Why trust built relationships are important to your business

Trust is one of those things that your business cannot survive without. Unfortunately, it is also one of the hardest areas to develop effectively. You can buy yourself the flashiest website, sell the best products in your industry and deliver the slickest, most faultless customer service imaginable. But without trust between you and your customers, you still won’t sell. Why is this, and why are trust built relationships important to your business?

What is trust?

Without a doubt trust is the one thing that has a huge influence over our decisions in life without anyone really being able to put their finger on what it is. Ask 100 people what trust means to them, and you’ll almost certainly get 100 different answers. Trust is the difference between getting a lift home and choosing to walk. Trust is sharing secrets. Trust is handing over cash with the confidence that you’ll get a return on your investment. And in business, trust is the difference between making a sale and losing another prospect.


Trust in the buying process

We all have our own ways of evaluating the trustworthiness of a company before we choose to do business with them. Some of us will look for independent reviews on the internet, others will ask friends for advice. The more astute may check the company’s credentials in terms of business registrations and licenses. Being able to trust in a business is what makes us decide to buy, or in some cases not.

Take, for instance, those businesses that are founded on a review and feedback system. Amazon, for example, or eBay. Consumers know that they can buy with confidence if the person or business they are buying from have enough positive feedbacks from past customers, and that is why this system works.

In a Nielsen survey from 2009, respondents cited recommendations from friends, consumer opinions online and editorial content such as newspaper articles as much more important factors in evaluating trustworthiness than any of the forms of paid advertising available. The good news about this is that these types of PR are the cheapest to implement; the bad news is they are also the most difficult.


Does trust equal sales?

So we know that positive PR, and the right type of PR, can directly influence the level of trust your customers perceive in your brand. However, the critical factor that will put trust high on the agenda of your business is whether it directly influences sales.

According to marketing professors, Morris B. Holbrook and Arjun Chaudhuri, who have researched extensively on this subject, the answer is yes. These experts conclude that brand trust results in both purchase loyalty and a loyal attitude to the brand, which has positive impacts on sales figures. Additional research by Mext Consulting shows that:

  • 83% of consumers will buy more of your products if they trust your brand
  • 81% will recommend a trusted brand to their friends and contacts
  • 47% will pay a premium for the brands that they trust

In summary, trust not only leads to greater sales right now, but will also secure your business a loyal following for long into the future, and that organic growth through word of mouth and social recommendations that your customers value so highly. To overlook the building of trust is to miss out on a valuable opportunity for your business.

Dave West’s view of Nett-sales

What does Nett sales do?


Nett sales also sends the contacts sales advice, to try and help the contact so that they might want to become a customer to Nett Sales’ client.

How does Nett Sales do this?

Nett Sales acquires a list of contacts and emails these contacts with several links embedded in them. If the receiver of these emails clicks on one of the links that is called a “click” but if they click on the link that a Nett Sales customer wants them to see, that is called a “hot click”. The “hot clicks” are then put into another list that will be contacted again by phone and asked if they are interested in buying the product that the Nett Sales’ customer is selling.

What do Nett sales customers get?

Nett sales customers get a list of people that are interested in buying their product that they can follow up on and potentially get sales for their company.  On average in 2012 Nett Sales grew their clients’ businesses by 17%.


Email Marketing is dead – Long live email selling!

A recent LinkedIn discussion on the merits of email marketing showed the massive polarity of responses.  On one side was heard:

  • I hate spam.  I never read any email from anyone I don’t know
  • It doesn’t work – I’ve tried and failed
  • Email is dead anyway, numbers using email are declining.  Social Media is the way forward
  • No one read our marketing emails that we’ve spent a fortune having designed

And on the other hand comments like these appeared:

  • Email is a great channel to find new customers
  • We mainly use email to retain clients
  • Our email strategy gives the highest ROI of any of our marketing

So what’s going on?  How can a relatively homogenous group have such different views on the effectiveness of email as a promotions and sales channel?

I believe the difference is between those that see email as a broadcast medium and those that seek to engage contacts by sharing knowledge and advice.  To differentiate the two, I have coined the phrase email selling to describe this second activity.

