Friday, December 28, 2012

Trust is Broken

Does it frost you that people shopping online are significantly more willing to trust an anonymous customer "review" than what your well-trained sales staff might say about a particular product?

According to Nielsen, although 92% of people surveyed will trust word-of-mouth from friends and relatives, online reviews are close behind at 70%. No form of advertising from the store could even break 50%.

Yet, according to research, 10% of all online reviews are fake.

Still the customer is more willing to trust anonymous customers online than they will trust the store. And it is easy to see why.  Just look at this picture.


This was the sign outside of an Eddie Bauer store at Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor. We all know "Exclusions Apply". In fact, if the sign hadn't said that at the bottom, we all would have still thought it anyway because exclusions always seem to apply. All the claims made by stores these days are outrageous to get your attention and then filled with so many exclusions and fine print disclaimers that the original deal isn't any deal at all. Heck, every time a radio ad comes on with some special offer, almost half of the ad is filled with some guy speaking the legalese terms and conditions so fast you couldn't understand them anyway.

Even if you haven't personally done this in your store, you are the benefactor of a culture where exclusions always apply and every deal is far less than it is advertised. Nothing is what it seems and there is always some loophole hidden somewhere. In other words, you have to reap what a whole bunch of sloppy, lazy marketers have sown.

There is a way to counter this. There is a way to build back the trust that has been broken for so long.

Tell the truth.

If there is a disclaimer, don't make the claim. If there is an exception, tell it right up front.  Imagine how much more believable and how much more excitement that same sign might have generated if it said...

"150 different items marked 40% off original price!"  

The original way, you walked in already defeated, just knowing the item you wanted would be part of the exclusion. This new way you walked in with excitement wondering which one of the 150 items would be something you wanted. Two signs that basically say the same thing. One creates disillusionment, one creates excitement. Why do so many stores get it wrong? Sloppy, lazy marketers. Don't be one.

The formula is simple... No disclaimer, no exclusions = truth and honesty = more believable = more trustworthy = more excitement = more sales.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS This is just the first measure toward building trust. Be truthful and honest in your advertising and marketing. Then teach your sales staff to be truthful and honest in their presentations. You'll stand out in the crowd of exclusions and disclaimers.

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