When we start working with our clients, one of the key questions we ask in our initial discovery sessions is, ‘What’s the most common factor tipping the sale in your favour?’
The most common answer to our question is: ‘Our customers trust us.’
Why is trust so important? Well, it goes back to these two main underlying factors:
- You’re going to be able to deliver the outcome you promised – you’re capable, established and stable.
- Your ability to deliver the outcome makes the customer look good to his/her colleagues (more common in a business-to-business context) or feel good about himself/herself (more common in a business-to-consumer context).
In other words, there’s reassurance that your customer is making a sensible investment in you.
But here’s the thing about trust: just saying you’re trustworthy isn’t enough – the experience of interacting with your brand has to show that you are.
A major part of that lies in elements such as customer service and rapport with your sales team. But there are some baseline marketing elements that influence your brand’s trustworthiness before you actually speak to the prospect.
Here are four crucial ones:
- Having an empathetic website design and user experience
Research from Kissmetrics found you have 6 to 10 seconds to make a connection with website visitors before they click away from the page. You have an extremely short space of time to win over your visitors and persuade them to stay on your site.
One of the ways you can keep their attention is to gain their trust by providing them with a look and feel and headline messaging that resonates. (For more details read our blogs, ‘How to brand a new product or service to win the right business.’ and ‘
How to improve your brand impact through colour.’
An empathetic user experience involves taking into account every possibility of every action your website visitors are likely to take and understanding their expectations at every step of the way.
For instance, if you have data capture are you making it clear to your visitors what their personal information will be used for?
If they submit a form or go through your online checkout, do you send them an automated confirmation email to make it clear their request has been received?
Recently I visited a website that promised to provide me with access to a useful tool. I was informed I could access the tool if I registered for free. I duly signed up. But after I submitted the form, I was then taken to a page that told me that in order to access the service I needed to pay £35 per month. I was not impressed. I immediately clicked away, irritated that I had wasted my time.
- Producing content that resonates with your prospects
Trust is largely an emotional rather than rational response, which means you need to make an emotional connection with your prospects. If your website visitors see that you understand them, they’re more likely to trust you.
One of the ways in which you can demonstrate your understanding is by making your content relevant to your buyer personas – such as marketing directors, managing directors and procurement mangers – who are involved in the purchasing decision.
For example, research in Forbes found there are 5.4 people on average involved in B2B buying decisions. Each has his or her own agenda. Are you being specific in the way you address those agendas so you establish trust with the key people in the buying group?
- Third party endorsement
What you say about yourself is all well and good, but what other people say about you carries much more gravitas. Here are just some of the types of endorsement you should be tapping into:
- Industry awards
- Positive press coverage
- Customer testimonials
- Case studies
- Speaking/guest blogging opportunities
- Social media shares
- Measureable results
Here’s an example:
‘We’re renowned for our high quality customer service team, who are available 24/7/365 to resolve any issues you may have.’
‘Our customer service, available 24/7/395, resolves 99.5% of issues first time around, with an average resolution time of 30 minutes.’
See the difference?
One way in which you can keep your results fresh is to carry out regular customer surveys. What’s more, there’s even free software out there, such as Survey Monkey, that allows you to do this. What are you waiting for?
Trust may be something we generally consider to be a hygiene factor for businesses – like quality and service, it’s a baseline fact most companies like to claim. However, it’s more than just a statement – it could be the difference between you winning and losing your next sale.