Has this ever happened to you? After you walk through the doors of a business or you call them and you are immediately surrounded or talking to a – perfectly groomed person with a smile planted across his face in greeting. Within two minutes they have talked non-stop and promised you everything, including the moon, if you purchase their product or service. You lift an eyebrow, and think to yourself… “Yeah, right!” If you are in sales, this is how you are viewed by your customer at times, your buyer is thinking “Yeah, right!” also.
There is no Trust Circle for them. The distrust between customer and salesman is a longstanding mixed emotion for most people on both sides. After all, they know you are wanting to make a buck off their purchase. Sure, they don’t mind you making a few dollars… everybody has to make a living… but heck, it would be nice if you were at least a little concerned about what their needs are too!
In reality… customers aren’t likely to buy from you unless they “Know” you, “Like” you, “Trust” you and “Believe” you will deliver on your commitments. There are a few easy steps that you can take to give them the confidence they need to take the plunge.
1. Testimonials, Customer references go a Long way!
The proof is in the pudding… No one can say that you deliver and make good on your promises like a satisfied customer. It pays to use customer testimonials. Now, we’re not talking about blindly pasting testimonials everywhere… a little business sense and organization will be helpful in making the most of them.
Choose testimonials that are specific and discuss about specific aspects of your processes and delivery. “Thank you so much for your hard work!” is wonderful, but “Thank you for spending 2 hours with me yesterday. Your personal attention is greatly appreciated.” says a lot more. Yeah, the reader knows that you are willing to take whatever time it takes to help them through the purchasing process.
Be sure to get your customer’s permission to use their testimonial as part of your advertising campaign. While you’re at it, get as much personal information about them as you can. Their occupation, city, etc., create a more realistic appeal to their testimony. More importantly offer them a discount for their permission to use their name and testimonial. Don’t stop there, keep in touch with them at 6 months, 1 year, 18 months and 2 years with a brief card or phone call. Testimonials create a true dynamic trust circle.
2. Target your examples and claims
Know who your customers are and what they are looking for on a regular basis. Understand how you are providing value through your products or services. Specific references are more believable than vague, generic brags.
Generic messages like: “Order today! It’s Fast, Easy and Cheap!” sound weak and may even offend some. It sounds much better when you say… “Order Today! Take 2 Minutes to Fill Out Our 7 Step Order Form and Save 20% on Your Purchase!”
Play the numbers games, know how your customer perceives pricing. Many customers feel that even numbers are not real and possible inflated. They would much rather see odd number cents rather than whole numbers. The key is to be consistent in your approach. Trust is much easier to extend itself if the message is considered high value, high quality and consistent.
Don’t try to see a customer object Y when they really want and need object B. This breaks the trust circle because you are demonstrating that you know very little about them as a customer.
3. Always Be Realistic and Authentic
How do you react when you see a television ad for a product that says: Buy item A today and we will throw in these extra items worth $150. But the price for all this today is $19.95 and we’ll actually send you two of them. Quickly back to that “Yeah Right!” which literally destroys trust.
Don’t alienate customers with claims that sound too good to be true. Yeah, we all know the old saying that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Being unrealistic cheapens or lessens your credibility and leaves the customers with a raised eyebrow.
Think of it this way… what is the worst thing that would happen if you do understate the benefits? When your customer finds out the truth, he’ll just be that much more satisfied! Marketers suggest that you under promise and over deliver to create the greatest customer satisfaction. This message has not changed in decades but it is even more important in our digitally connected social world.
Customers who know you, like you and trust you aren’t afraid to buy from you. That means higher sales numbers and greater profit. If you would like help developing a program of customers personas or benefit statements send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org