Would-be clients are usually skeptical when browsing the websites of companies to hire and to be successful you have to put some heart and soul into influencing opinons. Sounds easy and simple enough; yet, building trust in the client-company relationship takes time and serious effort.
Trust lies at the foundation of attracting customers online and getting them to inquire. What businesses do people trust? Some believe news reports. Others rely on recommendations. Knowing how to use these sources to your advantage will help you win influence with cagey clients.
I cringe at making this statement but its true, people trust the media. They rely on newspaper reports, television coverage and websites to get reliable information and make decisions. Some media have managed to build their reputation as authorities in their spheres.
Getting your company, products or services mentioned in media articles and broadcasts will alter the manner in which potential clients perceive you. A single feature or a report will make your company seem special.
Establishing contact with the media is a doable task as long as you provide them with useful and newsworthy information, journalists are more likely to mention and sometimes cover your company. Think for a minute about all of stories you have read where some expert is cited. Why can’t the next mention be you?
Create a list of all the media outlets that cover your specialty and that your target customers are interested in. Check their website staff listings to find out which journalists covering the niche you are operating in. Send these journalists press releases with compelling subject lines and story angles that marry what you do to hot topics in the news. For example, June through August are prime wedding months so a financial planner might pitch a story about saving money on honeymoon expenses. Do you get where I am going with this?
Remember to keep press releases more informational than promotional. Journalists don’t care about your business and all you need is the mention; so being informative will increase your chance of success.
Everyone Trusts a Friend
When looking for a service, many people are likely to seek recommendations from their friends, relatives, business associates and others like themselves. First-hand experience is often the best form of promotion.
How can you get clients to recommend you? Certainly by doing an exceptional job but these “accidental” referrals are only the tip of the iceberg. To really blow the doors off, you must employ a systematic approach to getting referrals.
Testimonials strategically added to your web page’s copy are another form of referral marketing that is always on and singing your praises 24/7. Even if we don’t know the person, we tend to trust the opinions of those like us.
Professional awards serve as a form of social proof that your business is uniquely special. People trust the experts in a given field. If these experts decide you are a reliable professional, potential clients will be more willing to give your services a try.
Add fuel to this fire by making mention of any award or a distinction received. Striving for professional recognition is another way to make prospective clients trust you. After all, you have received the recognition of the principal experts in your field. You must have done something right to deserve it.
The Power of Social Media
Social media have become a determining factor in today’s society. A company that is influential in active social networks will be easier to find, recognize and certainly be more trustworthy.
What does it take to build trust in the ecosystem of a social network? Build influence through active participation and the provision of useful content, for starters. Further, you need to be willing to interact with people, to answer their questions and to promote them above yourself. The old saying is true, “you will get what you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.”
Learn the culture on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and other popular social networks. Each one has its advantages and will give you the chance to appeal to a certain group of people. Which networks you choose will depend on your goals and available time.
Trust is central to all personal and professional connections. If there are six degrees of separation between any two people, the same holds true for credibility between you and your next customer.
Follow this guide and you will quickly learn how to borrow the trust of those your prospective customers follow and win them over. Make sure that all of these credibility indicators are presented on your website and in your marketing materials. Showing that you are reliable and trustworthy is the single best way to make your business the only choice for customers you are looking to reach.
How do you build trust? We are listening…