Would you trust someone you've never met?

“No”“Why should I?” “Seriously?” “Depends”

The hairs on the back of our neck stand saluting the instinctual fear of the unknown. We are generally taught not trust anyone. It is a survival mechanism, or a consequence of buying too many used cars.

The e-Marketing era we live in has unlimited tools and the power to convince us to make that trust decision. I may not know you but I can uncover a lot of information very quickly. Heck, all we need are two index fingers and a keyboard, real or virtual.

Marketing is the science of deploying a vast array of messages designed to reach potential customers, most of whom have never met us before. A clever email subject line, a hard-hitting Google ad may get us to “click”. So now what? You're still a stranger.

The simple and obvious answer to the question is “absolutely not”! Trust must be earned and anyone spending a lot of money on clever marketing tactics to bypass this giant obstacle are is wasting time and money. Abraham Lincoln  said: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Before we get to trust, we must earn the right to present what we have to offer. We can’t assume that we know what our clients want. We have to prove that we do. Yes, the bad news for all of us is that it requires hard work and diligence in order to earn that right, and ultimately,  the trust that leads to a relationship (sales).

E-Marketing opened a world of possibilities to marketers and consumers alike. Sadly, it also offers solutions for those who are too lazy and cheap. Take email marketing as an example: You can sign up for a free email platform and begin to blast away. Compared to printing and direct mail, email is free right? Wrong.

If your goal is to earn the right to present your value, flooding me with free useless emails quickly becomes an expensive outcome: you will be reported as a spammer and I will never do business with you. You know who you are: “I’d like to send you a referral”, or “ about our scheduled call”...

Junk email is just one aspect of being denied the opportunity to “pass GO and collect $200”. Tricky blogs that are designed to sell, FREE anything that is rarely free will all get you to the same dead-end.  

Imagine a single prospect facing a giant fog. She hears a lot of noise and people talking. Your goal is to emerge out of the cloud and use the brief opportunity to either earn the right to state your business, or get asked to leave. What would you do to achieve that goal? It’s a blind date but in this case you truly know nothing about the person you’re about to meet.

Before you come out of the fog, you must start with some questions:

  1. Why is she here alone?

  2. What brought her here?

  3. It must be scary to stand in front of a giant cloud with so much noise and no visible people - why is she here? (yes, again)

  4. Everyone around me is selling website designs. So do I. She must be looking for a web solution.

  5. Review what you know about your industry and customers. Identify one or two major recurring challenges that customers face.

  6. Ask yourself: What makes me different and better? Stay away from jargon and cliches, find that unique and decisively clear benefit you offer.

  7. What “objective” proof do you have to substantiate your claim?

For those of us on the marketing side of the equation, earning the right to speak is the first step in a long process that could build trust. This path is paved with temptations to be ordinary, assume rather than find out and worst of all, engage in practices that reveal and reinforce that you can’t be trusted.