Winning Strategies For Business: Earning Trust, Earning Business
By Space Coast Daily // May 18, 2012
Increase Your Business By Increasing Trust
Consumers buy from suppliers based on established, trusted relationships. Consumers are more apt to buy from business they know and TRUST. But how does a small business, with a limited budget create a sense of trust with their potential clients? A client’s TRUST, is something which can be earned. Even a small business with a limited budget, can implement he strategic elements required to create TRUST needed for success.
Creating trust is built on a five-fold platform, which incorporates the right balance of strategic marketing, namely:
- SOCIAL MEDIA
1. BRANDING: Develop a Trustworthy Brand
Creating an established brand is the first step in showcasing your company as a professional entity. Professional entities naturally inspire TRUST. A professional brand integrates multiple elements to present an engaging image, create appeal, convey stability, and win TRUST.
A professional brand consists of a Logo, Tag Line, Color Scheme, Imagery, Culture and Defined Personality. Your brand is conveyed both directly (visually) and indirectly (communication). To be effective, a brand should professionally communicate to the world who you are, what you stand for, and the experience to be expected in working with our business.
To be effective, your company brand must be professional and consistent. Every element of your company should fit together. You logo should co-ordinate with your tag line. Your business cards should reflect the style and personality of the company, and should match your other materials, website and team appearance. The personality of your company and team approach should be consistent with your defined image.
Your brand is a promise. It is a pledge to your consumer base that you are committed to standing by the values you present. Having a professional brand communicates the world that you take pride in your company. It says you care as much about the products and services your deliver, as you do about your your own image.
To be effective, your company brand must be professional and consistent.
To create TRUST, you must take the time to ensure your company has established a clearly defined brand, that you religiously adhere to. If you need help doing this, seek out a consultant who can assist. Many marketing agencies and brand consultants offer advice on steps to take in developing a trustworthy brand.
Challenge: Define specifically, the brand elements for your company.
2. Networking: Mingle, Mingle, Mingle
People TRUST people they know and like. It is critical for every business, large or small, to make efforts towards networking with their consumer base.
Getting out into the public gives you the opportunity to speak one-on-one with current and potential clients. You get to know your clients, interacting on a neutral base. Equally important, they get to know who you are. They see that you are more than a name behind a desk; you are a person, with tastes and opinions, like them. Networking events create the opportunity to interact with your client base in a more relaxed atmosphere, making it easier for them to listen to, and get to know you, and start building TRUST. Many critical business connections are made on a networking floor.
There are dozens of opportunities for networking in every city, including chambers of commerce, special interest groups, associations, fund-raising events, openings, special events, ceremonies and leads groups. Make it a point to research and create a list of ongoing networking events you and team can attend. Assign events to your schedule and make it a point to be seen and interact as much as possible.
The more people know who you are personally, the more your TRUST factor increases.
Challenge: Create a list of networking events in the next month, and plan to attend at least one per week.
3. Social Media: Interacting Online
Social Media has become a new platform for building TRUST with fellow business and by large, consumers. Getting involved in social media is an excellent way to build TRUST. It provides a way to group together potential consumers and present your message directly to them. It is an excellent way to network virtually, presenting yourself as an individual, and getting to know your consumer base more internally.
Quote from Inc Magazine
“Engage the “know-like-trust” factor:
How can you persuade people to buy from you when they can easily buy from your competition at a lower price? Jim’s answer is what he calls the “know-like-trust” factor. Simply put, help your customer see you as a friend, not just a business. One way to do that is to respond to every comment and “Like” with a meaningful response within 24 hours.
Takeaway: A strong, interactive presence in social media allows you to magnify this factor and the result is engagement, conversions, and referrals!”
The social media platforms of greatest importance to businesses are Facebook, LinkIn, Twitter and Pintrest. Ensure your business is established on these main platforms. If you find social media a little intimidating, consult a professional for advice and assistance. Marketing agencies have many resources for getting established online, and can be great allies in establishing a strong social media presence.
Get online, branch out and start building a base of fellow business owners and consumers who value and are interested in your company. Make sure they know who you are and your company services.
Make it a habit of regularly and tactfully “liking” posts, “posting comments”, “commenting” and paying attention to your contacts social media pages. Seek out endorsements and fans for your company. The more you are seen, heard and liked everyday, the more trustworthy your company becomes.
Challenge: Become involved in Facebook, LinkIn and Twitter and Pintrest
4. Testimonials: Gather some praise
Presenting testimonials is the fourth element towards in gaining TRUST in the minds of your consumers. If your company consistently exceeds the expectations of your clientele, then you will naturally be the recipient of praise. Collect testimonials and use them to your advantage. Testimonials lend a tremendous amount of credibility to your company. If consumers both like and trust you, their written testimonials go a long way to building an image of TRUST, to attract new business.
Often, business owners don’t go the extra step to collect and publish their customer satisfaction reports. Be diligent about this. There are many avenues that can be established to collect and publish positive reports. Set up a feedback form on your website, send out emails requesting testimonials, mail out response cards, and of course, utilize your social media outlets.
If consumers both like and trust you, their written testimonials go a long way to building an image of TRUST, to attract new business.
Give your clients outlets to express their enthusiasm about your great service and quality products. Then, use these testimonials in your website, marketing materials and social media pages. It will go a long way towards letting more consumers know your company is one people TRUST.
Challenge: Create a system to collect testimonials after each delivered project
5. Communication: Be a conversationalist
The fifth element to incorporate in building TRUST for your company is to integrate communication into your routine. Communication is the key to keeping your client base close to you, ensuring both their referrals, and their ongoing business. The premise is simple. People like people they know, and TRUST people they like. In business, the more clients know you personally, and interact with you, the more they TRUST you, and by extension, your company.
Adding simple communication techniques into your daily routine is effective and easy. Respond to messages and emails quickly, follow up all meetings with a personal phone call, check up with potential and existing clients on a regular basis, treat key clients to lunch or coffee regularly. Schedule emails to deliver information to your clients on a regular basis. Incorporate strategic direct mail such as personalized thank-you notes, or a special postcard.
Adding simple communication techniques into your daily routine is effective and easy.
Most importantly, regularly touch base with your clients, in person, where and when possible. In a world of e-mails, texts, internet and social media, direct communication in person, and over the phone bears more weight.
They create the opportunity for longer conversations and better client relationships built on TRUST.
Challenge: Create a communication strategy for your team to follow on a daily basis.
Applying What You Have Learned
Applying the five key techniques of building TRUST will ensure you are constantly in the process of creating a reputation of credibility to bolster your company, and attract new consumers.
Earn your client’s TRUST, and increase your chances of earning their business.
Written by Anna Trenary at Creative Impact Solutions
With over 15 years in marketing, print and design industry, Anna Trenary is leader in the field of professional marketing. She works with clients one-on-one to deliver outstanding design, creativity and strategy to increase visibility and empower businesses to succeed.