Developing trust and confidence

In this era of Bernie Madoff, identity theft, and 411 scams, consumers are increasingly leery of businesses. The economic downturn has many consumers holding onto their more tightly than ever. This presents a significant challenge for the small business seeking to maintain or grow its sales.

A key component of successful sales, even in the best of times, is developing trust and confidence. When a consumer has trust that your product or service will meet his needs or desires, and confidence in your ability to deliver, he is more likely to buy. But how do we develop trust and confidence?

Many small business owners take the direct approach: They tell the consumer dependable and trust-worthy they are. However, it is quite easy to make such claims–anyone can do the same. The most effective way to develop trust and confidence is to demonstrate that one is trust-worthy. In this context, actions truly do speak louder than words.

For example, if you are always on time for appointments, you demonstrate dependability and promptness. If you return phone calls quickly and keep a customer informed, you demonstrate good communication. If you answer questions patiently and in detail, you demonstrate interest in the customer’s concerns. These actions–and many more like them–are far more powerful than long-winded monologues about how great your company is.

A similar way to develop trust and confidence is through an e-book, special report, or similar materials. Such documents allow you to demonstrate knowledge, answer common questions, and demonstrate your expertise. An excellent example of this can be found in Harvey Segal’s free e-book, The Ultimate SuperTip.

Developing trust and confidence can take time. They must be earned. And the most effective way to earn your customer’s trust and confidence is by showing, not telling.

Systems for analyzing small business marketing

One of the great challenges for a small business is attracting customers. Indeed, marketing is a frequent topic of discussion among small business owners.

Many small business owners are looking for a “magic pill”–some method of marketing that will drive eager buyers to their business. While it would certainly make life easier to find such a solution, marketing is seldom so simple. Markets are dynamic, undergoing continual change, and often what worked yesterday won’t work today.

But how do we know what works? How do we determine if we should continue our yellow page ad, or distribute more door hangers, or invest more in Google Adwords?

Far too frequently small business owners simply guess. They go on their “gut”. They make decisions based on what they believe to be true, rather than the actual facts. Far too often, small business owners do not track and analyze their marketing.

While the specifics can vary between industries, a business owner must track his leads if he is to make intelligent, informed decisions regarding his marketing. He must know what marketing is drawing customers, if those customers are buying, and how much they are buying. A particular ad may fill the store, but if those customers are not buying, the ad is providing little benefit. Conversely, another ad may attract few customers, but these are eager buyers.

We must be able to make these identifications and distinctions. We must be able to compare our various advertising. And we must use more than a hunch to do so. We must have a system in place for identifying the source of our customers.

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