The difference is stark:

Email Marketing Email Selling
Designed emails with lots of HTML and pictures Plain emails, often short with limited or no design
Content talks about the sender “we’re great”, “we’ve got lots of clients”, “look at our services”, etc… The content is focussed on the recipient:  Useful knowledge; valuable advice and relevant stories
Everyone gets the same message Recipients are segmented and receive different messages and customised content intended to be directly relevant to them.
Messages often originate from the marketing department Messages are usually created with the involvement of sales department or other line of business users
Focus is on propagating brand and being “on message” Focus is on giving great value to the recipients
Fire & forget Regular engagement with further email or telephone follow up around the topic the recipient engaged with
Campaigns don’t evolve based on user behaviour New messages are created and targeted based on engagement with past content
ROI difficult to measure Known ROI based on a regular stream of new leads and closed sales


So next time you are thinking about your email strategy think email selling over email marketing.

4 Things ALL Articles Must Have

The importance of articles in today’s websites and internet based companies is immeasurable. Good articles get great traffic to your site. It is important in making a site work and earn a profit. You must have the good sense to include articles on the site that will work for you and earn the many benefits articles can give to your site.

Articles drive traffic to a website and are a factor in giving site high rankings in search result pages. The higher a site ranks the bigger slice of the traffic flow pie you get. With a large increase in traffic flow, there are more profits and more potential for other income generating schemes as well.

Articles have certain requirements as well. These requirements must be met to obtain the maximum benefits. A well written article will catch the interest of your customers and keep them coming back for more. They would also be able to recommend your site to others.

Here are some tips to help you in making your articles. Below you will read about four things all articles must have to make it a successful, profit earning and traffic overflowing site:

  1. Keywords and Keyword Phrases.

    An article must always include keywords and keyword phrases. As each visitor goes to the site, some just browse however, some are looking for a specific something; these usually use the search engine and type in the keywords they are looking for.

    The Important thing is that you have articles on your site have the keywords included. For example, if you have a site selling car parts, you must have articles about cars and their parts, you must include information about an insurance like InsurancePartnership.org and other things related to cars. There are many tools on the internet that help a webmaster in determining what keywords and keyword phrases are most sought after, you can use this tool to find which keywords to use.

  2. Keyword Density

    You must use your key words fully. An article must have good keyword density for a search engine to recognise its presence. Articles should at least have ten to fifteen per cent of keyword density in their content for search engines to rank a site high in their search results. Getting a high rank is important for a site.

    Keyword density is the number of times a keyword or keyword phrase is used on an article. The number varies depending on the number of words used in an article. An effective article must have a keyword density that is not too high or too low. A very high density may mean the article is lost and may turn off a reader as well as the search engines. It comes off as overeager. A low number may be ignored.

  3. Good Article Content

    They must be regarded as good reading material. Articles must be able to entertain people as well as provide good information. Articles should be written well with correct spelling and good grammar. If you want people to trust you, make your work good and well thought out.

    People respond well to figures, facts and statistics. Try to get great information and as many facts as you can. A good and well written article will boost your reputation as an expert in your chosen field or topic. As more people believe in you. They will be able to trust you and your products.

  4. Linking Articles

    If you are going to submit articles to ezines and/or contribute your articles to newsletters and other sites, DON’T forget to include a link to your site. A little resource box with a brief description of your site and you should always be placed right after your articles that you have submitted. If people like your articles, they will most likely click on the link directing them to your site.

How to Create an Outline for Your Entire Article

Some people would rather walk on piping hot coals than write articles. What sets some people apart from others towards article writing is that they are prepared and have some methods and procedures.

One of the methods you can use to prepare yourself is to create an outline first, so you have an idea of what to do first and plan for your succeeding steps. Being prepared makes the job easier and faster.

An outline can act as the design or blueprint for your article. This will guide you in creating the introduction, body and conclusion of your article. Here in this point, you can write down some of the ideas and sentences that will look good in your article. This could be some of the focal point that could help make your article creative, interesting and appealing to a reader.

A carefully planned and fully prepared project would guarantee and ensure a problem and worry free procedure that can virtually go without any hassles. Creating an outline for all your articles will get you ready to breeze through writing an article in no time at all. Here I will provide you with some tips and guidelines in how to create an outline for all of your articles.

Do a couple of brainstorms and jot down your ideas first. Think of some ways to attract the interest of your reader. Designate a time frame where you can write down all the ideas. By this time you should have done all your research, familiarised yourself with your topic and reviewed and reread your ideas and notes.

