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.