I remember a time when people bought items they had confidence in. This was the principle behind branding. Simply create a brand image that instilled confidence with the consumer and helped them over the buying decision. While this is a true as ever, today we have to add - just one more thing. They have to be confident in who they are buying the item from. So that's our goal, to nail down that final piece of the puzzle.
I remember my early tries at buying online. My concern was about trust over credit card information. I was so worried about being ripped off that I took out a special credit card with a small $500 limit just for use on the internet. But I was also worried about the vendor themselves.
My first ever online purchase was back in the mid 90's from Amazon.com I was nervous about buying a book - a technical book on electronics. Would I like it? Would it be of value, what it the book was a piece of garbage? After all, I could go to Barnes and Noble or Chapters and sit and read the book and then make a buying decision. So what would happen if I hated this book and had already paid for it?
So Amazon knew this. They needed to establish trust. They didn't write the book, but they were my sales agent. They needed to come up with a reputation that helped people overcome those fears. Well, I didn't have to return that book, but a few books later I did. And it was a piece of cake. No problems, Amazon took it back for full credit without a complain. In fact they made it easy. Soon, I was convincing all my friends they were foolish not to use Amazon.
So the trust that is placed in the vendor, the person or company that actually hands over the product is paramount. It's the final piece of the puzzle, and for many of us, it's our number one job. Build a quality reputation that inspires trust. So how do we do that exactly?
1) Don't be a Yes man or a No man - be an honest man
Be honest about everything. People respect the deal more when you're honest about some feature the client wants that you just can't offer. As we all know, saying yes, to things you're not sure about backfires every-time. It's a rookie move. Yes, maybe that loses the deal for you, but better now than dealing with mountains of problems later.
2) Don't be a cold impersonal business, be a kind, warm, personal friend and adviser
When I first started out in business I, of course, was unknown. I felt like I had to present a staid corporate image so people would trust me. Well, those days are gone. Today it's all about you. How can you make the client trust you? Because you can't show trust and reliability until you're already having dealings with the client. Hmmm. let's see if that's true.
Let's say you work for a large company. You're at a trade show with that company working in their booth. Clients are walking by every minute and evaluating you. Your dress, your grooming, how you greet them, everything is being judged. But you already know that. So let's say you've passed all that with flying colours. But what then? If you come across as a warm friend, knowledgeable and trustworthy, you've build the relationship. If you come across as a company man, a robot, an executive with a stick up his ass, well, not done.But now it's about the follow up. You get the lead's information, you hand them a business card, and it looks like this:Do you really want to fumble the ball on the one yard line? Probably not. At this point your image takes the ball and helps to make the sale.
Yes, professional portraits can be expensive, but so is losing a sale.
So the nature question is, what kind of image do I want to present? That depends largely on the industry you're in. If you're in finance of any kind, then a too casual or informal portrait might work against you. If you're an architect or craftsman, so something creative. If you're an entertainer, artist, singer. and so on, show what you are.
So which of the following do you feel best expresses friendly competence?
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We'll continue on with more next week. Thanks for reading.