Ask most business-owners what’s the most important thing in getting more customers, and you’ll get a massive range of answers. Some will say having a really good product — the best on the market if at all possible — is the best way to do it. Others will say having a really great website. Still others will say having a powerful lead-generation system in place. Most will say it’s a mixture of all the above, and more.
Well, those who say it’s a mixture of the above would be right — it is a mixture of all the above and more. And the important thing is the more. Because there’s one element which underpins all the others, and without it it’s likely you won’t do much, if any, business at all. That element is trust — or more specifically how much your prospective customers trust you. You see, in any transaction one party is taking more risk than the other party, and in the everyday world of buying and selling the one taking the risk is the buyer, because they’re the one handing over the money. Put yourself in the position of the buyer for a moment.
As the old saying goes, possession is nine-tenths of the law, and once someone has your money it can be a hell of a lot of work to get it back. Sure, you can complain. Sure, you can even sue. But most people just don’t want to go through that hassle, especially since they still have the problem they set out to solve.
They needed a new flat roof because it was leaking, and when the company does a botched job, they’ve lost money and they still have water pouring in every time it rains.
Is it any wonder so many people are wary of handing over money? So how can you, as a business-owner, make your prospective clients trust you? And trust you enough to hand over their money?
Well, there’s one simple thing you can do to put you head and shoulders above your competitors in the trust stakes — although there are two parts to it, in effect.
Show You’re Different
Almost every industry has a bad reputation in some way. Many of us have had the bad experience of asking a plumber to give us a quote for a job and then, after taking a morning off work, find he doesn’t turn up. And if he does turn up, and you hire him to do the job, he doesn’t start on time, or doesn’t finish on time, or leaves the place in an absolute mess, and then — just to add insult to injury — adds a bit extra to his original quote for good measure. By the way, this isn’t to pick on plumbers, because many of the “trades” have exactly the same reputation.
And it isn’t just the trades. Many of the professions have a bad reputation in one way or another. And this is great news for you if you really are serious about making prospects trust you.
Because you simply think of the things that give your industry a bad reputation, and then promise you won’t do them. And then stick to that promise. Turn up on time. Do a good job. Leave the place clean. Don’t give any “invoice surprises”. Simple, really. And the customers will love you for it, and flock to give you their business. But there’s more…
Promise to Do It Under Pain of Death
Well, maybe not so dramatic. But do give a guarantee — and as strong as possible.
As mentioned above, it’s almost always the buyer who takes the risk, and by giving a strong guarantee you move the risk from them to you.
So the watchword is to give as strong a guarantee as possible, one that makes your competitors gasp, or at least shake their head at your apparent madness. And then spell the guarantee out in as simple terms as possible, especially what you’ll do to put things right if anything does happen to go wrong. You can cover almost anything in a guarantee, and it should cover the stuff about what people hate about your industry as mentioned above. So, promise to turn up on time, and guarantee to pay a fine if you don’t. Promise to finish on time or pay a fine. You get the idea.
A lot of business-owners are terrified of giving a really strong guarantee because they fear being inundated with refund requests. But it’s really an unfounded fear, because if you do a good job most customers will be so pleased — and surprised — they’ll have nothing but praise for you. Of course, some people will try to rip you off, but the number will be tiny, and the extra business you get from giving such a strong guarantee will cover the cost many times over.
It’s a fact when we hear the same thing from several people we’re more likely to accept it as true. In fact, it could be said when a prospect hears something from you, the business-owner, the default position is to be suspicious it isn’t true. But when he hears the same thing from someone else it becomes a fact.
And that’s why providing third-party proof is so important. The simplest thing is to provide testimonials, and from as varied a customer base as possible. You should also use other forms of proof such as third-party product reviews, and especially any newspaper interviews you’ve given. Just copying them in their original format and adding them to your sales literature can be incredibly effective.
Be a Problem-Solver, not a Salesman
When any prospective customer approaches you, he has a problem to be solved, and in many cases he isn’t sure exactly what the problem is. And that, for you, is a great opportunity. Because the response of most business-owners when they get a sniff of a prospective customer is to bombard them with sales patter, laying it on thick in an attempt to sell the most expensive widget they can. And if you do the opposite, and spend time asking questions to discover what the real problem is and what the customer really wants, the chances are the customer will love you and be prepared to cross your palm with much silver. Sometimes, it’s better to sell nothing at all, and be honest when you can’t solve a problem. You miss out on making a sale this time, but the amount of trust and goodwill you generate will reap untold rewards.
CHRIS KEY TAKEAWAYS
All the stuff mentioned above is counter-intuitive, I know. Most businesses do exactly the opposite. They try to cut corners. They welch on their promises. They don’t give a guarantee. They try to sell without any concern for what the buyer actually wants or needs. And 80% of businesses go bust within five years. Just something to think about if you’re wondering whether it’s worth putting in the work needed to engender “trust” — that magic ingredient of a successful business.
Please share here your thoughts on this article about Chris Cardell, share it on social media and express your views. To learn more about Chris Cardell visit his website chriscardell.com or Chris Cardell’s Media Company, Cardell Media Ltd. There is also an interesting video interview with Chris Cardell. His next life changing event is The Sovereignty Summit with Chris and Dan Kennedy on 29th – 30th of September 2015.