Mike Kawula is the CEO Social Quant, a top-ranked Twitter tool by HubSpot that helps find relevant Twitter followers in order to increase your business. His last three clients have each reached seven-figure net worths in under three years. Mike has written his own book, appeared on CNN, and been interviewed by Anthony Robbins. He's been featured in over 100 publications. You can find out more about Mike and receive more tips by following his Twitter, @MikeKawula.
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It's something you've heard countless times. People tend to do business with those they like, know, and trust. That sounds easy enough, right? After all, you’re a likable person. But unfortunately, this isn't your grandfather’s barber shop you're dealing with. These days, there are countless businesses to compete with online. In many cases, the individual touch has all but "gone out of business". Not that I'm trying to say that an individual can’t still build rapport and trust online, regardless of niche. It just takes solid strategy and consistent action to be successful. And while I can’t help you with the action part (that's all on you), I can provide you with a strategy that's sure to work if you stick with it.
Give Your Customers “No Strings Attached” Value
Now, I realize that the end goal is always getting more sales for your business, but you need to give without expecting anything in return. In other words, don’t try to manipulate people. Quite frankly, they'll always see through it sooner or later. Instead, answer questions. Provide actionable advice. Help people be more successful. Do whatever is necessary to position yourself as an expert in your industry.
I’ve lost track of the number of people I’ve provided free business advice to over the years. And while not everyone would agree with this strategy, it’s always served me well. That's not to say that I don't set boundaries for how far I'm willing to go. At the end of the day, people know, like, and trust me because I’m always helpful and transparent without asking for anything in return (at least not immediately). And because I go above and beyond to provide them with value, people come back when it's time to do business.
Share Great Content
The Internet is constantly flooded with new content. And unfortunately, the majority of it is terrible. If you want to stand out against the noise, then just follow one simple rule: don’t create crappy content. Garbage material wastes everyone's time, including your own. You’re much better off creating a few pieces of knock-your-socks-off content than a massive amount of boring schlock.
Position Yourself as an Expert
Make content that shows you know what the hell you’re doing. This, in turn, gets people to know, like,
and trust you. Write with the intent to genuinely help your readers instead of wasting their time with a ton of “fluff” that keeps Google happy. There’s tons of great content I read, but much of it could easily be condensed into just a few paragraphs.
There are influencers out there who use their social media networks solely to broadcast and never to connect. Don’t be like them. You will be far more successful if you take the time to engage with your audience. Get online every day to answer questions and provide value. Be present and useful and you'll inspire trust rapidly. Sam Hurley is living proof of this. He went from being a "nobody” to the number one marketing influencer in just 15 months. And he spends hours every day engaging with his Twitter followers and building his personal brand.
Thank others when they share your content or give your company a positive review. It’s good manners, but people also appreciate it when you take the time to recognize them. It makes you and your business memorable. Genuine appreciation can open the door to further conversations, and that means a chance to continue building value and trust.
Say, for example, a prospect shares your content. You can thank him and then also ask what he liked most about it. Not everyone will answer. But for those that do, you can provide even more information and assistance based on their answers.
Move People into Your Sales Funnel
It should go without saying that your funnel directs people towards a sale. But you must continue
building trust throughout the process. One of the best ways to do that is by consistently over-delivering. You set expectations with your prospects. The sales funnel is your chance to exceed them. That might mean something along the lines of offering additional resources, a personal connection, or just going above and beyond with customer service.
Ask for the Sale
This is the step that people often forget (or are most afraid of). And that's a shame because it’s the money step! Following all of the steps above earns you the right to ask for the sale, and people expect it. A lot of your prospects will be more than happy to pull out their credit cards. At this point, they should already know what to expect when working with your business.
It’s not always easy building a rapport with people you’ve never spoken to in person. But following the steps laid out above will give you a much better shot of turning prospects into customers. Now I turn it to you. What are your thoughts on the issue? Do you have any strategies for building trust that I failed to mention? I’d love to hear from back from you, whether it's in the comments section below or via Twitter!