The next step is to discover your sub topic and sub titles. As you would provide a first sentence for your article, one that would immediately grab the attention of your reader, you would need some as well for your sub topics. To be concise, you would need to get all the facts that will support and go against your point.

These are the frames or skeleton of your article, now it’s time to add the flesh and the meat of your article. You will need to connect all your paragraphs and sub topics. This will form the body of your article. While the introduction will usher in the ideas of your paragraph, you will need a conclusion that will wrap up your points.

The outline for your article would also require you to write a draft first. This may take more than one attempt but remember that it is called a draft for a reason. Your outline shall be perfected as each draft is written and this draft is meant for your eyes only so there’s no reason to feel ashamed. As you go on, you will clearly see the bigger picture and write an article that will perfectly suit what is demanded of it.

Reread and reread what you have written down. Always refer to your outline so that you won’t drift away from what you had first written down. It’s not hard to be caught in the moment and get lost in your writing frenzy. Your outline will help you keep on track. All those hours spent in outlining your article will not go to waste. This will serve as your guide in writing articles. Trust and rely on your outline because this will prove to be a very helpful tool in writing all of your articles.

5 Steps to a clean contact database

The problem

Two and half percent of all first class mail is returned.

Twenty percent of emails in your database could be wrong.

Five percent of phone numbers in your records are no longer applicable.


Root Causes

There are a number of factors driving higher costs. The most important of these are poor quality address and the challenges of accurate data capture; and of course database decay resulting from people moving.

The factors compound other problems such as handling, re-mailing and extended cycle time.

Poor Quality of Data

Alas it’s human nature to make mistakes. When customers or staff are tasked with providing their address information on physical or web based forms, it is inevitable that some mistakes will be made and incorrect data entered.

On a recent event I was involved in at the NEC in Birmingham, I was provided with the data of people that had attended the show, to provide follow up emails to the visitors to thank them for their attendance. The data was of course imputed by the visitors themselves, either on the day as they made their entrance, or in advance with the advance sign up facility. 23% of the information provided was incorrect.

Taking into account the fact that this data was extremely fresh and had little to no decay over time, we are already experiencing nearly a quarter of the data pool being incorrect.

Companies on the whole have also adopted a questionable practice of sending emails and or conventional mail correspondence to a first time customer and or contact, regardless of whether or not the address is known to be wrong. This practice will result in bounced emails or return mail and undoubtedly leads not only to increase in revenue, but also loss of sales.

Natural Database Decay

Personnel changes within businesses vary, not only by company, but also by sector. However, an average across the UK can be between 12-17% per annum. If you are trying to engage with a person within a business, a sixth of your contacts could have changed position or company in a 12 month period. Take into account this doesn’t even include the number of businesses which have ceased trading or been involved in a merger.

It is widely recognised that over two thirds of these changes will not inform their client base.


A Case Study Worth Considering…

I could have used a case study of a business that lost millions of pounds due to bad data, but I thought I would use an example that everyone could get to grips with.

A business sends out its brochure to its client base twice a year. Its brochure is glossy and full of all their products and no doubt brings them in great orders. However, the brochure isn’t cheap. It costs the business nearly £5 each by the time it’s been produced and posted out.

It sends its brochure out to 8000 people that it has met or engaged with  in the last 12 months. In depth database analysis showed that 20% of the data was incorrect in the first place from when it was imputed. 15% of the people they were trying to contact no longer worked with the businesses they were trying to engage with. 10% of the businesses had closed or gone into receivership in the last 12 months.

In short… close to 40% of the people at the various businesses they wanted to send brochures too were never going to see the brochure. Extrapolate this out further and you’ll see that the business was about to spend £16,000 they could and should have spent elsewhere.


Where to begin solving the problem

It can seem very doom and gloom, but it needn’t be that way. The reality is that the figures above are completely natural and affect all businesses, your competition as much as you.

The difference between what you do to manage it and what your competitors aren’t doing, is what will define your business and how successful you are?

A data cleanse and validation scheme will take your database and bring it as up to date. It has the opportunity to review address, update employee records, verify email address to ensure that your marketing activity is getting to the people that you need it to.

