7 Ways to Build Consumer Trust Naturally

Trust can’t be established quickly or through gimmicks. Companies that have lost consumer trust — you know the ones — know this all too well.

Before customers make a purchase from you, they need to be able to trust you. They need to trust that your messages are accurate, that what you’re selling matches up to what you say it is and that if anything goes wrong with the transaction, you’ll support them.

The problem is, that trust can’t be established quickly or through gimmicks; companies that have lost consumer trust know this all too well. As they try to repair their image, they realize that a handful of advertisements can’t undo the negative associations in people’s minds. Trust can’t be forced down people’s throats, and it can’t be tricked out of people.

Instead, you have to earn consumer trust naturally. But how can you do this?

1. Improve your security.

First, make sure your customers feel safe when they shop with you. Even if you aren’t selling your products through an eCommerce platform, customers will still be visiting your website, and the amount of safety they feel while there can play a significant role in how much they trust your brand.

For example, if you spam them with  or maintain a checkout process that is clunky and hard to follow, customers may suspect that your platform is unsafe. So, beef up your security with basic SSL protection; use trusted payment options; and display your trust badges proudly — trust seals are the single greatest on-site factor that increases consumer trust.

2. Be socially active (and visible).

Being active on  helps you in a number of ways: You build visibility for your brand, you attract more followers and you find that the followers you do attract have a better feel for “who” your brand is. The more frequently you expose this side of your brand, the faster you’ll be able to build that trust.

One of the strengths of building visibility via social media is the amount of flexibility you have there: You can spend your time syndicating onsite content, engaging with new and previous followers, posting images and videos or updating customers with news and information. The key is to be active and present on a social platform.

3. Under-promise and over-deliver.

Consumers don’t trust brands nearly as much as they used to, and one reason for this shift is that customers feel they’ve been lied to. Any time a customer feels as though he or she has been deceived or manipulated, in any way, that customer will likely part ways with the brand responsible.

Accordingly, it’s in your best interest to under-promise and over-deliver when it comes to all forms of customer expectations. If it takes you a week to ship a product, tell your customers it takes two weeks. If a product will last for 10 years, claim it will last for eight. That way, you’ll never run the risk of breaking your promises (at least, not with the majority of your customers).

4. Go all-out for .

Trust becomes fragile when customers have an issue with something. If they experience a problem and receive prompt, helpful, and memorable customer service, they’ll think of you forever as a reliable brand.

But if you drop the ball, you’ll lose a customer forever and likely experience a dip in your . Whenever you can, go all-out in your customer service. Don’t just turn to the most cost-efficient way to resolve a problem; make sure your customers feel heard and appreciated, and go out of your way to make them happy.

5. Make your brand more personal.

It also helps to make your brand more personal, in your  and advertising, as well as in your regular interactions with customers and clients. Don’t use scripts and formulaic responses; instead, encourage your employees to speak from the heart, and engage customers like real people.

This small change makes your brand seem more human than corporate, and can drastically change customers’ impressions of you for the better.

6. Communicate more.

Don’t ever leave your customers in the dark. Though there is such a thing as over-, as a general rule, the more you talk to your customers, the better. This is especially true if you’re working with clients one-on-one, say, as a consultant or a marketer.

Be open and transparent about your goals and processes, and if something ever goes wrong, acknowledge the error proactively. If you’re caught withholding details or neglecting the communicative side of the relationship, and trust you may have built could fall apart.

7. Always be available.

Along those same lines, it’s vital that your brand always be available, in some way, for the people who need it. On landing pages, including a phone number or an instant chat box can instantly increase your conversion rate. Why? Because people feel comforted knowing they can talk with someone at any time they choose.

Make sure your customers have multiple lines of contact for you at all times — and if you have a dedicated account representative, give your clients that person’s cell phone number in case of an emergency.

Building trust won’t come quickly, and won’t always be straightforward, but these seven strategies can get you headed in the right direction. From there, your most powerful strategy will be consistency. The more consistent you are with your brand personality, your customer service, and your basic products and services, the more loyal your existing customers will be and the stronger your reputation will grow.

