Didn’t Make the Sale? It Probably Came Down to Trust

Sales in any industry primarily comes down to trust and likeability. This article is going to focus on trust.

When your prospect considers buying from you, they are assessing whether they:

  1. Trust that your product or service will fill their need and is in the their best interests.
  2. Trust that you will provide the quality or results that they expect.
  3. Trust that they couldn’t get the same customer experience somewhere else for a lower price.

This article will talk about the power of trust and how to build it with your customers so you make more sales and price for maximum profit.

The Power of Trust

How much trust do you have in a company you just learned about? Very little or none, right? You search for something on Google, end up on a website you’ve never been to before, and you poke around trying to answer the question “can I trust these guys”. Do they have what I need, will it produce the results I expect, and are they fairly priced.

Now imagine that a good friend referred you to that same company. They said they had an outstanding experience with them, they were priced fairly, and they would be great for what you’re looking for. How much trust do you have in that company the first time you’re on their website? Significantly more, right? Someone you trust told you they trust this company, you are more likely to give that company the benefit of the doubt.

Now imagine that ten or more of your friends have all “liked” that same company on Facebook, in addition to your good friend telling you directly about their great experience with them. Your mind set would likely be much different than if you were just learning about the company for the first time. Instead of researching that company, and having in your mind “can I trust these guys”, you likely have a mindset of “what makes these guys so great” or maybe you’re just ready to buy based on the word of your friends.

That’s a significant shift in mindset… it’s the difference between skepticism, and looking for reinforcement for what you already think is true – that this company is the best company to fill your need, making your likelihood of buying from them much higher.

That’s the power of trust.

How is Trust Built?

Trust is built through:

  • Being worthy of trust
  • Communicating your trust worthiness to your prospect, and
  • Meeting or exceeding their expectations.

If you can deliver those three things, you’ll win in business.

There are also many psychological factors that influence whether someone trusts you enough to buy. The example above was about social proof. Your social circle has influence on your perspective of a new company, product or service. That’s incredibly powerful.

If you’d like to learn about the other psychological factors, I recommend our new (free) training course available now (for a limited time) called How to beat the lowballer down the street.

Being Worthy of Trust

Being worthy of trust simply comes down to your ability and commitment to meet your customer’s needs. If you’re trying to sell your services to a college putting on an event for 3,000 people and all you have are a couple of dated bounce houses in your inventory, you’re not worthy of that prospect’s trust. It’s pretty simple… it would take incredible effort for you to have even a remote chance of being able to meet that customer’s needs.

But if you have the inventory, staff, equipment, relationships and experience required to meet or exceed your customer’s expectations, then you are worthy of their trust. You can deliver on your promise.

But this isn’t usually the issue. I doubt you’re trying to win business you can’t fulfill.

Communicating your trust worthiness

Trust is communicated through every interaction your prospect or customer has with your business. Specifically, this would include your customers’ experience with your:

  • Website
  • Email marketing
  • 1 to 1 emails (sales or customer service)
  • Direct mail
  • Social media presence
  • Search engine rank
  • PPC ads
  • Phone calls
  • Personal interaction
  • Proposals
  • Product / service performance (actually doing the job)
  • Etc

Every time a customer has exposure with any of these touch points is an opportunity for you to build trust. Exposure is not enough. They’re asking themselves whether you’re their best solution – you have to present more of a reason than price if you want to maximize profit.

Even a deficiency in inventory can be overcome by building trust. They may be looking for a specific unit that you don’t have, but you’ve built trust and the other vendor has the unit but no trust – you can still win that business. Without trust… no way.

Decide how you will position yourself to build trust with your chosen market, and then be consistent with that messaging and work it in to all of your customer interactions.

A few things to note about this list…

Promotions do not communicate trustworthiness. They are solely in your interest, not your customers, despite the fact that you may be offering a promotional price. All you’re doing is trying to drum up business… that doesn’t build trust. So you can’t say you’re building trust by blasting out emails with discounts or product announcements. That doesn’t count.

A website can influence both trust and likeability. Trust would be built through an easy-to-use interface, products presented that meet the visitor’s needs, and messaging that communicates your trustworthiness. Likeability is influenced by the site’s design; for our industry, your site should resonate with a feeling of fun and excitement.

Communicating in a way that builds trust is significantly easier if your messaging is as highly relevant as possible to your audience. For example, let’s say I’m planning a big college event and looking for inflatables to rent. I compare two websites. The first claims to be great for all types of events, big, small, schools, corporate, etc. The other claims to be the perfect choice for colleges because they have specific experience and focus in that area. Which messaging has created more trust?

If you’d like to know more about market positioning and building trust, I recommend you check out our new (free) training course available now (for a limited time) called How to beat the lowballer down the street.

