When it comes to business, trust is a pretty big deal. Think about it. If a nameless, faceless shady guy in a trenchcoat randomly walked up to you and said “hey, I’ve got something awesome in my pocket. Wanna buy it?”, I’m pretty sure your answer would be a firm no. After all, you don’t know the guy, and you definitely don’t know what’s in his pocket! Personally, run-ins with untrustworthy businesses usually leave me with a bad taste in my mouth and my money shoved even further down into my purse. But the thing is, some of us are the shady guy in the trench coat and we don’t even know it! Want to know how to shake that shady-guy persona? Here are six easy ways to earn your customer’s trust:
Be helpful & available
Good customer service can make or break a business. There are a million-and-one people selling online, and even more people who are trying to make it big through blogging. Something that’ll set you apart, that a lot of people surprisingly overlook, is being friendly and answering questions in a timely manner. No, I’m not saying reveal every nook and cranny of your business for free, I’m just saying be helpful and polite!
When I ran my previous e-commerce shop, I made sure I was always quick to answer customer inquiries, and I spoke to customers like I knew them! Basically, just be nice and friendly. If someone wants to know your shipping policy, direct them to the shipping policy page. If someone asks you a question you’ve already blogged about, send them a link. And if you’re asked a question that relates to a service you’re selling, kindly describe the service. Even if a sale isn’t made today, who’s to say they won’t come back tomorrow, still beaming from your positive interaction.
(Bonus: E-Book- Jump Into Online Sales!: An E-Commerce Quick Start Guide)
Be willing to give things away for free
If your products/services are really as awesome as you say they are, then put your money where your mouth is and give away a sample of your offerings for free. If you blog, you can give away digital freebies in exchange for joining your email list. (On my blog, each mailing list subscriber gets a free goal planning printable! I also recently shared free cute stock photography). Are you a consultant? Give away short, 15 minute coaching calls. Now when it comes to a physical product like clothing, I definitely understand that you can’t give samples to every potential customer. Instead, host giveaways and send products to bloggers/vloggers for a review!
Get on camera
Want your potential customers to feel comfortable buying from you? Get that pretty mug on camera! Video marketing is huge right now, and for good reason! I mean, would you marry someone you’ve never seen in person? Yes? Oh! Well……um, ok! But most people wouldn’t. Body language is pretty powerful and when you see someone actually speaking directly to you you’re more likely to trust and believe what they’re saying.
Not the most eloquent speaker? Neither am I! But since getting on camera I’ve noticed way more engagement and more people interested in what I have to offer.
Be transparent..to a point
Transparency is an essential part of earning your potential customer’s trust. You have to be honest with people— about the good and the bad. For example, if a product is launching late, send your list an “oops, I’m behind and this is what I’m doing to get back on track” email. Don’t be scared when things don’t go as planned. Sometimes admitting a little hiccup makes you appear more relatable and, you guessed it, more trustworthy.
Just remember you don’t have to share everything. Some opinions are definitely best kept to yourself. But being open with your customers when things do go wrong and sharing how their support has helped your business grow goes a long way.
This one’s pretty straight forward. Set a standard for your biz and stick to it. Inconsistent branding or sporadically posting here and there will either lead to confusion or cause customers to forget about you. Keep it consistent!
(Even I’m learning this one, hence the slow but steady rebranding).
Have others sing your praises
What’s more important than word of mouth when it comes to marketing your business? Not much. That’s why you have to find a way to share the great things people are saying about you! This could be testimonials on your site, or you could feature happy customers on social media. If you sell a physical product, send a note to the customer asking them to snap a photo of their purchase to share on social media. That’s what I do with my online shop. You’d be surprised how many people actually do it!
So, there you have it. Follow these tips and you’re all set to become the Oprah of the business world (now that lady’s trustworthy!). And remember, you can’t just appear to be trustworthy. You have to actually live up to the hype!