Trust is a foundational principle that transcends all industries and markets. Principles have no beginning and no end.
If you were to ask someone if Facebook or Google are going to be fundamental parts of their business’s success in 25 years, they will say they don’t really know.
However, if you ask someone if trust will be a fundamental part of their business’s success, they will say, absolutely.
Facebook is a platform, a tool. Tools come and go as markets change.
Even Google, which we’ve seen become so firmly cemented at the top of the search engine marketplace, is just a tool.
Trust is a timeless principle.
It has been vital to success for centuries and will continue to be for centuries more. When we are talking about success on a platform — when we talk about ranking well in Google searches or having a strong Facebook presence — we’re really talking about trust.
Do buyers trust what you’re saying? Do they trust your expertise?
Businesses tend to ask themselves: What content can we produce to rank well in searches?
But what they really are saying is this: What content can we produce to build trust in order to rank well in searches?
It’s so easy to use the shorthand version, but the more we do, the more we forget about the full question we’re asking. We forget that trust is the true currency of business.
If people don’t trust you, they won’t feel like you have their best interest in mind or that you will actually deliver on your promises. They won’t trust you to solve their problems.
To put it simply, if people don’t trust you, they won’t want to buy from you.
The power of first impressions
Because recovering trust is more difficult than building trust from a neutral starting point, first impressions are crucial.
When customers find you online, they immediately expect your sales pitch.
Imagine you walk onto a car dealership lot and a salesman comes striding out. Do you expect that salesman to have your best interests at heart, or are you anticipating the whole “Have I got the perfect car for you” routine?
Similarly, site visitors are expecting your bias, but you can disarm them by pointedly showing neutrality. Rather than producing content about “Why HubSpot is right for you,” try, “Is HubSpot the right fit for you?” One shows bias, one does not.
We tell ourselves that the buyer doesn’t really want to know how we feel about a product because we’re the ones that are selling it.
If that were true, the buyer would never ask us questions. They’re still holding out a little bit of hope that we might be real and honest with them.
Unfortunately, they’re usually disappointed.
With that in mind, let’s focus on how we can build trust with our audience.
Companies like Uber and Zappos have turned well-established industries upside down.
Twenty years ago, no one would want to buy a pair of shoes without trying them on first. What if they don’t fit? Well, Zappos looked at that, built a customer-centered return policy, and alleviated that pain point.
People hated getting into a cab not knowing how much their journey would cost them. Uber built a model to solve for it.
Companies that are not selling the way people want to buy are going to find themselves getting left behind.
The companies that are willing to sell the way people want to buy will win business — and build trust.
It’s easy to take things personally and get defensive, or to blame the customer for being difficult, but there’s a good chance that the customer is at least partially right.
If you get a negative review online, maybe a dozen other people are thinking the exact same thing but didn’t take the time to write it down.
But if you can listen to your customers, if you can own your past missteps and shortcomings, it can go a long way toward building trust in the marketplace.
To me, the best example of this in the past decade is Domino’s Pizza. With slumping sales and mounting customer complaints, Domino’s launched a campaign that took full ownership of the situation.
With the Oh Yes We Did campaign, Domino’s acknowledged its critics and used their feedback to chart a new course.
This model can be followed in every single industry. If your business has negative reviews — and customers recognize this — you can say, “You know what, those bad reviews helped us identify some weak areas, and here’s what we’ve done to improve.”
That way, in one swift motion you have validated your past customers and built trust with your future customers.
Why video builds trust fastest
For thousands of years, people have been saying that seeing is believing.
Today, video is easier to produce than ever before, and it truly allows your prospects to see inside your company.