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Building Trust: Put The Customer First

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There are a million and a half strategies I can share with  you to increase your traffic, get more leads, and boost your profits right now… However, there’s ONE thing more important than any strategy I could give you.

There’s ONE thing that can provide you with a competitive advantage that’s so strong (when you do it right), even your most formidable competitors can’t touch you, no matter how big their marketing budget is…

And if you don’t incorporate this into your business, you’ll easily be passed up by a competitor who does.

In today’s “new” economy, it only takes 30 seconds on social media to see its importance…

We’re talking about building trust.

A few years ago, a reporter called my office to ask me what I felt was the biggest competitive advantage of the year. I told her it was to establish a trusted relationship with your customers.

It’s even more essential today.

In 2017, the Edelman Trust Barometer recorded the largest-ever DROP in global trust across the board. Consumers don’t trust business, government, media, and NGOs. (Source)

The implications of this are enormous, and the trend continues.

By default, your prospects don’t trust you, they don’t trust your advertisements, and they don’t trust that you’re going to stand by their side when something goes wrong.

^ It’s a tough truth to swallow, but it’s real.

Consumers don’t believe CEOs will do what’s right for the consumer – and will instead put profits ahead of consumer interest.

You need to earn and build your customers’ trust.

But most marketers and business owners don’t think it’s important, so rather than take the time to provide value, establish a relationship, and build upon it…

Short-sighted markers hit people over the head with a glut of hyped-up advertisements and over-the-top marketing messages, trying to dupe unsuspecting customers to buy from them.

One guy had the nerve to tell me: “I don’t care if my customers use the product. I hope they don’t. As long as they open up their wallets and spend money with me!”

In fact, I just fired a client (someone who paid me tens of thousands of dollars EVERY MONTH for my advice). He accepted the bad advice of another “marketing guru,” took a bite out of Eve’s apple, and knowingly made empty promises to score a few sales.

It makes me sick to see someone destroy their company like that…

It’s this type of cancerous, short-term thinking that will inevitably become the death of his business.

Good riddance.

And it happens all the time. This story has a very predictable ending, where he’ll come  back to me on his knees, bleeding profits and begging me to accept him back… But I’ll refuse.

Integrity is one of those things – you either have it or you don’t. I don’t have the time or effort to waste on people who inherently don’t have the best interests of their customers as a top priority.

You see, trust is the foundation of every successful company in today’s new economy…

Let’s face it: we live in a very interconnected world where consumers talk. They write reviews, share experiences, and discuss on social media.

Today, you can no longer hide behind the wall of an uninformed customer (in most cases, they know more about you, your product/service, and your company than your own employees). Building trust is everything.

With more and more competition coming into the market everyday – and consumers getting wiser – you can’t hide behind the veil of consumer ignorance for long.

Ultimately, your customer trusts you to:

  • Be honest
  • Provide them with a better advantage than your competitors
  • Give them value
  • Support them
  • Guide them into buying the right product/service for them
  • Do what you say – when you say it

Fail to do any of the above, and they’ll leave you for someone they CAN trust.

Understand this…

Half of your buyers feel victimized and believe the system has failed them (NO, this isn’t a political statement).

From the consumer standpoint, they have no faith in leadership (business or government), they feel they’re being treated unfairly, and they have a pessimistic view of the future.

To top it off, much of society hates big, profit-hungry companies.

Yet, let’s not forget that with adversity comes opportunity.

For many of us, when you play by the rules of the NEW economy, you have an AWESOME opportunity to stand out, be different, and WIN!

Many big, dumb CEOs are confused – they think the  goal of a public company is to increase shareholder value (they still teach this principle in business school).

THEY think the goal of marketing is simply to GET customers. They’re wrong.

The goal of any company is to provide a greater benefit and advantage to their consumers in order to help them achieve the best result possible.

And the goal of marketing is actually to GET and KEEP customers.

Look, there are times when you MUST subordinate your own profit interests for the best interest of the customer.

^ Read that again.

Every week, my awesome team takes sales calls, interviewing potential clients. And every week, we turn down applicants if they’re not a good fit.

We know we’re not for everyone (especially if they’re afraid of putting in the work and just want a quick fix).

Which is why sometimes your best deals are the ones you don’t make.

When you put the right product/service in the wrong hands, you potentially have yourself a customer support nightmare.

As I’ve said many times, we live in a different world today…

“It’s not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.”

—   Dr. W.  Edwards Deming

With more competition and more informed buyers than ever before, the customer has all the power.

You MUST put your customer’s interests ahead of profits.

If you fail to realize this, you’re in trouble.

Without trust, no Phoenix is powerful enough to raise you from the ashes.

That’s why it’s critically important you abide by these rules:

  1. Say what you’re going to do, then do what you say
  2. Frequent, honest, and authentic communication is key
  3. Trust is built one interaction at a time (it’s not built overnight)
  4. Sell in the best interest of the customer (not in the best interest if your profits)
  5. Tell the truth (even if that means, at times, admitting when your product/service isn’t right for the customer)
  6. We’re all human – when you make a mistake, own up to it and make it right (don’t make up stories)
  7. Become the “trusted advisor” for your customers (that includes offering tips, information, and advice to help them make an informed decision)
  8. Go out of your way to show your customers that you care about them
  9. Protect and improve what’s important to your customers (this might be the environment, their local community, or even helping them protect their own wellbeing)
  10. Listen to your customers (when you get feedback, take it seriously)

Remember, trust is a commitment and a journey. It takes time to build it, but can be lost in an instant.

When you go out of your way to become the trusted leader in your industry, you’ll have a competitive advantage and stronghold in your market.

When you build a relationship with your customer that’s based on trust, you’ll earn their  loyalty. They’ll become lifelong customers and refer their friends.

“Free markets can succeed for all if business works with the people, not just sells to them.”

–  Richard Edelman

what now?

Continue reading for more resourceful information.