Source: entreprenuer.com ~ Image: Canva Pro

11 Psychology Tips to Get Prospects to Trust You Faster

A shifty, duplicitous salesperson is unlikely to have a successful career. Business leaders want to buy from people they trust. Sell a few bad deals, and an unsavory reputation will begin to precede you.

However, the majority of salespeople don’t fit the slimy “used car salesman” stereotype. At the beginning of a sales engagement, most get stuck in that precarious middle ground between trustworthy and downright dishonest. The buyer doesn’t have reason to mistrust the rep, but they don’t exactly have faith in the salesperson either.

To become a “trusted advisor” — as so many thought leaders advocate — a rep must first gain their prospects’ trust. While trust is an intangible and somewhat slippery metric, there are still some concrete actions salespeople can take to build rapport with buyers and win their faith faster.

Here are 11 psychology-inspired tips to help you build trust with buyers in a snap.

1. Offer Social Proof

The bandwagon effect causes people to adopt trends and ideas because others are adopting them (think pet rocks, or more recently, yoga pants). When we see other people — especially those we trust — vouching for something by wearing it, using it, or talking it up, it colors our opinion of the object in question.

Harness the power of the bandwagon effect and social proof by soliciting LinkedIn recommendations from current or former customers. Did you help a client achieve incredible results, or earn a promotion? Ask them to write up a brief paragraph about your work together and share it for all to see on your profile page. Prospects coming to you cold might warm up to you a bit after reading a few glowing endorsements (especially if they know or share common connections with your referrer).

2. Establish Your Credibility

Humans naturally fear the unknown. This helped us from not getting eaten by a range of scary, sharp-toothed animals when we were still hunters and gatherers. Is that bush rustling in a menacing way? Maybe we should approach it slowly instead of running up to it and yelling loudly with a stick.

Today, our chances of being devoured by a lion have greatly decreased, but our odds of being screwed over by a vendor have not. Hence, buyers are wary to trust salespeople whose credibility hasn’t been proven. Providing hard data about results you’ve helped drive in your introductory call can do a lot to disarm the prospect, and inch closer to trust.

3. Look Them in the Eye

Maintaining eye contact when speaking with someone face-to-face is an important form of nonverbal communication, especially when building trust.

According to the Journal of Small Business Strategy, eye contact may help increase the level of motivation in those you’re speaking to, making them more likely to trust what you’re saying and increasing confidence in taking instructions.

However, staring directly into your prospect’s eyes for your entire meeting is bound to make them feel uncomfortable. Try maintaining eye contact for seven to 10 seconds at a time to communicate trustworthiness and confidence.

4. Bring Up Bad Experiences

Has your prospect been burned by another vendor in your space? Encourage them to talk about the experience, and how it’s affected their ability to trust salespeople.

This might seem counterintuitive, but digging up your prospect’s negative emotions could pave the way for trust with you. By probing into where specifically the previous rep failed them, you can make a completely informed promise to your buyer that you won’t go down the same path.

Psychology Today article also points out that people are innately more or less trusting based on their relationship with their primary caregiver as a child. You don’t need to (and shouldn’t) butt into your buyer’s childhood issues, but if you sense you’re dealing with a naturally distrustful person, you might gently make them aware of this inclination.

“Because our mental representations are automatic and not consciously perceived, we can combat their effect on how we interpret events and actions by bringing them into conscious awareness,” the article states. In other words, by bringing mistrustful tendencies to the surface, you might help the buyer reevaluate how they perceive you and your company.

5. Eliminate Decision Fatigue

Today, consumers have access to nearly any piece of information to support buying decisions at their fingertips. Though that may seem like a positive, it can be daunting for buyers. As shared by Gartner, having access to too much information is overwhelming for many consumers. In fact, when customers receive too much information related to a buying decision, they are 153% more likely to make a smaller purchase than planned.

Help your customers navigate this scenario and eliminate decision fatigue by offering to help your customers evaluate relevant information related to their buying decision, instead of merely throwing more information at them, leaving them to sort through it on their own. To do this, focus on simplifying what you share with your buyers, supporting them as they come to their own conclusions.

