As an online business owner, I have many clients I’ve never met in person. We’ve Skyped, talked on the phone and sent countless emails and Google messages to one another, but never shook hands or shared a meal.
In a world where digital communication is the norm, it’s hard to build relationships and grow to trust one another. But it’s essential if you’re going to be successful.
[bctt tweet=”Where digital communication is the norm, it’s hard to develop trust with one another.”]
For almost three full years, my business has been my sole source of income. I’ve learned a thing or two about how to be successful in the online world—from watching others and from what’s worked (and not) worked for me.
So I bring you my four biggest tips for building trust online so you can grow your business to live the life you dream about.
You’ve got to be real. Be yourself. I’m not one of those dolled up female entrepreneurs who wears high heels with a matching purse and high-fashion jewelry. And that’s no hit on those who are—some days, I wish I could be that person.
But I’m not. Nope, as I type this (mid-day, mind you), I’m sitting in my home office wearing my pajamas. And I’m not shy about telling people that. In fact, if you’ve ever seen me Periscope, I probably threw a decent shirt on just so you wouldn’t see me in my pjs!
See, that’s me. Casual and comfortable. Jeans and T-shirt. Or pajama bottoms and tank top is more like it. The gal who you’d share a beer with or head out with for a sweaty trail run. I don’t enjoy dressing up and going to cocktail parties—that’s totally not me.
So when you present yourself online—whether it’s in Facebook groups, your website or on your Twitter profile, just be you. You’re more likely to attract the clients you’re looking for and those you’ll love working with (and who will love working with you!).
[bctt tweet=”When you present yourself online, just be authentically you!”]
Practice What You Preach
I’m a writer and I know that I need fresh content on my website regularly. As a coach, you know you need systems in place. As an accountant, you should have your books in order. If you’re a fitness expert, you know you should live a life that reflects that—working out and eating right.
In short, practice what you preach. When I look for people to work with, business owners who can help me in my own business, I’m going to look at how they handle the services I’m looking to hire out. I won’t hire a website developer who has a poorly designed website or a mindset coach who acts like a hot mess online. I’m going to hire someone who does what they’re telling their clients to do, and does it well.
[bctt tweet=”I’d hire a pro who does what they’re telling their clients to do. Practice what you preach.”]
Stop Selling and Start Marketing
I’ve touched on this in other blog posts, but it begs repeating (again and again). Broken record here. Can you tell I’m passionate about this one?
I have a “no soliciting” sign on my front door because I don’t want to be sold to in my own house. I also regularly update my phone number on the Do Not Call list and remove myself from email lists daily. If I want your product or service, I’ll find someone I know, like and trust who offers it.
I also don’t want to be sold to on my own newsfeed. Give me some value. Give me a reason to hire you. Make me start to think about your services, but do so in a non-salesy, non-sleazy way.
Sure, I’ve used Facebook ads, and I’ll continue to do so. But in Facebook groups, in my blogs and on most of my social posts, you’ll find useful tips and value that you can take and implement in your own business. And maybe you’ll hire me to coach you through some writing or do some writing for you. But maybe you won’t, and that’s okay. I feel confident that if you ever do need help, you’ll remember who gave you value and didn’t try to shove a sales pitch down your throat.
Does this mean you shouldn’t sell your product on social media or include a call to action or link to a sales page in a blog? Heck no! Of course you should. But if more than 50 percent of your posts include a pitch, people will stop listening. Quickly.
[bctt tweet=”If too much of your content is a pitch, people will stop listening. Quickly.”]
We’re all busy and we all have a lot on our plates. Shoot, some days I work from dawn until dusk if I’m in a groove. But no one got to where they are all by themselves. I’ve leaned on a number of writers and entrepreneurs, looking for feedback and advice. And I’ve had some reach out to me too. There’s nothing quite like sharing a journey like this together.
When you’re offering value online, responding to emails and messages and generally being a friendly, nice person, you are much more approachable. People trust others who they feel they can talk to and get in touch with when they need to. I don’t mind engaging in a conversation in a Facebook group if I think I can add value and help someone out. Others have done the same for me.
We’re all using the Internet to move our businesses forward, but they’re not going to go anywhere if you don’t build trust. Tell me who you are and how you’re building the trust factor online! (Do you see that? No sales pitch! Just a shout-out to encourage others to share their expertise.)