Need More Customers? 5 Ways to Get Them to Know, Like, and Trust You

image of couple holding hands

It’s Valentine’s week on Copyblogger! This week’s posts will focus on how to improve reader and customer relationships to grow your business.

Dating and business are both all about forming relationships. You need to get out there and be seen. You need to “romance” potential customers and get them comfortable with what you have to offer.

If you’ve been in business for a while, you’ve probably heard the concept of know, like, and trust. Salespeople often talk about it as a lead-generating tactic used before the sale. Good salespeople know that a prospect needs to know, like and trust you before she’s willing to complete the sale. And it’s a key component of good content marketing.

But the most important moment for know, like and trust isn’t before the sale … it’s after.

Creating more love … when it counts

Everything’s all roses and candy during the romantic “does he like me?” courting phase. And any competent salesperson gives “great customer service” before the sale.

It’s what happens the day after that really matters.

Here are five ways know, like, and trust works during and after the “transaction” in both business and dating.

(And for any readers who have been striking out romantically, these tips just might come in handy there as well.)

1. Go beyond small talk

I’ve been married for a long time and my husband has given me insights on how scary it is for guys to ask women out on a date. No one likes rejection.

You can go into a lot of bars, but if you actually want a date, eventually you’re going to have to get beyond small talk and ask someone out.

Making small talk in business is easy. You give away all that fabulous cookie content and have a good time chatting up commenters on Facebook, twitter, and your blog.

But eventually you have to ask for the sale. If you don’t, you aren’t in business, you have an expensive hobby. And those don’t pay the mortgage.

2. Don’t mess up the big moment

The person of your dreams says Yes — she actually will go out with you!

You feel fantastic about yourself and walk around like a proud peacock.

Now don’t screw it up. Do not take the object of your affections to a grimy dive bar for your first date. Or to your mom’s basement to watch Biggest Loser.

Go somewhere nice. Make a great first impression.

In business, when someone finally says Yes and clicks the magical Add to Cart button, everything needs to work seamlessly.

A bad shopping cart experience kills sales.

  • Make sure your site looks reasonably professional, with user-friendly design that conveys authority.
  • Check your links. (All of them.) (Especially the Buy ones.)
  • Make sure your online check-out actually takes people through the process quickly and easily.
  • And make sure you’ve got a great support system (this might be you, in the early days) in place to handle transactions that have issues.

3. If things don’t work out, be gracious

So you go on your date and discover, Gee, although the guy does have all his teeth, he’s also got the personality of a Western Conifer Seed Bug.

We’ve all been on bad dates. It happens. When both of you agree that you have nothing in common and it’s time to move on, don’t be a jerk about it.

In much the same way, in your business life, some people who buy your products will hate them. Don’t make them hate you too. Offer a strong money-back guarantee, and be as gracious about returns as you were about the purchase.

4. Don’t lie

Almost every woman I’ve ever met has a story about the guy she dated who didn’t opt to reveal some important facts about himself.

Leaving out important information like “I’m married,” “I just robbed a bank and am on the lam,” or “I’m from the future” is a sure way to ensure a really ugly breakup. Bad idea.

When it comes to your business, you need to deliver on what you promised. If you say you are going to provide 10 Q&A calls in your training program, that means you have to get on the phone 10 times.

Don’t promise stuff you can’t deliver. It’s a sure way to kill trust. Word gets out about that kind of thing.

Sure, sometimes it’s really hard to honor your promises. That’s business. (And love.) Cowboy up.

5. Follow up

Assuming you go on a date, and maybe even more than one, eventually there’s that magic moment where you make the big connection. In the movies, we’d just fade to black here, but I think you know what I mean.

Here’s where know, like, and trust gets really important.

The day after, give her a call. If you don’t, you’ll be branded a schmuck forever.

Wham, bam, thank you ma’am doesn’t work well in business either. No customer wants to feel like a one-night stand.

Yes, you can use marketing techniques upsells and cross-sells, but that’s not the only way to follow up. Don’t underestimate how big an impression you can make just by saying Thank you.

When your customers know you care, they stay customers.

After the sale, the customer who knows, likes and trusts you is far more likely to buy from you again.

That’s how you build a business (or a romantic) relationship that lasts.

