Tuesday, January 6, 2009

11 Secrets to Gaining and Fostering Online Trust

by Peter Wink

As an online publisher or affiliate, it is always
important to do everything you can to encourage repeat
business. After all, first-time customers are not only
the easiest to re-sell if you follow my tactics below--
they are the least expensive.

So how do you gain and foster trust in the eyes of your
new customer? How do you get them to spend their hard-
earned money with you again and again?

Over the years, I've identified 11 important keys to
gaining and fostering online trust with your customers.
By consistently keeping these tactics in mind when selling
online, you'll keep your customers happy and take your
sales to a new level.

#1: Establish a Track Record
This is the most effective way to build trust. Each
time you sell a product or make a promise, make sure
you do exactly what you say. Over a period of time,
your customers will feel comfortable with taking you
at your word without question.

If you breach this trust or betray them it will cost
you future sales in the long run. Establishing a track
record takes time, but it's well worth it.

#2: Follow Up
After making a sale, make sure to contact your customer
within 24 hours and find out if they're happy with your
product or service. People will respect you for
following up. This shows your customer that you care
about them.

#3: Keep in Touch
This is a long-term version of following up. After you
make a sale, keep in touch. Send an email asking the
customer how they liked your product. If possible, and
if you have their permission, call them as a follow up.
Find out if your product is performing as promised.
This builds a bond with your customers.

Usually when a merchant rips someone off or makes a shady
deal, they disappear. Many online merchants make returning
a product or getting customer service support almost
impossible. By staying in touch, you demonstrate a level
of integrity that'll put customers at ease when they do
future deals with you.

Here's another idea -- start a newsletter and, as long
as you have their permission, reach out to
your customers at least once a month, or send them an online
survey to fill out. You can send surveys using
Zoomerang, available at:

#4: Go the Extra Mile
I think Harvey McKay, author of Swim with the Sharks
without Being Eaten Alive, says it best, "Underpromise"
and "Overdeliver." This means doing more than what's
expected. Unfortunately, it's usually the other way around.
By doing more, you add more value. It's more than just
delivering quality--it's delivering a level of quality
and integrity that goes above and beyond the initial

When you go the extra mile and truly satisfy the other
party, you make yourself indispensable to them. An
example would be sending a special email every once in
a while to all your customers with an article or tip
relating to your product (just make sure you have their
permission first). This will not go unnoticed.

#5: Show Empathy
Most prospective customers are not just poor decision
makers--they're terrible. They may be terrified to buy
online or spend a certain amount of money. Understand
this is a weakness and help them. Be willing to assist
customers in making a decision. Give them an outstanding
no-questions-asked promise. Provide multiple testimonials.
Provide an 800# where customers can call if they have
questions. Put yourself in your prospective customers'
shoes and think like they do.

#6: Be Trusting of Others
This is very tricky during your first sale. Don't be
afraid to give your customers a better-than-average
money-back promise, and highlight that fact. Most
customers are honest and will not keep your product
while asking for a refund. It may happen occasionally,
but it is the exception, not the rule. Most people
have good intentions.

#7: Admit When You're Wrong
Sometimes you may sell a product that, for whatever
reason, does not deliver as promised. For instance,
your product may contain audio or video files that
do not work as planned. It happens!

If you want to build trust, proactively admit when
you've made a mistake and then do everything you
can to quickly correct it. By admitting you're wrong,
you show you're trustworthy. Your customer knows that
when you admit to being wrong (especially if you're
proactive), you're demonstrating a high level of
honesty and integrity. Just make sure to do it quickly!

#8: Be a Team Player
Approach every sale as if you and your customer are on
the same team. Keep in mind that the goal of every deal
is to find a winning solution for everyone. You make a
sale by solving someone's problem, and they provide you
payment in exchange. A sense of teamwork builds
friendship and camaraderie.

#9: Communicate Clearly
To build trust with customers, you must be clear,
articulate, and precise every time you communicate.
If you're not clear, or seem to be hiding information,
customers will automatically think you have a hidden
agenda and start to distrust you and/or your organization.

#10: Be Fair with Everyone
Being fair means treating people equally. Have a genuine
respect for everyone you sell to. All things being equal,
never give a special discount to one person and not another.
You never know which customers will turn out to be the most
profitable in the long run, so it's best to treat everyone
as if they were your top customer.

#11: Walk Your Talk
Stand behind what you say, do, buy, and sell. If you say
something, mean it. If you sell something, use it. If
you do something, do it with the highest level of integrity.

Be genuine about who you are and never misrepresent yourself
or your product. If you tell your customers that a product
will do something, make sure it does. If you tell a customer
that you provide a special guarantee, honor it.

If you make a habit of using these techniques as often as
possible when interacting with your customers and making sales,
you'll develop stronger relationships and have customers who
buy from you again and again!

Peter Wink, www.peterwink.com, is an authority on negotiation
strategies and dealmaking. He is the author of Negotiate Your
Way to Riches and Buying Secrets Retailers DON'T Want You to
Know About.


Zoomerang Blog said...

You made some compelling points, thanks for sharing them. Customer trust, satisfaction and loyalty should always be a major focus, even more so during economically challenging times. Surveys are one of the best ways to gain insight into your customer's mindset in order for you to market your product/brand as effectively as you can.

Zoomerang offers an easy way to do a little research to find out how best to speak to your customers and what matters to them most – especially when you can do the research for very little $$ or even for free.

Anonymous said...

To save money on vacation insurance plan, start by looking at the things you might curently have taken care of. Most homeowner and renter policies cover thievery of home many credit cards supply unintentional dying on a trip when you utilized the credit card to purchase the trip. Some even provide car leasing insurance and additional luggage security. [url=http://www.x21w12w21.info]Biuyu656gy[/url]

Anonymous said...

Getting stressed out could be humiliating for a few people and isolating for other individuals. Attempt to overcome despression symptoms by getting an effective night's sleep, eating well-balanced foods, and steering clear of stress filled circumstances. Consider simple measures to protect yourself from major depression. Transforming the funnel throughout a t . v . reports transmit that is revealing heartbreaking news is a simple but good step to aid manage major depression. [url=http://www.xxxw12woo.info]pr334d13[/url]

Subscribe To Get New Post In Your Mailbox

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner