When you consider your career, one of the most important things you can realize is that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. People are wired for human connection, but with the necessary restrictions on face-to-face contact, your business may be missing out on opportunities to build trust with customers. The biggest challenge for your business right now is to nurture those human connections while still maintaining health protocols.
When you are trying to build trust with someone, you have to recognize that there is a trust threshold. Selling a simple or inexpensive product might not require a lot of trust to make the sale as the customer has a very low risk. When selling a more expensive or complicated product, however, the customer has a lot more risk, so more trust needs to be developed before they will make that purchase. To overcome that barrier, there are 5 things you should be doing right now.
1. Compromised Human Connection is Better Than None
If human connection is the main way to build trust then something is better than nothing, but right now you have to adapt your approach. You might be asking yourself how you will do business and get customers if you can’t meet face-to-face, but you have to realize that while there are new tools to use, the purpose and strategy has not changed. You might choose to implement things like paperless contracts, delivery, web lead forms, or Zoom, but first ask yourself how this alternate process keeps the sales cycle moving. If it doesn’t, evaluate why you are using it at all.
2. Bolster Value Where Human Connection is Already Established
You have to consider how you can maintain value for your current customers. For example, early on when things first started being restricted, yoga and fitness studios began offering classes online and through livestreams. While it might not be exactly the same as an in-person class, it adds value to current customers. Making these adjustments might not bring you in very many new customers, and it might not be as profitable, but you will be able to maintain the trust that you have already built.
3. Adapt Your Services
Right now, if you sell a complicated or expensive product or service, it will take a high degree of trust for a customer to purchase from you, and you might not be able to sell it right away. If that is the case, you might want to come up with some alternative products or services you could sell to get a foot in the door. Could you offer a trial or “light” version of a membership, or something like a design consultation? You might not make money on this right away, but the goal is to offer this to a prospective customer so you can build a relationship. Eventually, you’ll be able to up-sell them and extend that business relationship into a more lucrative product or service for your company.
4. Make the Most of Tasks That Yield Future Human Connection
Ask yourself if there are things you or your team could be doing that might produce long term results. One of these things is asking past customers for reviews, and a great way to gather these is to have a designated review page, which we cover in this article. You can also take those reviews and turn them into testimonials that you can add to your website.
You can also take this time to develop a marketing database through platforms like LinkedIn to find prospective customers and build a profile on them. From there, you can start booking appointments for a longer term. The appointment you book might not be for 30, 60, or 90 days, but start filling up your calendar right now with meetings.
One of the most valuable things you can do, but also the most time consuming, is to work on the SEO for your website. Google values quality, substantive content on your site themed around the targeted terms that people are searching for to find your business. As part of our membership at Cultivate, we have a service to sit down with you, help you find the 20 most important keywords you should be optimizing for, and advise you on how to create a content plan. This process doesn’t yield short-term results, but you’ll benefit in the long run.
5. Work as Hard as Humanly Possible
There might be times in your career where you can coast a little bit, but this is not one of those times. Selling is most effective face-to-face, and when you take that away your closing rate will be much less effective. In order to get the same amount of new business, you will need to put more effort into sales. You should also begin building relationships in new circles and developing your professional network, as well as consider how to deepen the connections you already have. Now is the time to consider joining a networking group, like the one at Cultivate, and to get in touch with your colleagues to check in.
Above all else, building trust with your customers is the most important thing you can do to support your business, and the best way to build trust is through human connection. The very real fears about COVID-19 might be making these connections more complicated, but these 5 steps should give your business a better understanding of how to nurture them nonetheless.