Building Trust Before the First Conversation

In my business, I answers dozens of emails daily from potential customers that I’ve never had previous contact with. They may come to me by way of internet search or personal referral, but have never had an actual interaction with me beforehand.

Because of this, I am continually taken aback when people say, “I completely trust your judgement on my project.” After more than 8,000 projects for clients in more than 80 countries around the world, I’m still surprised every time I read that phrase. Why?

Well, probably because in my world, trust has to be earned. Even if we’ve met before, and get along well, I might not fully trust you. Now before you go into a deep psycho-analyzation of my “trust issues,” let me remind you that most people don’t trust others after one interaction, let alone BEFORE any interaction at all.

So, why do I receive messages everyday from people who already completely trust me to create content that represents them in the marketplace?

After some thought, I realized that the inherent trust I receive from customers has a lot to do with how I present and market myself and my business. They’re seeing something in me that makes them comfortable…something that puts their mind at ease…something that assures them of my ability and desire to work with their best interests in mind.

I believe it’s a combination of many things that create this inherent trust. Though not all of these things were always done intentionally on my part to gain trust, they are what I believe to be the key ingredients to the secret sauce.

  1. Put former clients at your front door. The best way to build trust with a potential customer is to introduce them to someone who has experience working with you. Their honesty and unbiased perspective is the most valuable piece of marketing your will ever have. Thus, they should be positioned at your front door so everyone who enters hears from them first.
  2. Don’t just put your name on your product, put your face on it! When potential customers see a person willing to put their entire personality, reputation, heart and soul into something, it will be easy for them to trust you. Vulnerability removes barriers and builds bridges.
  3. Under promise, and over deliver. We’ve all heard outrageous claims from a person trying to sell something. That’s why most of us don’t trust salespeople. We believe they will say ANYTHING to make the sale. On the contrary, if your claims are realistic but solid, more people will believe in your ability to deliver. Then, if you’re able to go beyond those expectations, you will have created a bank of trust that makes all future interaction easier. This is how you create a repeat customer and grow through referrals.

The truth is, you need at least a basic level of trust to succeed in business (and life), but if you want to build a business that lasts and grow a customer base that will support your work, you need to figure out how to build trust with your clientele before the first conversation.

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