Build Trust With Prospects by Revealing Your Identity
Huge companies can get away without having a “personality” at the helm, but small business marketers who try to hide are making a big mistake.
If successful, those huge companies have built a reputation over the years – for good quality merchandise or for good service provided by a well-trained team of employees.
No one knows who “the owner” is, and they don’t care. They trust “the company” to do what’s expected.
But if you’re starting out with your own small to medium sized business, you don’t have that luxury. You don’t have a long-term reputation to back you up, so the first thing you need to do is create an atmosphere of trust.
How? By staying out of hiding.
By letting your prospective customers know who you are, and by letting them know that you take responsibility for everything that goes on in your business. By giving them a way to reach you if they have a question or a concern. By showing that their satisfaction is important to you.
There are two parts to this. First is the “who you are” aspect, and that’s the one that many small business people can’t seem to accept. Perhaps it’s because they’re shy, or unsure, but whatever the reason, it’s a mistake.
Many business owners give customers a way to get in touch, and many have very liberal return policies and do their best to give customer satisfaction. But they still hide!
Hiding is not the way to establish trust in a start-up business. In fact, hiding is a good way to create mistrust. It’s as if you’re saying “You might not like what I’m offering, so I don’t want you to know who I am!” It’s like using a blind PO Box for your mail – because you want to be ready to leave town any minute.
So first, use your name. Then share something personal. Not your life history, but something that will give people a reason to see you as someone who is “like them” in some way.
If you sell dog supplies because you’re an avid dog lover, a volunteer for dog rescue, a trainer, a handler for search-and-rescue dogs, or a veterinary assistant – say so! If you sell model train supplies because you’ve had a fascination with them since childhood, or because you’re a retired locomotive engineer, share the information!
Then, beyond the connection to your business, let people know that you’re a person outside of business. I never advise discussing politics or religion (unless they’re your business) but you can share a small peek into your hobbies, your interests, your family, your volunteer activities, etc.
For instance, you might say something like “When we’re not working, my husband and I grab our 2 kids and our 3 dogs and we head for the hills. Hiking the trails above (town) is a favorite way to spend time together while getting the exercise we all need.”
Now – you’ve just said you have a family that you appreciate, you like animals, you’re an outdoors person, and you believe in fitness. You’ve shared things that other people can connect with when they’re looking for ways to see if you are like them – or not like them.
Why do you think so many websites have an “About me” page? People who do it now may just be following the leader, but my bet is the first person who did it had a good reason – he or she knew that customers who can’t meet you in person want to “meet” you on line.
So take a look at your “about me” page – and if it doesn’t say anything beyond your professional experience and accomplishments, fix it!
Yours for prosperity,