People have an underlying, ongoing anxiety and angst about nearly everything – from the news they watch, the car they drive, and the food they eat, to virtually everybody they get services and products from.
In this environment, trust is a huge advantage that few advertisers, marketers, or sales professionals focus on. Instead, they drift to cute advertising, low prices and discounting. This is why trust-based marketing can be such a powerful tool.
You’ll leave your cluttered and competitive marketing environment and appear uniquely attractive.
Even mundane purchases are affected by trust. My wife and I trust home grown produce and we distrust foreign-grown food. But why? I possess no empirical evidence that the home grown produce is safer. I’ve done no research, can’t recall seeing any news reports and know of no information to suggest I have reason to distrust blueberries from Argentina or tomatoes from Mexico.
If ‘Who do you trust?’ plays a part in many rather mundane buying decisions, imagine how significant it may be for somebody contemplating a more significant purchase.
How does trust work?
My wife and I eat unknown quantities of foreign-grown produce, seafood and meat in restaurants, but refuse to buy it at the supermarket. Is that rational? Of course not. A big breakthrough in your approach to trust-based marketing will be forcing yourself away from rational, logical thought about why your customers would or should trust you.
Instead, if you can ‘decode’ how they really process you and the ideas, information and propositions you present, you’ll find yourself holding a new key to the vault.
One of the main sources of trust is ‘pass along’. You trust somebody because somebody you trust trusts him.
Targeted investors handed their money over to Bernie Madoff and his epic Ponzi scheme voluntarily. And most who did so were sophisticated and wealthy individuals, managers of family fortunes, and paid administrators of universities’ investment portfolios and pensions. All had access to competent financial, tax and legal advisors.
None could explain exactly what Bernie did with their money or how he consistently generated above-par returns. Trusting Madoff was irrational, so why did so many who should have known better? Because someone who they knew and trusted, trusted him.
Yes, he served on the board of the Nasdaq stock exchange and had offices and trappings of wealth manufactured with the stolen money. But at the core, Bernie perpetuated his scam thanks to passed-along trust.
Relying on peers
This reveals something very powerful about selling inside the fortress walls of a closed community like the very wealthy. Their fortress walls are their reliance on peer-provided information. They trust each other and distrust all others.
But once the fortress is penetrated, with just one insider inhabitant, it’s no longer a safeguard for the other inhabitants.
In a small, clannish industry or segment of an industry, you only need the trust of one or a few well-known members, and all others’ defenses against you disappear.
And the harder it is to gain the trust of anyone in such a community, the more viral it becomes, and the more valuable its viral nature. This is why it is so worthwhile to gain the trust of key centres of influence within any target group in which you seek to develop a clientele, and why it is worthwhile to invest in securing that trust.