To build trust, treat prospects as partners rather than customers
By Paul Wilson
A new study identifies several key factors that must be present to develop trust with consumers
There is no shortage of studies and articles on the issue of trust and the vital role it plays in sales and marketing. But you know what? There’s a reason for that. I can’t think of another factor that carries more weight within a business transaction.
The latest study to come out on the topic, from About.com, is titled “The Trust Factor.” It details the enormous role trust plays in driving consumer decisions. Namely, the vast majority of respondents (84 percent) said they will not engage with a brand until trust has been established.
The study identifies several key factors that must be present to develop trust with consumers:
- Expertise – communicates authority and real value, and distinguishes itself from other brands and content fighting for consumer’s attention.
- Fairness – provides information and tools to help the consumer evaluate pros and cons, risks, etc.
- Relevance – targeted to the consumer’s needs and situation, and directly on topic.
- Choice – respects and acknowledges the consumer’s process by offering more options and paths to solutions, and allows consumer to express preferences.
- Relatability – understands the consumer and looks at things from his point of view. Leads like a knowledgeable friend.
- Awareness – name recognition alone doesn’t guarantee trust. Consumers rely on awareness driven by personal experiences or recommendations from friends.
The study determined several best practices for building trust centered on the idea of treating consumers as partners rather than customers.
Allow consumers to take their time and make their own decisions. Eighty-five percent said they trust those who provide options rather than a single answer.
Consumers also trust those who don’t disappear after the sale. Sixty-two percent trust brands that provide information and tools after they’ve handed over their hard-earned cash.
Finally, be willing to adapt to your customers’ changing lives and needs. Eighty-five percent said they trust companies that continually offer new resources to reflect their evolving needs.
The financial services industry has been working hard to rebuild its relationship with Americans over the past few years. Think of the ideas in this study as a few more tools to help you establish a trusting relationship with your next prospect.
What strategies do you use to build trust?