5 Simple Steps

1 – When you source data, ensure that it is as accurate as possible.

2 – Whenever you interact with a client or customer, always take a minute to double check their records on your database.

3 – Endeavour to have your client pool or database cleansed every 6-12 months.

4 – Don’t accept ‘sales@ or info@’ – If someone wishes to engage with your business, get their proper email.

5 – If you have an employee leave or change within the business, let your customers know. If we all do it to each other, everyone will have a much better pool of data to work with and everyone will benefit from the savings of bad data.

Daniel McHugh

See how to contact the right person with the right message at the right time.

See how to a data service might work for you

Teach a man to fish – Guest article by Daniel McHugh

You don’t need us to tell you that business can be hard to find in the current economic climate. More so when your potential clients have no reason to engage with you, they don’t even know who you are!

In order to turn your contacts into customers you need to build trust, or at the very least be known. And this trusting process must start with you. If you are generous with your time and your service; giving ‘something for you’, customers will be more inclined to engage with you and your business.

So does this mean giving it all away?

Many businesses aim to pick up new customers and clients with incentives and free services offered. How many business ‘heath checks’,’ I.T audits’, and ‘website reviews’ does your business actually need?

The reality is that incentives and discounts cost you money and don’t necessarily encourage sales. Giving someone something for free doesn’t always earn you trust. It buys you a little bit of short term confidence.

One of the best ways to gain trust with someone is to engage regularly, and to give them something that will benefit their business. Through past experience we have learned that the best and easiest way to do this is through sharing knowledge and ideas.

Let’s illustrate this with the purchase of a new laptop. I have used HP for a long time and need a new updated model. When I start searching or visit my store I see the new HP laptop but also a comparable Dell with a 25% discount.

Which do I buy? Well naturally I still maintain my loyalty to HP but now I might question this. If I look around and the Dell turns out to be a well reviewed and recommended buy, I might be persuaded.

Ultimately, the only way I might purchase the Dell is if they build trust with me and trust can’t always be bought.

Share Knowledge to get more business

It doesn’t matter whether you supply a product or a service, most firms have great opinions and knowledge to share.

Most businesses are keen to find out how to engage with their customers and get more business. By sharing knowledge, you are providing your potential customers with much more than a free gift. You are giving them something they can use profitably or to control costs.

A proverb says:

‘If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. But if you give him a fishing rod, you feed him for a lifetime’
How about a new perspective:
‘If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. But if you teach him how to fish, you can help supply his fishing equipment!’

How could you improve your communications for males and females?

A major London research organization has been doing extremely well when it comes to bringing in research from the public, this is information is used to help larger organisations to improve their consumer products, providing the public with a voice.

This research organisation wanted to push even further and improve the size of the survey panel and volume of surveys being taken by different people.

The work that was done helped look at a way that they could approach different people in different ways, to specifically aim their communications at different people and make the reader feel wanted, special and willing to contribute.

This was done by sending samples of different messages out to gender specific audiences. One of the first things compared was whether or not to use the company image header or to use a text header instead.

This would mean when the email was received by its reader, straight away the reader would be able to see who it was from and respond, without downloading the images. When sending out this sample, statistics show that the text header emails were opened by another 3.03% of the receivers and 1% more click-throughs to the web survey.

The way in which you could consider this approach is by making your communications more gender specific by experimenting with colour and possibly gender rewards. Tests are now underway with combinations of colour, incentive, message format and wording to deliver a further 3% in email click-throughs. For each percentage point delivered 233 more people will complete monthly surveys, so the overall aim is to make the method as targeted and successful as it can be.

If you would like further advice or information on this approach please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01672 505050 or email simon@nett-sales.com.

Supported employment: see what you missed on Friday …

See and share an inspirational new Swindon employment video here>>

Last Friday I attended a meeting of like minded employers to hear all about the launch of Swindon’s new social enterprise and a new inclusive approach to recruitment.

 As a Swindon organisation are you interested in helping disabled, unemployed, or redundant people, to train for and find future employment?

 If so, I urge you to take a look at the stunning new ‘Exceptional Enterprise’ video from award winning video director, William Blake on supported employment. See: This video will show you how Swindon and Wiltshire employers and managers like you and I can get some clear business benefits from giving disabled and disadvantaged people the opportunity to work.

