Trust is a central factor when considering where to buy a product or service, especially with large purchase decisions. When you are in need of a product or service, you first think of anyone you know who offers the service, then you probably ask your friends or family for recommendations. A referral from a friend gives instant credibility to a product or service and the trust inherent in this credibility is what makes a referral so powerful. However, in many cases, your circle of friends might not have a suggestion for you. In these instances, you probably target the first brand that comes to mind. Most likely, you give added weight to any service providers or sales reps who you view as experts in their field since this label of "expert" brings with it a level of trust.
If this is how you make your own purchase decisions, wouldn't it make sense to keep yourself top of mind with potential customers as an expert in your field? Maybe the label of expert seems intimidating; maybe you don't think you qualify for this designation. But if you are a professional of virtually any kind, you could most likely be considered an expert in your field. The important thing is that others perceive you this way. You need to start by establishing credibility with potential customers. You can do this by posting testimonials on your website and listing any endorsements you may have, especially from recognizable organizations. If you are accredited by the Better Business Bureau, make sure to include their logo on your site. If you are a member of any industry or trade associations, display their logo. If you or your product has been featured by any media channels, include their logo or a link to the article/video.
All of these things will help to build credibility, but the best way to be viewed as an expert is by providing useful, "expert" information. By sharing your knowledge, others will come to trust you. Even if someone isn't currently in the market for your product or service, by staying engaged with them and offering your expertise, you will be the first brand that they think of when they do need what you're selling. You can accomplish this with an informative email (or print) newsletter, thoughtful blog posts, an engaging online video or podcast, an educational e-book or frequent tweets or Facebook updates with useful advice.
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