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Internet Marketing - Do You Trust Your Customer?

Apr 10, 2008
A friend of mine recently bought a new-to-him car. This gentleman visited multiple lots and encountered the frenzy of used car salesmen circling like sharks in blood-infested water. He heard the standard, "What can I do to get you behind the wheel of that car today?" speech and he found a few lots where he had to find someone to help him.

He and his wife were discouraged and wished buying a car was a bit easier. This man lives in a small town and there is only one car lot where he lives. The owner is someone he knows and has had opportunity to have several conversations with him prior to the desire to purchase a newer car for his family.

My friend was surprised when the owner of the car lot tossed him some keys to a car he was interested in and said, "Keep it for the weekend. Go everywhere you normally would and if you don't like it, just park it, toss the keys under the seat and lock it. No questions asked."

Within 24 hours this family knew they wanted the car. They loved the car and they liked the price, but there was one more element that made this decision easier. Trust.

This family knew the dealer. They had observed his reputation and business practices and he acknowledged their trust by extending trust of his own.

Today this family will say this instance is the best car buying experience they have ever had. Why? Trust marketing.

So what is the application for online businesses?

Do you trust your potential customers enough to give them a test drive? By that I mean have you created a site that provides enough information and free demonstrations that your potential customers can really get a feel for the products or services you sell?

Do you honestly believe your customer can make an informed decision? If you don't believe this then every bit of your online site is designed to lead them to a decision they may not want to make. This is not to say that I think a call to action is wrong. I do, in fact, believe that a call to action is essential to every online business. However, it is easy to focus your approach on high-pressure tactics. This approach rarely leaves the customer with the feeling that you trust their judgment.

Do you really believe in the value of the product you sell? If you do then it should be easy to allow that product's reputation and value speak for itself. That doesn't mean you don't market the product, but you don't need to use tactics that might infer benefits that do not exist simply to attempt to retain interest on the part of your customer. When you believe in the product you sell there will be a natural passion that will translate into every content piece you write and every marketing skill you utilize.

I understand why most car lots can't simply toss keys to customers and tell them to keep the car for the weekend. There are a lot of people with bad intentions that would make that practice unworkable in many instances. However, the lessons of this individual car buying experience can benefit all online AND brick and mortar businesses.
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