One of the more common challenges of running a business isn’t just getting business, but getting a client who will trust you with their business.
A recent conversation with my good friend, a marketing consultant, reminded me of this point. She had been doing everything in her power to work with a new client and even though she had delivered results, the client still was complaining.
My friend commented, “She doesn’t trust me! She has a difficult time letting go and trusting me to do the job she hired me to do.”
This made me think not just about client relationships, but about the issue of trust.
We’ve all heard how business is all about building good relationships. We know this is at the heart of sales. But how do we build trust with our marketing?
Know and love your values
What are your core, non-negotiable values? What are your principles? What are the business ethics that order your world? Before you go further in creating trust, you need to have a very clear understanding of who you are and your values.
I continue to remember when I was coaching single women over 40 about finding love. We talked a lot about relationships, both the relationship with oneself and with another person. It was vitally important to get the former right before focusing on the latter.
The same is true in marketing.
You have to know and love your business’ “personality” before trying to convince someone else (a prospect) to fall in love with you.
Do you love your business? Do you love every aspect of it, even the “warts?” If you don’t, believe me, it’s going to be a herculean challenge to get quality prospects to love it.
Your passion, zest, enthusiasm, initiative, positivity, etc. will go a long way toward getting a prospect to pay attention.
Think about it. Who falls in love with a sourpuss? A “Negative Nellie?” Or the insecure guy in the corner who bores everyone with a long diatribe about how wonderful he is?
Being excited about your business, loving it and dressing it up so it can turn heads when it walks into the world is vital for gaining trust from your prospective buyer.
Align your values with your marketing
I hate to smack Walmart, but they are a prime example of how the values they market are not aligned with reality.
I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials that show happy, attractive Walmart employees eagerly helping customers. And I’m fairly certain that you’ve noticed that when you visit your local Walmart, you rarely see such people.
I can obviously only speak for myself, but I don’t trust them. I just don’t. They show me one picture in their marketing but I experience a totally different picture when I visit one of their stores. I don’t enjoy myself when I’m there. It often is a frustrating experience finding someone to help me. And the appealing, orderly environment I see in their commercials never exist in one of their stores.
In other words, their stated values demonstrated by their marketing are not aligned with reality.
This, my friend, is how you can build trust with your business.
Make sure that the values you market are exactly what is experienced with a buyer does business with you.
Here is a partial list of business values:
That’s just a few. The point is, you want your business values to come through loud and clear in your marketing collateral. You want your website to communicate not just your expertise, but how you deliver that expertise. This is all about making the best first impression you possibly can with a prospective buyer.
Again, using the example of dating, few people notice someone who has the personality of a rock. In order to catch attention, you need to show your strengths, uniqueness, and what makes you such an irresistible “catch.”
Once you do this, you are automatically screening prospects with your marketing. Just as an eligible single person wants to attract quality suitors by putting their best foot forward, you want to attract quality prospects with your website and other marketing assets.
The dance of trust
Trust doesn’t happen overnight and it certainly doesn’t happen with one phone call, one email, one sales letter, or one website visit.
Trust develops when a person sees that your business values are aligned with action.
For instance, if you advertise that your service people are prompt and friendly, then when a prospect contacts your business and leaves a message, they expect to have their inquiry dealt with promptly and with courtesy.
If you market your services as being orderly, then telling a potential buyer you don’t have the right forms and have no idea where they are but you’ll send them on when you find them is not exactly demonstrating that value.
You can be as clear as you want to be with your values. The more you communicate them, the more you’ll improve your client acquisition process. Defining your values is also, to some degree, defining your boundaries.
You are letting a potential buyer know what they can expect from you. But you’re also letting a buyer know that you are what I call an “aware communicator.” Because you are clearly communicating what you can do for a client, you’re also communicating that if there are any issues, you’ll clearly address them.
It not only shows professionalism but a level of respect for both yourself and your client. Setting the terms of engagement is vital for a productive client relationship. In addition, it can help you avoid potential landmines down the road.
Building trust with your client starts with your marketing. It’s the “first date” of starting a client relationship. Make sure the first impression knocks a buyer’s socks off so he takes a longer look. Only then can the process of building trust take root and grow.