6. Leverage FOMO

When making the case for a sale, your buyer may be more motivated by what they will miss by not taking the offer than by what they could gain by purchasing from you. If that’s the case, creating a sense of FOMO or fear of missing out can be an effective tactic for your sales strategy.

Use FOMO to your advantage by creating a sense of urgency or scarcity when making the sale. Whether that’s by sharing your offer is only available for a limited time, or offering special pricing within specific terms, helping your buyers remember what’s at stake if they don’t take action can be a powerful motivator.

7. Be Consistent

Unflinching, total trust isn’t built in a day. It takes days, months, or even years of proving yourself to earn someone’s faith. But what if you only have a two-minute-long cold call?

Regardless of the length of time, consistency is a key factor in building trust. Over the long term, you should deliver on the terms of your client’s contract and follow up on any promises you made during the sales process. However, you can also establish credibility in the super short term.

For example, many salespeople start their cold calls by saying “This will only take five minutes.” And yet, they talk on and on. Pretty soon a half-hour has gone by. The call ends only when the prospect hangs up.

This is inconsistent behavior. If you say you’d like to talk for just five minutes, talk for just five minutes. When you time yourself and stop promptly at the five-minute mark, the buyer knows that you mean what you say, you respect their time, and the seeds of trust have been planted.

8. Put Your Faith in Them

In a Business Insider article, Darlene Price, president of Well Said Inc., recommends the phrase “You decide — I trust your judgment” as a way to build trust. Why? Because demonstrating your trust in your prospect will encourage them to trust you back.

The underlying psychological phenomenon here is known as the Pygmalion effect, or the idea that positive reinforcement promotes a positive behavioral response. Researchers Rosenthal and Babad who coined the term in 1985 describe the effect as, “When we expect certain behaviors of others, we are likely to act in ways that make the expected behavior more likely to occur.”

So if you think someone is trustworthy, you’ll treat them as such. And because you treat them like they’re trustworthy, they’re more likely to reciprocate.

9. Be Competent

This is a no-brainer. If you’re not good at your job, prospects won’t trust you — and quite honestly, they shouldn’t.

So what does it mean to be a competent salesperson? Here’s a brief list of foundational skills you should master:

  • Pre-call research
  • Asking the right qualification questions
  • Listening to the buyer, and pivoting conversations according to what they care about
  • Crafting thoughtful answers to objections and having them at the ready
  • Presenting tailored demos
  • Knowing when to close, and doing so effectively

If you’re weak in one of these areas, ask your manager for help or seek additional training.

10. Demonstrate Genuine Concern

Trust often prompts people to share personal details about their lives, or divulge information not publicly known. And I doubt they would do this if they didn’t think their listener would care, or at least empathize.

According to the American Psychological Association, empathy often feels like hard work, however, in sales empathizing with your customer is worth the effort. The best salespeople are concerned with helping their buyers above all else, and their genuine interest and empathy is repaid with the buyer’s trust.

11. Smile

Trust is a serious topic, but that doesn’t mean you have to look dead serious when you’re trying to get people to trust you. In fact, an overly somber expression might have the opposite effect.

In an experiment between trustees and potential senders, smiles that were perceived as more genuine strongly influenced the senders’ opinions of who to trust and send money to. Offering a genuine smile and open body language can go a long way when speaking to prospects.

Again, trust isn’t built in a day — but the foundation for trust can be. Employ these tips to get to trusted advisor status with your prospects faster (and increase your sales in the process).

Source: hubspot.com ~ By: Emma Brudner ~ Image: Canva Pro

5 Ways to Build Authority With Any Prospect

But while trust is necessary to a good working relationship, it’s not enough. You have to establish authority as well.

When you call a prospect for the first time, you probably haven’t given them any reason to care about what you’re saying. They’re thinking:

    • Who is this person?
    • Why should I believe anything they say?
    • Do they even know anything about me?

Authority is different from trust. Establishing authority requires showing that you’re a specialist in a particular subject matter or process, and possess a particular skill set that can help your prospect.

Establishing authority is also necessary to staying in control of the sales process. If you seem like a hot mess, your prospects won’t believe that you’re able to truly understand their problems, much less help them come up with a viable solution. Sales reps who convey authority come prepared to calls, think a few steps ahead, and project confidence.

