A Question of Trust

Back in January, I sent an email to 200 people asking them to pay me £200. 

Don’t worry. It wasn’t a scam. I could never claim to be a Nigerian prince. It was an exclusive pre-sale for the copywriting conference I co-host, Creative North.

We didn’t tell people who was speaking. We didn’t tell them what the theme was. We just said “We’re putting a conference on in June, if you pay us £200 now, you can get your tickets before they’re on general sale.”

And people did. Before they knew we’d lined up speakers from Australia, Canada and the UK. Before they knew we had the chairman of Ogilvy UK and a world-famous author, they paid us their hard-earned money.

An optimist would decide that was because Ben, Martin and I are such great copywriters. We can get people to hand over £200 just by asking nicely.

A pessimist might wonder if it’s because people are so gullible that they’ll give you money out of their pocket if you just ask nicely. 

As a realist, I know what the answer really is. It’s all a question of trust.

People Buy From People They Trust

I missed out an important bit of information about that email in service of hooking you into reading this blog post. Sorry.

Here it is. 

We didn’t send the email to 200 random people out of the phone book. We sent it to 200 people who attended last year’s conference. Who saw that we knew what we were doing, that we could attract great speakers, and that they would get great value for money.

People who trusted us. 

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in – whether you’re fitting kitchens, managing company accounts, or pulling teeth. If the people you’re selling to already trust you, you’re on to a winner. 

That’s one of the reasons it’s easier to sell to people who’ve bought from you before, compared to building a whole new customer relationship.

But very few companies survive by doing the same business with the same clients over and over and over again. And even fewer actually grow.

So how do you build trust with people who’ve never worked with you?

Social Proof – Three Shortcuts to Building Trust

People are social animals. That doesn’t just mean we like chatting to each other.

It means we learn from each other too. If someone has a bad experience, we make a mental note to ourselves to avoid it. Something like “don’t do what Andrew’s just done and walk straight into that plate glass window in front of a pub full of people.”

And if someone has a good experience, we’ll make a mental note to try it for ourselves. Like “I’ll try that TV show that Ben recommended.”

It’s called social proof. The idea that we’ll have the same experience as someone else.

It’s something your business can embrace to start building trust with people who’d otherwise have no reason to trust you. 

Here are three quick ways to get started:

One: Case Studies

It’s not enough to tell your potential new customer that you’ve done good work for people. After all, until you’ve built that trust, they’ve no reason to believe you!

A case study lets you outline exactly what you’ve done for a client, why you chose to do what you did, and the outcomes of your help. 

A handful of case studies on your website or in a brochure will show you know what you’re doing, and prove that you’re trustworthy. 

Two: Reviews

We’re more likely to choose products that have been recommended to us by a friend. Even those boring people at parties who claim “advertising just doesn’t work on me” would have to admit they’re influenced by recommendations.

Impartial reviews are a great way of building up those recommendations. Especially if they’re on a third party website like TrustPilot, Freeindex or Google Reviews – sites where readers can be sure that you’re not able to influence what’s being said.

Asking your customers for reviews on these sites means you have a source of third party recommendations on hand at all times.

Three: Letting Customers Speak for You

Here’s a quick copywriting tip for you. Once you’ve got your reviews and testimonials, you don’t need to let them sit on TrustPilot gathering dust. You can use them to let your customers speak for you.

It’s something I’ve done here on the 603 Copywriting website. Take a look at the website copywriter page, and you’ll see that the second headline on that page isn’t something I wrote. It’s from a customer of mine called Adam. 

Instead of listening to me talk about my business, like some sort of corporate Tinder profile, you’re getting a trustworthy recommendation. 

It’s something we also used in marketing Creative North, when we asked one of our delegates to write an email explaining why she goes to conferences. That mail had a conversion rate a few percentage points higher than nearly every sales email that came from Ben, Martin or myself.

If you start embracing social proof for your business’ marketing, you’ll build more trust. And once people trust you, they’re more likely to buy from you.

Even if you email them out of the blue asking for £200. 

Creative North presents Collaboration at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre. Early Bird tickets are available at a £50 discount until 20/03/2020. Bring a collaborator and save an additional 10%.

Click here to buy your tickets for just £247.00

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