know this can be hard. People mess up. It is easy to give into temptation and blame the client. It takes a dedicated, persistent effort to deliver quality products and service.
The rewards are many. Satisfaction. Pride. Amazing testimonials. Remarkably loyal customers (who also refer you more business). Of course it is easier to LOOK trustworthy if you ARE trustworthy.
There is simply no substitute for this.
LOOK trustworthy and BE trustworthy. It’s the winning formula.