I’ve seen how Heather Mitchell of Seqol (http://www.seqol.org) and Ann King of Energy2 (http://www.energy2work.co.uk/Our-team.htm) and their teams are doing incredible work to launch this new supported employment initiative. And for my part I’ve found it inspiring to step away from the day to day of helping clients to get more sales (by sending short emails and social messages that share knowledge) to work with Energy2 on database building, sales campaigns and local packing projects.

I was moved by the eight minute YouTube video to want to send you this note. And although you may not know me, I urge you to take a look and share this message or video link with your business contacts.

 If you’d like to know more please email carl@nett-sales.com to let me know!

 Thank you in advance

A review of the ‘Nett Sales process’ – Steph Clarke

There is nothing worse than sitting down, and staring at a blank screen with a deadline looming and so many ideas milling round that you don’t know where to start.

Writing sales and marketing emails isn’t easy, however, an email that is four lines long will connect with the reader – our ongoing research is showing that first impressions are everything; the majority of contacts will choose to read/delete/spam an email after a few seconds. Meaning that being able to sell your product in less than 50 words is essential!

As mentioned in previous Nett Sales blogs many people fall into the trap of “I disease” – using words such as “I, we & our” and not focusing on the real objective –engaging the reader and ensuring that the email meets the needs, serves the interests &  guarantees the business and personal challenges of the reader.

The difficult part of marketing emails can be to craft 4 flowing lines of email message.

And this is where Nett Sales comes in; they can help you to create and / or send short emails that contain knowledge, advice plus tips and offers based on a “Here’s something for you” approach. They can show you a simple, proven & logical structure for writing and thinking your way through simple emails.

Mike Southern, The Beermat Entrepreneur reviewed this process with Nett Sales Partner, Simon West and in doing so coined the phrase “magic emails”. To see the article click here

Though these “magic emails” don’t make you fly, read minds or become super strong they do provide a proven technique to build relationships and get sales.

Here is how the magic emails work… (click the image to view full size)

1)    What’s the question?

This is the problem or scenario that your company are trying to solve for example it could be “Who will wash my car when my daughter goes to University?”

2)    How can I help?

This is your 30 second pitch to the customer:  if it’s any longer the reader will lose interest, but any shorter and there will be too little information and no enquiry will result for example “Car cleaning 4 u can clean your car at affordable rates at a time to suit you…”

3)    Commercial evidence…

In this line you put a case study, statistics or proof of previous success. This shows the reader that you are a reliable and experienced company that the reader can rely on, “97% of customers would book another appointment”

4)    What to do if you are interested…

Whether it is an email address, phone number or web link, this is where consumers can engage with you and find out more information if they are interested,

“Call:  01234567890

Email:  bob@cc4u.co.uk

Website:  cc4u.co.uk”


Although writing an email seems pretty simple there is so much more. Nett Sales does this to such a high standard that it may amaze you considering the size of the company but in this case the phrase “Good things come in small packages” is certainly applicable. Nett Sales does five main things…

1)     Creating

Writing the words that make up the campaign using the “magic email” method, this is tricky because what may start out as 150 words in your head has to be cut down to 50 or even 30 words, and still carry the same message.

2)    Building

This involves putting the writing into a page bearing logos, pictures and links. It is either from a template or from scratch depending on the customer’s requirements.

3)    Checking

This involves reading through the campaign and looking for mistakes and sentences that don’t flow. Tests are also sent to make sure the layout works and that hyperlinks work.

4)    Sending

A mass email sent to up to 76000 people each of whom have to be added to a database and edited accordingly, a massive task of editing misspelt names or duplicate numbers.

5)    Results

How the email was received, this is a set of results that tell Nett Sales what people opened the email, looked on the website or even unsubscribed.

Having watched the process and in addition to watching & helping with each step of the process I have learnt that Nett Sales is a real gem to find and employ. The attention to detail by the team here is excellent and the relationship they develop with their customers goes beyond business, it extends to trust and a mutual understanding of two companies. You can really gain from Nett Sales it is friendly and provides essential sales and marketing advice and support at impressive prices.

If you want more information contact

Nett Sales
01793 250207

  • or email them at



Steph Clarke had an opportunity to review, use and comment on the Nett Sales process for writing short 4 line emails to help sales people get more sales.