So here is a question to consider: What’s the greatest secret for long-term sales? What are the selling points that make a customer comfortable buying from you, and uncomfortable with the offerings of your competitors? What creates a line of customers who want to buy from you? What is the difference between a salesman who pushes sales, works 14 hours a day, and still can’t land a single lead, and another who doesn’t even push sales and still gets great profits and new customers every time?
There are people who don’t want to have anything to do with sales, and yet there are always people who buy from them. This is what most of you dream of, right? Just imagine a world where news of your product spreads by word of mouth, and you get as many customers as you want.
Who are these people and what do they do different?
Usually they sell products that customers believe in and know the value of those products. These people are very aware of what they sell, and can sell their products at a high price. They try to give their customers the best possible service, and do everything they can for them. They treat them as important people, and they take care of them.
Ok, you may think this is the secret I mentioned early, because you already do a fabulous business under these circumstances. However, great product alone is not enough to build a lasting customer relationship, or to gain new sales. You need to take the next step.
A truly successful business owner knows that they have to do something more: they build trust with their potential customers. This is one of the most important elements of a successful sale, and important for generating more leads. You have to communicate to your potential customers that your products are high quality, the promises are guaranteed, and it really worth the price you charge. If you keep it as a secret, the customers will never know.
If the customer doesn’t trust you, they won’t buy.
It’s easier to build trust in a face-to-face conversation, but much harder if you sell online. There are several parts of a sale where the buyer can decide if they trust of the seller or not. You can talk to them, answer their questions, show them your expertise; they can look at the store, the products, even other customers, and get a feel for the overall vibe.
But if you sell online, you don’t have these luxuries. You have to go further, and build the trust before the customer even thinks about it. You have to send them marketing messages that build trust.
If you are quiet, or if you just describe your product itself, you miss this very important step.
10 ways to build trust
This is no different than you would do in a regular face-to-face conversation. Introduce yourself to the potential customer, and let them know you are a real person. Whether you are running a brick-and-mortar business, or offering online services only, get to know your customers. Nobody wants to do business with a phantom.
This is especially true with web-based businesses. Most website owners don’t introduce themselves, and there is not enough information on the site for customers to really know who they are doing business with (maybe a business name and an email address, that’s it) and it’s not at all personal. It doesn’t build trust. If I buy something from a company, my first concern is if I have a problem with the product, will someone assist me in resolving it?
Give your business a name and a picture. Introduce yourself as the leader of your business and let people know who you are. Introduce yourself in writing, and include videos or pictures, too. You can’t believe what a huge difference it can make.
It’s just as important if you run a business with a physical location, and it’s a lot easier. Even if you have employees, take time to introduce yourself to customers and interact with them. Let them see that you have a personal interest in their satisfaction. I once knew a man who ran a small business. He had sales people and account managers to interact with his customers, and could have easily stayed behind the scenes. Instead, he made a point of introducing himself to every new customer, and making sure they knew how to contact him if they every needed assistance and weren’t getting the product they expected from the salespersons. As a result, he has customer relationships that went back 30+ years, which is virtually unheard of in most businesses today.
Give them your phone number. It works like magic. Don’t be afraid that customers will call you all day and night, just because you include your important contact information on your website or DM. Simply knowing that they can reach you any time makes the buyer more comfortable and helps to build trust. Don’t forget that if they only see a URL or email address, they really don’t know how strong your customer service is or how well you treat your clients.
Don’t leave unknowns
Always tell them what to do and what will happen. If I don’t know that I will receive an order confirmation within the next 10 minutes, and my order will shipped next day, I’m not sure that I want to provide my credit card information. As a result, I don’t complete the sale because of my concerns.
Don’t leave customers wondering. Tell them what will happen after they register or buy, who will help them if they have questions or concerns, what to do if they need assistance. In a local business, it’s pretty easy to provide all this information to customers, but you have to answer to these questions on your website as well, so that clients will know that you are prepared to serve them.
People usually are afraid of:
– I will pay and won’t get anything
– I will pay and get horrible product or service
– I will pay, but make a mistake with the registration, and won’t get anything
You kill two birds with one stone: Not only do your customers see that others already made business with you; they also see that they are happy with what you provide. It’s one thing for your potential customers to hear it from your mouth; it’s another when it comes directly from your customers – people just like them.
Be an expert in your field
Write about your field and your experiences! Whether it’s interesting articles for a newsletter or an industry magazine, or a blog, or PR publications, or even social media posts: Talk about your field so that people know you truly understand what you are doing.
When your customers see that you are knowledgeable and work to stay current on the latest trends, they know that they are likely get high-quality service or product. It is also a great way to build your name and reputation in the industry, which further helps to strengthen your customers trust in you, because they know with whom they do business.
Offer a money-back guarantee
If you know that your products are good enough to deliver promises, you can take the risk of offering a money-back guarantee. If people will be satisfied, they won’t ask for their money back, so that’s no longer a risk to you. And if they don’t like your products or it didn’t work for them, why should they become a “bad customer” when you can make them happy by giving back their money? You can make more sales with a money-back guarantee than you will lose in refunds.
When talking about your guarantee, don’t make ambiguous comments that can leave your customer confused. For example, don’t tell someone that your “Guarantee doesn’t apply for extreme circumstances” – what does it mean? What’s your definition of “extreme”? This would leave me confused and reluctant to sign up. Be clear with your information and details.
When you make a promise about something, do you keep it? Do you call customers back when you promise? Do you answer their emails in 24 hours? These may seem like small things, but they show that you are responsible, and if the customer asks you something, you will deliver (if possible). And if it’s not possible, you will be honest with your customers and let them know.
If you are responsible with the small things like this, the customer will trust you when something doesn’t go how they wanted, and knows that you will help them and take care of their problem.
Provide great customer service
Some people ignore customer service. Customer service doesn’t mean that you just listen to customer’s problems and complaints. It also means that you help them whenever they have a question. It’s an important part of the sales job. The sale isn’t done when the customer pays—it continues through taking care of that customer and ensuring their ongoing satisfaction.
Good customer service creates happy, confident buyers. That means buyers who will continue to buy and build a long-term business relationship with you. There is no better advertisement than a happy and confident customer.
One of the most important lessons you can learn when selling: be yourself. Don’t try to paint a false picture of yourself, don’t copy your competitors, or try to be like some leader in your field. Customers will see through it, even if you don’t. Be you, in everything you do. Be helpful and transparent, and bring your own personality, your thoughts, and image. Your customers will appreciate it, and you will find it makes your job a lot easier and less stressful, too.
Every product has its weaknesses and strengths. Everybody knows that. Don’t try to be perfect, and don’t try to convince your customer that your product is perfect for them when it is not. If it’s not suitable for a customer, be honest and tell them. Even better, try to guide them toward another product that will better suit their needs.
You’re not rejecting a potential customer. You are building trust, and creating a happy customer rather than an angry one.