Meeting and Exceeding Customer Expectations

A huge factor in building trust is doing what you say you will do. If you tell a prospect that you’re going to email them a quote within a day, then email them a quote within a day. Meeting the prospect’s expectations comes down to actually delivering on your promise. Every promise you fulfill builds that person’s trust that you will deliver on your other promises.

You’d be surprised how many people do not hold themselves accountable to doing what they say they’re going to do. Simply holding yourself to this standard will put you ahead of the pack. No excuses… do what you say you’re going to do or lose your prospect’s trust.

However, you can also manage the expectation… if unforeseen circumstances have come up, and you won’t be able to meet your commitment, you must tell the customer as soon as possible. Do not wait and be late on what you said you would do. This is so basic, but even though people have this common sense, many people don’t live by it. If you tell me ahead of time that you’re going to miss a commitment, no matter how small, I’m much more likely to forgive that than I am to forgive you for being late and just playing it off like it’s no big deal.

Can I trust what you say or not?

However you position yourself to your prospect, whether or not you live up to your customer’s expectations will determine whether you will build trust with them. If you meet their expectations, they’re pretty likely to hire you again. If you exceed their expectations, they’ll be much more likely to spread the word about you, which has a cascading positive impact for your business, because it puts their friends in the “what makes these guys so great” mindset we talked about before.

Remember, what you think doesn’t matter here… the question is whether you met or exceeded the customer’s expectations. This is key. And the only way to meet or exceed their expectations is to know what those expectations are.

The success that I’ve experienced comes down to being forthcoming with making commitments that I deliver on, as well as understanding, managing and exceeding expectations.

Be Forthcoming With Making Commitments

This one is really easy, but again, many business owners don’t do it.

All you have to do is list out everything you do to ensure customer satisfaction, and then make sure to communicate that in your marketing communication. For example, your website and all of your proposals should include content about your commitments. You can even call it “Our commitment to your success”. And then list out everything that you do for every customer.

It’s the easy stuff… like a guarantee that they’ll get the unit(s) they ordered, on time, and cleaned since the last use. Or, that you are going to set up the unit for them – people don’t necessarily assume this is the case, but if you do this as a matter of standard practice, you can stand out from your competition just by being forthcoming that it’s included.

List out everything that you commit to. People love the assurance that explicit commitments (especially guarantees) communicate. Use that to your advantage.

Don’t call it “What’s included”. Call it a “Commitment”, and people will respond. Commit and communicate those commitments.

You can also use this to ‘raise the bar’ on the competition. If you get creative and are able to offer some benefit of your service that no one else offers or talks about, that can set you apart. The fewer questions marks the customer has about you, and the more question marks there are about your competition, the more likely you are to win the customer’s trust and business.

Understand, manage and exceed expectations

To understand the expectation, you simply ask. But it’s amazing to me how many people are uncomfortable with asking. The problem with that is that without asking, you never put your customer in the position of taking a stand on what would satisfy them about your service.

To ask, you could call or email your customer before their event and say something like the following:

“I really want to help you make this party/event great on [date].Here are the things you can expect from [your company name]:[list out what you commit to doing to make their experience great]- [commitment 1]- [commitment 2]- [commitment 3]Do you have any other expectations of us that I haven’t covered?Also, it would be very helpful to understand what I might be able to do to really go ‘above and beyond’ for you. I want our service to be so great that you tell your friends about us. What would be stellar service for you?”

What you’re doing is:

  1. Pleasantly surprising them by your commitments to excellence
  2. Inviting them to communicate any expectations that may be different than what you’ve already committed to
  3. Setting the stage that if they either do not share anything that they would consider stellar or they do share and you fulfill that request then you have a basis on which to ask for referrals because of your stellar service.

With their response, you can then use that to deliver your product / service based on a specific understanding of their expectations.

Even if they never respond, you’ve set yourself so far above the pack just because you cared enough to ask! Do yourself a favor and ask.

Simple right? Simple, but uncommon. It will set you apart.

The last step is to follow up with them after the party or event, and confirm you met all expectations and commitments. You could simply call them, or email them with a survey, as examples. The personal touch of a call is preferred, but if scalability is critical, then use a survey.

Once you have confirmation that the expectations have been met or exceeded, you invite them to share their experience with others, and potentially make it really easy for them to do that (click a link to like / share your Facebook page, or to leave a review, offer them a $5 credit for referring a friend that rents, etc).

That level of customer service (managing and delivering on expectations) will set you on a whole different playing field than your competition.

What’s Next

This article was written in support of the training in our new course How to beat the lowballer down the street. If you’re interested in going deeper and learning more, go ahead and sign up now – it’s free.

Comment below with any questions you might have. I’ll respond to every one… I’m here to help.

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