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5 Keys To Trust

Volume 2 Issue 2 - January 27, 2012

If people don't believe you, the words you choose don't really matter

In today's issue of the Six Secrets Newsletter we talk about the importance of trust in persuasion and how to rapidly develop a base of trust by tapping into the 'trust cues' your visitors are using to evaluate you and your business.

I also want to say thank you to everyone who joined me for the "Sell Like A Guru" webinar I hosted on my birthday. The feedback has been amazing and I am looking at ways to share the content of the webinar with a wider audience.

Lynn suggested I break the material into 5 separate webinars to make it easier for people to take in. I will probably do something like that as I work through the content.

As I get things sorted out, I'll let you know..

Andrew Seltz, Publisher and EditorShare your thoughts on this issue. Leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

To your success,

Andrew Seltz

Publisher & Editor
Six Secrets Newsletter

Instant Trust, Just Add Visitors

by Andrew Seltz

Instant trust. The idea conjures up thoughts of 'love at first sight.' And, just like that concept, there are many people who swear instant trust is real and others who swear it doesn't exist.

So what is the truth here? Does instant trust exist? If it does, how does it work and can we influence the process?

Trust is the foundation of true persuasion. If people don't believe what you are saying, it doesn't matter what words you choose. Some of the factors involved in being trustworthy develop over time, but many of the cues we use to form our opinions about others are evaluated within seconds of our first contact. We form a quick opinion and then evaluate it over time based on future interactions.

But, first impressions are lasting impressions. That initial impression is a powerful factor in your ability to influence and the effect is long lasting.

The Trust Continuum

Part of what fuels the debate over instant trust is confusion over the nature of trust itself. Trust is not a thing you have or don't have. Trust is a continuum. It involves a level of confidence in a person's trustworthiness. How much trust you need depends on the risks involved in the relationship.  If you make a request of someone that involves a small amount of risk, you don't need much trust. Make a request with a high level of risk and the trust requirement goes up.

The level of trust in a relationship also changes over time. Trust is either growing or shrinking based on the positive or negative experiences that accumulate.

Instant trust tends to fall on the low end of the trust continuum. It can be generated quickly using methods we'll discuss in a moment. But, it is not strong and will require additional support if you intend to make a large request involving high risk.

Imagine these two scenarios. In the first, you walk into a car lot and are greeted by a greasy-looking man with bad teeth, bad breath, and an ugly suit stepping out of a dingy trailer that serves as his office. Before you even say hello, he tells you that you look like the sort of person who really needs a sporty convertible and says he has just the perfect car for you. He grabs you by the arm and leads/pulls you toward the most expensive car on the lot.

In the second scenario, you walk onto a well kept car lot with a clean and attractive showroom. The car lot sells a well established brand and this particular location has been doing business for 32 years. A salesman in a crisp blue suit approaches and introduces himself and asks if you have any questions.

Which one would you trust more?

Every time a prospect lands on your web page they are having a similar experience. Depending on the risks involved in purchasing from you, they are looking for a degree of confidence that they can trust you and the solution you are selling enough to push the order button.

Now, let's take a look at some of the ways you can build a high level of trust instantly...

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5 Keys To Instant Trust

So, how can we accelerate the trust development process with your website visitors? The following five factors are key to 'trust at first site.' They are not the only things impacting the trust relationship, but together they will have a profound influence on whether visitors to your website will take the next step in their relationship with you - whatever that may be.

The 5 Keys to Instant Trust are:

  • Looking The Part
  • Getting References
  • Exposing Yourself
  • Getting Something Done
  • Accepting The Risk First

Looking The Part

Appearances count online just the same as offline. If you want to be taken seriously offline, you show up 'dressed for business.' You need to do the same online. Your site needs to be well organized and attractive with highly relevant content.

Look at sites that have a high level of status in your market. How are they designed? What 'trust marks' do they display?

Model the look and feel of the best websites in your market and you will inherit a certain level of confidence-by-association. Seek out the same trust marks and certifications that they are displaying.

Beyond modeling successful sites, look at the bottom tier websites too. Make sure you are not accidentally triggering associations with them.

Getting References

Who do you trust more, a stranger who says "trust me" or someone you've been introduced to by a trusted friend or relative?

Professional sales people know that the best lead is one that comes from a personal introduction. That's why they ask for referrals and introductions.

Online, you are looking for links. Facebook 'likes', Twitter 'tweets', and links from blogs generate visitors who are predisposed to trusting you because you come with an endorsement. The same is true for referrals from affiliates and joint venture partners.

Even an endorsement from someone who has a financial interest in recommending you and your product will raise the level of initial trust for the visitors they send.

Cultivate relationships with prominent people in your market and solicit their endorsements. Place prominent Twitter, Facebook, G+, and other social media interaction tools throughout your site to encourage sharing. Ask people directly to share your links - don't assume they will think of it on their own.

Exposing Yourself

No, I don't want you to post risque photos on your site. What I want you to do is quit hiding from people. Many people trying to do business on the Internet are also trying to hide from their customers. They use private domain registration services and give little contact information on their websites. Do you trust people who hide from you?

Go in the opposite direction. Provide contact forms and email addresses for support. Then, go the extra mile with phone numbers (a Google Voice account is great for this) and street addresses.

The more ways you allow people to contact you, the greater their confidence that you will be there if they need you - just like the other people they trust.

Getting Something Done

If you have accomplished something you are instantly more trustworthy than someone who hasn't. Make sure that you communicate relevant stories about your successes. Share stories about people you have helped. Include pictures of yourself 'in action.' Talk about projects you have done. Let people know you are not just talking.

If you can get other people to share these stories on your behalf, you can stack the benefit of an endorsement on top of an accomplishment.

Accepting The Risk First

Last, but not least, take the first step and trust your customer before they trust you. There are a few ways to do this. First, you can give access to some (or all) of your material before the prospect has to pay. You let them see the value with their own eyes before making a purchasing decision. This is a huge perceived risk on your part and your willingness to take the chance shows great confidence which will increase their trust in you.

A second method to assume risk is to offer amazing guarantees. A 30/60/90 day guarantee with 100% satisfaction or your money back goes a long way toward building trust. Try something radical. Add a testimonial from a person who bought the product, realized it wasn't for them, and was impressed by the prompt and courteous refund they were given (of course, make sure they mention how awesome the product is - just not the right fit for them!) People will be impressed with how you honored your promises and your confidence posting negative information.

Now, Get Out There And Earn Some Trust

Leverage these 5 trust winning strategies in your marketing and begin building some instant trust with your prospects. Then, follow up by delivering amazing products and amazing customer support to deepen that trust and build solid relationships with your new customers.


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