Generally speaking, being authoritative usually requires a person to be forceful, confident, and direct. But authority takes on a slightly different meaning in sales, and is therefore expressed in different ways. Here are five techniques salespeople can use to build authority with prospects.

1) Start your calls with an agenda and a question.

Setting an agenda shows your prospect you’ve thought deeply about your business relationship and how to advance it in a productive manner.

Always ask your prospect to review your agenda and confirm it makes sense. Steamrolling your prospect is the opposite of authority — there’s a huge difference between being controlling and being in control (more on that later). Be flexible and willing to adapt if that’s what your prospect wants.

The question signals that while you’re in control, you’re not going to force your prospect into anything. You care what they have to say. Some examples of good opening questions include:

  1. “How’s everything going [in relation to discussed goals or plans]?” Ask for a status update early on to quickly surface potential roadblocks.
  2. “When we last spoke, we discussed X and decided on Y. Does Y still make sense?” Confirm that you and your prospect are on the same page. If you’re not, find out why.
  3. “Before we get started today, is there anything you think I should know?” A mix of #1 and #2, this question gives your prospect the opportunity to discuss information that’s important to them — and may wind up being crucial to your sale.

2) Demonstrate your experience.

If a salesperson said to you, “Trust me, I’ve seen your situation a million times — everything will be fine,” how would you respond?

If you’re savvy, you’ll say, “Oh, really? Give me an example.”

Your prospect has no reason to believe that you have a track record of success unless you show them what you’ve done. Whether it’s sharing anecdotal examples, setting up a call with a satisfied customer, or providing a walkthrough of the sales process, your prospect will be far more likely to listen to what you say if you’re able to prove you know your stuff.

3) Work how the prospect wants to work.

What’s the difference between being controlling and being in control?

A controlling salesperson is rigid and inflexible. He won’t change his approach no matter what his prospect says, because he believes his way is the only way. And guess what? He probably doesn’t close a lot of deals.

A rep who’s in control knows this isn’t an effective tactic. She’s not afraid to change her strategies if it turns out her prospect needs something a little different. By being adaptable, she’s demonstrating that she’s an expert seller — all while making her prospect feel as comfortable as possible.

The takeaway? Always ask your prospect if they’re in agreement with you before taking a step. For example, you might say, “What I’d like to do now is spend 30 minutes taking you through X. Is that okay with you? Will you let me know if I start talking too fast, too slow, or if you have any questions?”

By getting your prospect’s buy-in, you’ve automatically made them a stakeholder in the process and confirmed that you’re proceeding at their desired cadence.

4) Be businesslike with a personality.

I love making people laugh. When people are having a good time, they’re more relaxed and more real.

Authority doesn’t mean being so lofty and out-of-reach that your prospects can’t relate to you. I use analogies to make my prospects smile — “moving faster than a hungry dog to a hot dog cart” is one of my favorites. Humor allows me to foster a connection with my prospect, who is then more likely to tell me the truth.

Here’s another way in which I bring my personality to selling. I like to ask whether the process has been easy or hard, stressful or relaxing, fun or a pain. This tells me whether the prospect has done this before and is following a set plan, or is winging it and needs a bit more help.

Like trust, authority is easier to gain if your prospect believes you’re genuine. You can’t get by on likability alone, but I always bring my personality to the table because the rapport I build with my prospects makes them more receptive to my direction. Ultimately, prospects are more likely to be forthcoming if they feel you’re genuine. And unless you understand their needs, you can’t tailor the sales process to their unique situation.

5) Recap.

At the end of every conversation, clearly list next steps for both you and your prospect, and attach due dates. Email out a written summary after each call recapping what’s been done and what’s next, and ask for updates, changes, or questions.

Keep in mind that your prospects are busy people, and they depend on you to keep them organized and remind them of what to expect next.

It’s essential to stay in control of a sales process. You simply can’t close deals if your prospect doesn’t put stock in what you say. Moreover, you can’t successfully anticipate objections or accurately forecast deals without a plan and the ability to get your prospect to follow you. And to do that, you need to establish authority.

Source:  hubspot.com ~ By: Dan Tyre ~ Image: Canva Pro

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