How do you get your ideal customers to trust you?
When it comes to marketing, product business owners have it easy – you just show a picture of your product and people buy it!
Of course, I exaggerate slightly, I know it’s a bit more difficult than that.
But here’s the dilemma for service business owners. How do you convince people to buy your service when your business is the knowledge in your head?
When you have 20 plus years of expertise, how do you share just enough to be able to sell? And when you are an introvert and don’t much like talking about yourself, how do you get comfortable talking about your business?
The know, like and trust process
Getting the expertise out of your head in an effective way can be challenging.
I work with many clients who take for granted much of their knowledge. They are so immersed in their profession that they struggle to explain it simply. But when potential clients start to look for an architect, an accountant or a solicitor, they may have little to no knowledge of what you do.
They just have a problem that they think you can help with. For many service-based businesses, you are asking potential clients to make a big investment in your service, with little tangible evidence to base that buying decision on.
For service-based business owners, marketing is about building sufficient trust with potential clients so they feel comfortable buying.
Trust takes time to build and doesn’t come on the first contact. Before they trust you they have to know about you and like you (or at least resonate with the way you work and how you do business).
When I’m working with clients, these are some of the steps I work through with them to develop that “know, like and trust”.
What do your customers want to know?
Firstly, put yourself into the shoes of your potential clients and pinpoint what is driving them to you.
What challenges or issues are they trying to address by working with your service?
To find this out, start by listening to your existing clients. Think about the conversations you have with them all the time. What is the first thing they ask? What are the conversations they have with your team when they first phone or email you? When you speak to people at networking events and they find out what you do, what are the typical questions they ask?
If you want to go deeper into this, you can run a survey. You could ask questions via your social media channels or if you have a mailing list, you can email your subscribers and ask what they most want to know from you.
How can you answer their questions?
Once you have a good feel for what your customers’ frequently asked questions are, think about how you can answer them simply.
Of course, many of your clients will need a tailored solution and your business is focused on working one to one with them to achieve that. But some aspects of their initial queries will be standard, and you can provide standard answers.
For example, a residential client for an architects’ practice may want to know about the planning process, or how working with an architect will make their project easier.
In an independent financial advice business, you may regularly hear the same questions about how pensions work, or whether people should invest in pensions or property.
How can you take those standard questions and create something of value that will help potential customers get to trust you and your advice?
You may want to write a blog and add it to your website. You may prefer to record a short video, or write a “How to” guide. Webinars or live social media videos can also be excellent ways of answering these questions.
Before you start to panic about your regulator’s response, or how you may be giving your expertise for free, stop for a moment! Remember, this information is not acting in place of any tailored advice to a client’s specific problem.
What you are creating is a way of answering potential clients’ standard (and probably quite straightforward) questions.
This enables you to demonstrate your expertise and help them get to know, like and trust you. It may even save time, cutting down the number of occasions you have the same conversation. And maybe it weeds out those people who just want to “pick your brains” rather than intend to become paying customers.
How to share your advice
Once you have your guide, blog or video, how can you share it to reach the maximum number of the right people?
You may have a clear idea of who your ideal customer is. If not, this is an important step (and you might find this blog useful on how to define your ideal customer to improve your marketing.)
Can you send it to an email list of potential customers to help them make a buying decision? Can you share it on social media platforms to maximum effect – either as a post on your own channels, or in response to others’ looking for your expertise eg in Facebook Groups?
When you go to a networking event, offer to send a link to your blog post to anyone who starts to ask you that frequently asked question about pensions or the planning process.
If you create something of sufficient value, you could even ask for potential clients to sign up to receive it, and use it to build your mailing list.
There are many ways to build your credibility as a service business owner. Taking your expertise and creating a simple guide means it becomes something you can easily share. Your blog or guide or video becomes a valuable step in the “know like and trust” journey.
If you are a service business owner and want to explore how you can encourage more people to “know, like and trust” you, contact me to book a Power Hour.