About the Author: Susan Daffron teaches people how to write and publish profitable client-attracting books at SelfPubU. Stop by and get a free e-course, the 7 Simple Steps to Finishing Your Book.

P.S.

Want more ideas for getting potential customers to know, like and trust you … before and after the sale? You’ll find dozens of techniques and tips in the free Copyblogger newsletter, Internet Marketing for Smart People. It kicks off with a 20-part series on the most effective strategies for growing your online business.

Print Friendly

Smarter is Better Solutions for Smarter Content Marketing

Here’s what we’ve got for you:

  • 15 high-impact ebooks on content marketing, SEO, email marketing, landing pages, keyword research, and more.
  • A 20-part Internet marketing course that lays out a comprehensive path for your own online strategy.
  • An organized reference guide to the “best of the best” of Copyblogger.com, and how it all profitably fits together.
Free Registration

Take The Conversation Further ...

We'd love to know your thoughts on this article.
Meet us over on Google+ or Twitter to join the conversation right now!

Comments

  1. Susan:

    I like how you tie winning and retaining customers by analogy to the dating scene.

    A good, free utility for finding broken links is Xenu. If you Google it, it should be the first entry.

    I’m glad you didn’t tie the good business examples to speed dating. I do remember an episode where the TV medical Doctor House tries speed dating – it didn’t go very well.

    And going for long-term commitment, is the best way to go.

    Randy

    • Jay Baxtresser :

      I work in the shoe business now and “know, like, trust” is very important especially with women customers. I have known many of my customers for a good number of years and knowing their first names is an important part of my sales. I work at a local family run company and keeping a good relationship with our customers is very important.
      Many of our customers want to shop at the local businesses instead of the mall and keeping in touch with them and treating them as if they were your best friends is important for keeping your business reputation high among the locals.

      • @ Randy…I didn’t hit the reply button and my comment back to you is a million miles down the thread. Sorry about that. Duh. Thanks for reading ;-)

        @Jay – I live in a small town and that type of personal touch is huge. That’s why we have a “department store” downtown that has been in business for 70+ years.

  2. Susan:

    What a great article especially point number 5.

    Follow up is the total key especially when selling professionals services.

    I have a large number of attorneys and CPAs as clients.

    Last week I was sspeaking to a lawyer who had been in practice for 23 years and considered himself a marketing “progressive.”

    I asked him if he had a client list – either email or manual.

    Nope.

    He has never contacted his clients in 23 years other than to deliver the product and the bill.

    I find this stuff everywherer. People want fancy special reports, websites comercials…but they’ve never thought of keeping in constant friendly contact through something as simple as a mailing list.

    Patrick

  3. Great article. I especially love that you talk about “never leaving your customers as a one night stand”.

    All of us online MUST treat our customers as gold nuggets. It hurts our business as a whole every time our customers have a bad experience.

    So thanks for bringing up that very important subject.

    cheers
    Tina

    • I agree! I just started a small mastermind group that a bunch of my most favorite book author customers have joined. It’s like hanging out with friends. It sure makes business a lot more pleasant that way ;-)

  4. Hi Randy…thanks for the tip on Xeno! Speed dating?? Eww.

    I think when I was dating that didn’t exist. I am thankful for that ;-)

  5. Hey Susan:

    What a cute way to present this idea, and what an important ideas you share.
    I think most people in business recognize the truth to the mantra “people buy
    from those they know, like, and trust,” but I think your 5 points illustrate how much
    sincere effort that requires.

    I especially like number 5. FOLLOW UP. So many people miss the boat here.
    I’ve found that it’s when I follow up that I truly solidify the connection with a prospect
    or recent client. When you demonstrate that it’s not all about the money with
    sincerity you kick up the “know, like, & trust” factor in a major way.

  6. Susan, I couldn’t stop laughing at the idea of Twitter being analogous to chatting up in a bar – that’s way more accurate than it should be. Like Marlee said, I really like the way you presented this info. It really demonstrates the relationship behind every sale. It’s human interaction as its most basic. There’s nothing “just business” about it.

    Now I’m off to sign on to Twitter for the day and try not to imagine all the bots promising me “Forex Millions!” actually asking “Can I ha’ yo’ numbah?” MadTV style.

