As every good salesman knows, trust is earned by several factors; knowledge, experience and communication are paramount in building strong relationships.
The Internet and notably communication through social marketing outlets has increased the number of people who can directly communicate with you and build trust. Time and time again, its proven that you will take and trust advise and the knowledge of a close friend over that of the local newspaper or magazine … and now the number of close friends that are in your online circle has increased significantly, as such, your trust circle is exponentially larger.
The result is that generally consumers have as much or more information, and actual “hands on” type information at their disposal at the time of purchase … this is contrary to everything we previously knew about how to build a business.
Its interesting to note that it has been proven, that people will place their faith in someone they do not know and take the advise of an online “peer group” through comments and reviews, and in fact make a purchase based on those decisions. As James Surowiecki wrote, “The online trust economy is a powerful force that favours the crowd over companies.”
The basic lesson in dealing with this new trust economy is that its imperative to you as a marketer that information, about your product or service is available on your website, comments and commentaries, referrals all should be available to both your customers and your prospects. As a salesman builds trust, you must … provide knowledge about your products, and let your customers share their experiences and ensure that all partners can communicate using that knowledge and experience.
Michael Bickerton, Raven5, April 2010