Posted by: Kristen Beireis, Trust Marketing Expert

As a Professional, your potential clients (and current clients) rely on you to be the expert.  They rely on you to have a particular skill set and/or knowledge-base they don’t possess.  If they don’t posses the skills and knowledge you do, then they don’t know what they don’t know.  For most people, it’s a little scary to not know something.  It can make them feel out of control of their situation.  In order to get control, they look for someone they feel can definitely fill in the gaps where needed.  They need someone they can trust to be honest and look out for their best interests.

I bet YOU know you’re trustworthy.  Since you are trustworthy, I’m betting it just drips off you when you meet people in person.  There’s an instant connection with clients who are right for you.  They quickly get a sense that they know you and if they are looking for someone like you soon, they are most likely to use that business card you gave them.

The challenge comes when you need to convince someone in visuals and writing that you are trustworthy.  Think about your website, brochures, business cards and all the other printed marketing materials you have in the world.   Trustworthiness doesn’t drip off of the written word very easy.  The words “trust me” without inflection and presence mean nothing on a printed page.  How can you build trust in your marketing materials before you’ve ever met your prospective client?  Here are a few simple (not necessarily obvious) things you can look for to make sure you are building trust.

Differentiation - If you walked into a room filled only with dentists, would you know who to trust?  What if one of those dentists offered you something you’d never thought of or heard a dentist offer before?  Would you trust THAT dentist?  When people are determining who to buy from, they are most likely to go with the professional who stands out and offers something different.  There’s an instant level of trust built in…IF your differentiation is good.

Good differentiation is not something that was given to you by someone else.  Good differentiation comes from inside you.  Now, you may not be able to see it so you may need some help pulling it out.  When you differentiate based on something authentic to you, then you stand out even more and people can tell it’s genuine.  If you try to force  a differentiation that just “sounds good” it has no meaning and as the business owner, you are going to have a hard time explaining it.  When differentiation comes from who you are something specific to that, then it’s easy for you to explain it, talk about it and help people understand it.  Again, instant trust.

Brand Consistency - Do you use the same tag line everywhere?  Is your logo the same everywhere?  Are you using the same font and font color in all your marketing materials?  Is your branding consistent no matter where you place your marketing?  Is your overall message being conveyed the same in your printed materials and in person?  Do you use the same basic messaging all the time or are you constantly changing it?  Look closely at every detail.  Where can you improve your consistency?

Follow-Through and Setting Expectations - This is a biggie that I see missed a lot, especially in online marketing.  When you make a promise follow through on it, even if it’s just a little freebie report.  Make sure it matches what you promised it would be.  Make sure everyone can easily retrieve it.  If you change it, then let people know about that.

I have a report about Twitter that is completely outdated on the technology.  I charged for this report when I first put it out into the world, but because it’s outdated, I offer it for free now.  On the page where I offer this free report, I have made it VERY clear that the technology is a bit outdated.  That way they know what to expect.  Just setting this one little expectation goes a long way towards gaining trust.

If you promise to e-mail in 24 hours after your potential client fills in an automated form.  Make sure you know that automated form promises this kind of turn around.  Don’t forget!  That way, you can make sure to follow-through and get in contact with them quickly.  If you don’t want to promise 24 hours, then DON’T.  It’s up to you what promises you make.  Only make promises you know you can keep.

Transparency - With the invention of social networking, this term has gotten a little bit of extra use.  Be transparent.  Share your brilliant ideas, information you know will be helpful to people before they get to you, and make people think with your words.  First, PLEASE, check in with yourself.  Ask yourself; “Does sharing this promote the trustworthy expert my prospective clients need to meet?”

It’s almost as if your potential clients are vicariously getting in control by hiring someone who has what is needed to get what they want.  If you are consistent, follow-through, and share your brilliance with them, then trust is a natural outcome for all your marketing.

Kristen Beireis of Coaches’ Marketing Source helps coaches and other personal transformation professionals establish trust through marketing.  First, she establishes a foundation that’s rooted in your authentic differentiation. Then she follows up with solutions that bring consistency to everything that has your name on it — from your newsletter to your business card to your social media pages. And while she’s happy to teach you how to do all this yourself, many of her clients love the way her team reduces their workload and overwhelm.

Greater trust means a shorter sales cycle, more of the right clients, and the confidence that comes from knowing your sales and marketing are in integrity with who you are as a person.

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