    It will be a challenge.

  7. Hi Susan, thanks for the post – I think the analogy of business and romantic life is great – clear, easy to follow, and very accurate – it’s one that I find myself coming back to on a regular basis, because the best practices work!

    Randy, thanks for the tool recommendation!

  8. LOL! This is the best side-by-side comparison I’ve ever read between real-world lovelife and business. Nice and true. Besides, both focus on building that relationship which is what makes this post so interesting to read.

  9. Susan,

    Good article, I like the analogy. Point 4 – deliver what you promised – is the most important point, for me. The trouble is, so many companies overestimate their capability, and never check with their customers to see whether THEY think that the promise has been delivered on.

    Matthew

    • I agree! So many companies fall down on that one. I’ve witnessed quite a few online goo-roo types say in essence, “oh sorry, I changed my mind” and throw away products/programs that people have paid money to attend. That’s a sure way to piss off your customers. Not to mention bad karma too.

  10. Pretty funny .. and still true. Business is most of the time like dating, that’s for sure.

  11. Hey Susan awwwww I like this one it is so ironic I was writing a email greeting and was talking about how i wanted them to fall in love with me but not get married on the first date LOL

  12. Susan,

    Exellent post. I love the analogy you made between business and romantic life.

    Maxence

  13. This is a great reminder of how we need to look at the big picture of a customer relationship cycle. I think many biz owners work really hard at the attracting part which is logical because most of us need to keep filling the pipeline. Since you’re putting a lot of energy there, it can be very easy to forget to also take as much, if not more care of those people that say “yes” and become customers.

    Excellent, thanks!

  14. Nice. It really just boils down to don’t be a a-hole. Communicate, be honest, and think about what the other person wants/needs. Honesty–it really is the best policy. I like the post, Susan.

    • Thanks Todd. You’re right. “Don’t Be an A-hole” would be an appropriate title. I think the Copyblogger powers that be would veto that though. Naomi Dunford over at IttyBiz would run with it though ;-)

  15. Susan,

    Nice use of analogy, I would never have known how much business and dating have in common! I like point 4: Don’t Lie. If a potential customer or current client feels as though they have been betrayed in any way, that could permanently damage the relationship, which as we know can be detrimental in business. The actual value of your product or service must match up with the perceived value that you have given your product or service. Thanks your the great post!

  16. Susan, what a great post, and as others have said, a fun analogy.

    I do agree that it is SO important to let your subscribers and customers get to know you, but probably one of my favorites on your list is #3. Think about it: if someone you know and trust does something that you don’t like (or produces a product that isn’t for you) it doesn’t have to blow the whole relationship does it? You just say, Oh what she did (produced) wasn’t my cup of tea, but I like her so I’ll stick around. No relationship-ending necessary.

    Thanks for the enjoyable read!

  17. Great article. I have to agree with oyu that business is alot like dating. However, I think you should never do one-night-stand in business :D.

  18. Great ideas! I am preparing to launch my first e-book next month and this is very helpful for me! Some things tend to slip thru the cracks and you have given me a lot to think about!

    Bernice

  19. Sandrine Chaumette :

    I’ve been married 17 years. I look back fondly on those first six months of rainbows and butterflies and say “Wow, those were some good times.”. Then, life happens and it’s easy for the relationship to be neglected.

    To have a long term relationship whether in business or life, I have to work on the fundaments:

    -Weather financial storms
    -Keep communication channels open
    -Manage the in-laws and children that compete for your time
    -Keep goal in line
    -Plan for the future

    Integrated marketing is a lot like marriage. If you want to have a long term relationship, it’s important to constantly practice the fundamentals. The quality of the relationship will be greatly determined on how much effort I put in to make it work. Lastly, both parties have to want it. If the client or customer is not partnering with you, it’s time to admit defeat, learn from it, and move on.

    • I’ve been married for almost 19 years and I completely agree. My husband and I have gone through your whole list. (Since he’s also my business partner, we’ve been there and done that with the biz too!) When you get down to it, the fundamentals of relationships that work are pretty much the same, no matter what type of relationship it is.

