If you cannot back up what you say, why should anyone let alone a customer believe you? Well they can’t. You need something tangible, something that puts some proof in the pudding so to speak.
Also, let us be honest, no one likes a ‘know it all show off’ do they?
Fear not though, there are ways in which you can get this ‘social proof’, ways in which you can back up what you say. The funny thing is though; it does not actually have to be you that says them . . .
Why it shouldn’t be you telling people how good you are
As outlined above, you as a business could make any claim. Anyone can say anything in this digital world, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. Let’s think about an example of this. You meet someone for the first time. They tell you they are a one of the best cross-country runners in the UK. You are likely to be caught in two minds, either you have no reason not to trust them, or you have no reason to trust them. Therefore, you can either gamble and trust (which by definition is risky, but can be rewarding) or you can check, which if proved true the only thing you’ve lost is 5 minutes.
Now imagine someone else told you that the person you were talking to was an incredible cross-country runner. You are more likely to believe them because it is not come from the person themselves.
Putting that concept back into a business context. You find a company online that stocks an item you want. Do you trust what they say, and how great they are, or do you check a review site, or even ask someone else? I know I would.
Most companies I would say are innately good, but a few bad apples can quickly put a sour taste in your mouth (or your wallet).
Turning this around to look at the issue from a company’s perspective. You write on your website things that you do genuinely believe to be true such as having great customer service. But, where is your proof? You want to make sure a new customer can trust you and what your saying, because at the end of the day it’s their money on the line.
Money doesn’t come cheap, it can be hard earned, and can be even harder to get people to part with it. So why put up barriers to them spending? A business transaction is a relationship. Isn’t one of the fundamental traits of a successful relationship trust?
You can build trust, it does take time, but the customers that trust you now are going to be the ones to get new customers to trust you too!
3 Ways of getting your current customers to sell your brand
I am a huge believer in something called Social Verification. This is a marketing strategy, which looks at leveraging the power of your customers to get them to tell your story.
It is common sense and knowledge now that retaining customers, and getting them to spend more or “upgrade” is more profitable than gaining new customers. But, if you want your business to grow you need new customers as well.
It is important then that attracting these new customers be as cost-effective as possible. You do this through your current customers, and using a 3-prong (Trident) approach.
Ratings & Reviews
In this article, we have already touched upon the benefits ratings and reviews can bring, but it is not a case of just letting them happen. You need to engage with people who have left those reviews. After all they have gone out of their way and used their own time to leave you feedback! You also need to remind people that they can leave their opinions in these places.
I do not see negative reviews as necessarily a bad thing. Because now you know you may have a problem, and you can resolve it. You can communicate not only with the individual who sent the review, but you are also communicating with anyone who looks at that review. You now have an extra opportunity to show you really are. After all no one is perfect!
Encouraging people to leave reviews I also see as a good thing (bribery though, I do not condone). Having a stream of new reviews keeps the site fresh, it shows continual commitment to your claims, and it also keeps the reviews relevant.
In summary ratings and reviews are incredible for building trust, because it’s not you saying how good you are!
If you perform and deliver constantly over time, you can create advocates. In fact, Social Media means that it is easier than ever to have people becoming advocates for your brand. These advocates will talk about how good you are, share your content, recommend you to a friend.
Advocates tell your story so you do not have to. These customers are the ones which will back you when you have problems, and support you when you have promotions. It is really not rocket science either. Treat people how you want to be treated, try to exceed expectations and maybe even throw in a little surprise every now and then.
As far as investment goes, that’s not too bad is it?!
Over the last year or so, I have heard so many people use the term or similar terms to this; “Create an army of raving fans”. As much as I hate this term I do think it is somewhat true though. But, for me it’s more about growing a community. Somewhere where these fans, new fans and potential fans can get involved with your business. A podcast for example, a Facebook group, a blog, or going a step further and building a proper forum for them.
Communities come in all shapes and forms. There is no formula. I believe that a community is a place where people of similar mindsets or beliefs can meet, and exchange ideas and feelings.
Almost all of you will have heard the term ‘community spirit’ or something like ‘the community pulling together’. This means that if your business is in trouble this group of people will help you if they can.
Loads of examples of this can be seen in the English Football pyramid. Numerous teams have gone into liquidation or have faced big problems, but the communities which are part of these clubs have come together to save these clubs, even breathe new leases of life into them.
Having communities also gives you an opportunity for constant feedback, increased engagement, increases the likelihood of advocates being created, and generally helps people understand what your business is all about.
How good are you really then? Can you back up what you say?
After reading this, can you say that you are currently using the power of your customers to back up your claims? If not, why not? Sure, it takes a little bit of time, but when you look at the potential rewards, it is surely a no-brainer?
Customers are your greatest asset. Without them your business won’t exist. Communicate with them, engage them, reward them and they will be there through the good and the bad.
Want to know more?
This is a topic I like to write about a fair amount, so if you like what I’ve written here please have a look at my blog, which is growing all the time (I’ll also have a free download soon).
I would also love to hear your thoughts on this so please leave comments, or add me as a connection. It is always good for me to have my ideas challenged or proved, so I’d love to hear from you either way!
(Blog post header from: http://www.channelweb.co.uk/crn-uk/news/2158420/citrix-heralds-smb-push-partner-programme)