People who like you will listen to you, people who trust you will buy from you. – Zig Zigler

People buy from who they know, like, and trust.

From working with over  50 growing food businesses in the past 5 years, I know that the fastest growing enterprises invest more time in deepening relationships, aka, getting customers to like and trust them. Once their customers like and and trust them, buying and advocating for their business comes naturally.

I’ve seen too many companies focus on “getting their name out there,” but neglecting to ensure that they are liked and trusted. While it is important to be known as a business, it is even more important to be liked and trusted. Being liked and trusted as a business is what generates Word of Mouth (WOM).  All successful entrepreneurs know that Word Of Mouth and Referrals are a big part of building a thriving business. Word of Mouth (WOM) is critical for all businesses, and even more critical for businesses with low advertising budgets (start-ups, small food business etc.)

Awareness is ONLY the first step to getting sales

For my customers, getting known often includes activities like advertising an event or sale, sending a press release, sharing info about their business on social media, guest blog posts, brochures etc.  These activities are very important, but by themselves they are not enough to get customers to buy from you. Their focus is often only awareness about what product, service or experience the business offers.

In order for your potential customers to like you, trust you and buy from you, customers need to see that and why other people are happy with your offering (product, service, etc.) or immediately get some sort of educational value that is useful to them now and demonstrates your company is good at what it does.

What can you do that will help people like and trust your business?

Show social proof 

Testimonials, good reviews, positive news articles, awards, partners and suppliers. In practice, for my clients this often means having these elements on their website or sharing them on social media. When sharing on social media, it’s generally best to share social proof with a tone of gratefulness and appreciation. Modesty trumps boastfulness, unless you have a brand like Donald Trump’s.

Lead through Education

Millions of searches are done every day and sharing knowledge is one of the easiest, low cost ways to get known, be liked, and build trust. What do your customers ask you about? Make a list of their questions and answer them in whatever format makes the most sense for your team’s skills. If you have writers, get them blogging. If you have people who are good at talking, do live videos and send them out on whatever social media channel your community is on. By creating and publishing valuable content through your business, your customers will grow to like and trust you very quickly.

Build a Community

Once a customer has seen the social proof and benefited from your businesses’ educational gifts, they are primed to join your community. The next step is to answer this question: how do potential customers opt-in to your business community? Is it an email list with exclusive benefits or content? Is it a Facebook group? Facebook bots? Snapchat? This is different for every business, but it is imperative for all businesses to have an easy way to regularly communicate directly with potential and existing customers. While growing your social media community (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) as a business is a good idea, these channels are becoming very “cluttered” and it has become more difficult to ensure potential customers see your message without paying for advertisement. I don’t have a blog post up yet about how to choose the best way to directly market to and grow your business community, but the first 3 businesses who send me a note about this will get a free consultation about the least expensive way to build their communities.

Try this: take 5 minutes now and look at your marketing (website, online marketing channels etc) to see where you can improve on your social proof or create more value through educational content

For every business, there is room to improve on showing social proof, sharing knowledge,  and building a community. Start by looking at your businesses’ website and social media channels. Are you demonstrating social proof? Are you sharing knowledge? How are you directly communicating with potential customers and existing customers?

Questions? Thoughts Ideas? I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment below.

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