by Steve Phipps
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Why Customers Don’t Trust What You Say (and What to Do About It)

June 13, 2019 | Marketing

Show me the money!!! That line comes from an iconic scene in the movie Jerry Maguire. And in a sense, your customers are asking for something similar when it comes to trusting your business—’Show me the proof!’

Your customers are asking you to show them that you can solve their problems. They have doubts, and you have the opportunity to instill confidence that you can help them. Otherwise, they’ll go to someone who they do trust.

Your customers believe in you when you show that you are a trustworthy guide.

In our last blog post, we discussed how your brand should be playing the role of the guide instead of the hero. The guide has two key attributes that are valuable to customers. One is empathy, which shows your customers that you can relate to how they feel about the problems they face. The other is authority, which shows that you can solve their problem. You need both to build trust.

In this blog post, we will show you how to prove that you are a trustworthy guide who understands your customers’ pain and can help them conquer it.

First, show empathy

Use words that convey an understanding of what your customers are feeling and experiencing. It’s essential to connect with customers at an emotional level, so they know you understand what they are facing.

This is important because the decision-making part of the brain is on the same side of the brain that controls emotions. While decisions aren’t made solely on feelings, they certainly play a significant role.

By showing empathy, you connect with your customers at an emotional level, which increases trust and moves them one step closer to doing business with you.

Using simple phrases such as ‘we understand how challenging your job is’ shows that you can genuinely connect with them and their problem.

Now, demonstrate your authority

Most of your customers will discount what you say about yourself. After all, you are biased (as I am about my company and every other business owner is about their company). Customers want to hear from someone other than you that you are equipped to help them overcome their challenges. They want social proof.

Social proof is the idea that people make decisions, in part, based on what other people have done. Shopping on Amazon is a perfect example of this. My guess is that before you pull the trigger on a purchase — especially if it’s expensive — you read the customer reviews. I know I do. I want to know what other customers have experienced. In fact, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Showing empathy and authority helps reduce the perceived risk of doing business with you.

The more expensive your product or service, the higher the perceived risk, and the more proof your customers want. By showing authority, you are answering questions and relieving doubts such as:

  • Will your product or service work for me?
  • What happens if it doesn’t work?
  • Is this worth the cost?
  • How do I know this company is telling the truth?

Deciding to do business with you (or to at least take the next step to schedule a call or give you their email address) is easier when you have proven you have authority.

There is powerful psychology at play here. Some are loathed to admit this (I’m looking at you enneagram 4s!), but the majority of people make purchases because they see other people doing it. It’s instinctual to look around us to see if we are doing the right thing.

Now that we’ve talked about the psychology, let’s translate this into something you can use on your website.

Six ways to show authority on your website:

1. Let your customers do the talking.

72% of customers say that positive reviews and testimonials increase their trust in a business. If you already have happy customers, then getting testimonials is low-hanging fruit.

Ask several of your customers for testimonials you can use on your website. Their testimony should only be a few sentences long and talk about how you have helped them overcome their problems.

Video testimonials are the most powerful social proof you can get. To appear on video singing a brand’s praises (not literally singing, unless they have a fantastic voice) means that you are delighted with the product or service. If a video isn’t possible, ask your customer for a headshot that you can use with the testimonial. Also, see if you can display their company logo alongside their quote.

Pro Tip: It’s not OK to grab a positive review from Yelp or other social media sites without getting that person’s permission. Always ask first.

2. Use case studies to show how you help your customers.

Showcase your work by detailing how you’ve helped a customer solve a problem, as well as their resulting success. When possible, include a quote from your customer as well. A case study can be posted within a blog, or you can create a PDF that can be shared with potential customers.

3. Show public appreciation for accolades and accomplishments.

When you’re recognized for your product or service or reach a milestone at your business, it’s okay to publicize it. Let’s say you’re the owner of a local spa that was just named “Best Place for Pampering” by your local paper. If you’re feeling a little timid about tooting your horn, one way to position your announcement is to say, “Thank you to [local paper name] for naming us, “Best Place for Pampering.” We’re proud of our hardworking team and grateful to our loyal clients for helping us knock out stress in [name of city.]  

4. List accreditations and certifications on your homepage.

Anytime you receive a certification, accreditation, or anything that speaks to your expertise or credibility place that on your homepage. Examples may include a dog-walking business noting their Angie’s List Super Service Award or an HVAC service company listing its EPA levels and certifications. These are very powerful in establishing your authority in the minds of consumers. Just make sure it’s relevant to solving your customers’ problems.

5. Highlight media coverage.

If you are receiving any positive news coverage, be sure to include that on your website. You share media placements on your blog, or you can have a dedicated media page if you are regularly receiving coverage. Make sure to prioritize recent placements.

6. Share what others are saying about you on their social channels.

Here in Memphis, there is a fun little popsicle shop called MEMPops. When their customers post photos and videos of themselves enjoying their popsicles on social media, MEMPops reposts and shares their customer’s tagged posts. This is an easy win for businesses who can reshare what their satisfied customers are already saying about them.

Pro Tip: Develop a fun #hashtag and ask your customers to use it if they share about your product or business on social media. Many companies will tie in a giveaway or contest for customers who use the hashtag on social media. This is a free way to reach a much larger audience.

To wrap it up

When it’s all said and done, it’s vital that you provide proof that you can help your customers solve their problems. Be careful not to position yourself as the hero of the story, but keep the focus on how you’re the guide that can equip the hero to save the day. I invite you to download the free guide that gives you six ways you can get better results from your website. Proving that you can help your customers is just one part of the equation. We can also schedule a 30-minute discovery call to help you think through your marketing and show you how you can get more from what you’re currently doing.

by Steve Phipps
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