A small word but it has a BIG impact in getting customers!
Before going down the rabbit hole of the latest marketing shiny new trick, step back and have a look at the tried and tested fundamental of marketing.
Why? Because without trust, getting new customers is an unnecessarily difficult, more expensive and time-sucking exercise.
Let me explain –
All business interactions are almost always between two people.
No matter how big the job, the client or your company is, you are communicating with another human.
And if that person doesn't trust you to complete the job, supply the product or provide the service you have agreed on, they are unlikely to give you the work.
Trust is subconsciously put above all other considerations, the price, the design, the materials, everything.
This is the biggest hurdle you face when getting new customers, so it makes sense to put a bit of effort into gaining a new customer's trust.
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Because if you can remove that barrier at the beginning, the job of converting a new lead into a customer becomes much easier and more likely.
So how can you build trust with people who don't know you?
There are many ways to build trust and each has its own benefits but the 5 basic starting points are-
- Word of mouth (referrals)
- Having a conversion optimised website
- Demonstrating your expertise
The most common method is by recommendation (referral or word of mouth). This is probably how you have built most of your current customer base without even trying but there is always room for improvement.
When an existing customer passes on your details to a friend or family member they also pass on an amount of trust.
After all, you wouldn't recommend someone if you didn't trust them to do an excellent job for your friend so why should anyone else?
By passing on your details to a friend, your existing customer has subconsciously indicated to their friend that they can trust you to complete the work.
Getting more of your existing customers to recommend you to more of their contacts is the most effective method of getting more customers.
But how can you influence something you have no control over?
By explaining to your existing customers that this is your most important source of new customers.
Do it from the beginning of your relationship and remind your customers often. You can even offer incentives for passing on your details to their contacts.
If you have a list of previous customers, pick the best ones (don't waste time on the ones you didn't enjoy working with) and contact them to remind them that referrals are your best source of new customers. You might even get some more work from them by reminding them of your previous excellent performance.
2. Having a Modern, Conversion based Website
When new customers are in the market for whatever you provide, either before or after asking friends and colleagues who to trust, the next place they will look is the internet.
Having a modern, mobile and Google friendly website is crucial to getting more customers.
It is often your first point of contact with a new customer and we all know how important first impressions are.
Your website should be fast, attractive and designed to help the new customer take the next step, normally make contact with you.
Without a good website, you are literally passing customers to your competition even if they were a referral.
3. Testimonials and Social Proof
Collecting testimonials from your existing customers is very important as they act as a form of proof that you deliver on your promises.
They are a close second to actual word of mouth as they can be used in your marketing to prove that you can be trusted.
One of the best places for testimonials is on your website for all the world to see and build trust even during your first contact with a new customer.
A very effective method is by demonstrating your experience and knowledge.
Hopefully, you know how to do whatever it is you do so show your new customer that you can solve their problem.
I don't mean creating pages of technical information and case studies detailing how you do what you do as that will work against you and most people only care about their problem and if you can solve it, not how.
Instead, you should provide examples of where you have helped another customer with a similar problem or situation and write blog posts on your website showing how to fix a specific problem.
For example –
If you are a heating engineer, create articles on your website about how to fix a minor issue such as topping up the pressure in a system, why a powerflush can make heating systems more efficient.
If you have a shop selling goods, pick your best selling products and write articles on how to use the products or how specific products can solve a specific problem.
If you are a local car mechanic, write about common causes for uneven tyre wear or a basic list of safety checks before going on holiday.
Use your imagination or better still, ask your customers what problems they have or what caused them to get in touch with you.
All of these articles not only demonstrate your knowledge and experience but also will help get new customers to your website in the first place as they answer specific questions (which Google loves).
Once a customer has contacted you, how you deal with the customer?
How quickly do you respond to them and how often you communicate all reflect on the level of trust a new customer has in you.
Fail to follow up, ignore the customer or use the wrong language when speaking to them can ruin your chances of gaining their trust and getting their work.
Give them options but don't confuse them.
Explain what you will do but don't get technical and make sure your descriptions explain how it will help them or solve their issue.
Anticipate their concerns, answer their questions and always remember the cold hard truth is they don't care about you, just that you can do to fix their specific problem.
If you say you will call them back later in the day, do it.
Don't be afraid to contact a customer after sending a quote and assume they will get in touch when they are ready. They are busy, just like you, so make dealing with you easy.
But Finally a Warning.
In this short article, I have outlined, very briefly, 5 ways to encourage and cultivate trust but like all advice, they come with a few warnings.
The advice is basic and should be tested and used with common sense. For example, emailing your customers every week asking for referrals will have the opposite effect.
Offering gifts for referrals or reviews can also bee seen as untrustworthy by some types of customer so either test with a few, offer alternatives or just don't do it. There is no right solution for all industries or customer types.
If you are swamped with new customers and can't deal with what you have either get more staff or ignore the methods above as you will have problems with communication and ultimately your customers will leave.
And finally, falsifying reviews or testimonials as a shortcut is bad, very bad, and you will be caught out so just don't do it.
Be honest, be helpful and you will see results.
This article first appeared on the BR1 Web Design blog – https://www.br1webdesign.co.uk/the-basic-secret-of-getting-more-customers/