      Thanks for reading and commenting! I need to make sure my husband sees your comment about the “rainbows and butterflies” too ;-)

  20. It is great linking romance and customer care. Though I never thought about such a comparison, this article made me believe that they are parallels. Also while reading the article, I felt like being on a romantic tour, but with a mission to ‘sell’. Thanks a lot!

  21. Excellent analogy Susan! It’s not just about the date, it’s about creating a relationship. I coach my clients all the time to attend networking events not just thinking of how many “sales” they can make, but how many connections are made. It’s an ongoing, nurturing relationship that leads to sales

  22. Susan, you rock! Great post, and nice to see you on Copyblogger.

  23. This is a really interesting take on something that we’ve all done or continue to do. It’s interesting that you talk about “asking for the sale” in point #1. I have absolutely no consistency in my blogging and it may be in a large part because of your first point. I know that social media and blogging in particular go a LONG way in building a community. I have struggled with figuring out how, when, if to ask for the sale. In one of your comments you talked about business “coming down to relationships.” So true. That’s been the way I’ve built my business. Just struggling with a transition to the blog world. Thanks for the interesting comments!

    • Actually, the Copyblogger site itself has great examples of “asking for the sale.” Note all the ads on their sidebars. Plus, you can sign up for ecourses like Internet Marketing for Smart People. The content (posts) draws you in and then the more you engage, the more you develop a relationship with the site and the authors.

      Another key (which you alluded to) is Copyblogger’s consistent posting schedule. Pretty much every day during the week, you get new posts from this site. That consistency is something I’m working on myself. It’s a lot of work, but realistically all relationships take work ;-)

  24. This is very creative Susan! I mean how you relate the whole thing to ‘your’ date..amazing
    And I like the part where you say ‘make sure all your links work esp. the BUY button’ haha thats kinda funny

  25. I really like this: “some people who buy your products will hate them. Don’t make them hate you too.” You have to leverage the opportunity to come out looking like a hero even after buyer’s remorse.

    Following-up is also extremely powerful. The cost of acquiring new clients is a lot higher than costs of keeping current ones happy. Always treasure your buyers list.

    • It’s easy to let returns make you feel bad. But it’s a part of business and it’s another opportunity to provide customer service. And I completely agree about your buyer’s list. It’s gold ;-)

  26. Hi Susan,

    Thanks for sharing such a nice Post!!
    I liked it, specially because I think the most important thing in any business is to keep your current clients happy only then your business can grow. It will also helps in bringing new clients.

  27. hy susan thanks and happy valentine day

  28. YES YES YES and YES

    and do we normally do these things?

    NO NO NO AND NO!

    Superb post right down the middle

    Nice one!

    So true about customers and trust!

    Warmest

    Phill

    • Thanks Phil. And yes, you’re right, most of us don’t do these things. It’s kind of like diet and exercise. We know what we *should* do, but we don’t always do it ;-)

  29. Great points! I really enjoy how you relate relevant information to a humorous, real life example – I find it makes it that much easier to assimilate the information and put it into practice. As always, looking forward to reading more of your posts.

  30. Hi Susan

    Nice analogy – fair play. I think the point you make about being gracious when things don’t go as planned is really important. If you handle rejection or a failed business dealing in a positive light, often those customers can come back in the future or perhaps refer you to other possible opportunities.

    Regards
    Barney

  31. Good article and you are 100% correct. Building a solid relationship with your customer base is the key to repete business.
    If you do not keep in touch with your clients/customers on a regular basis, you are leaving money on the table.
    It costs very little to keep in touch with your clients and give them value, but it will cost you dearly not to.

  32. Hi Susan, its very important that we need to build user trust if we want to increase our customers base. Also whatever happens we should lie to our customers. Anyway, thanks for an useful article.

    Sathish

  33. What an excellent post. I wish I’d thought of this analogy.
    I absolutely agree with the sentiments in each of the points above. In a previous life I ran a small print & design company in North London. As most of our customers were small SMEs, we decided not to copy others by heavy sales marketing. Instead we produced a monthly newsletter, which was 90% entertainment and nonsense, and 10% business. We even added an insert with each one called “The Office Pin Up” which had nothing to do with scantily dressed ladies.
    When the recession of ’92 hit, our business dipped, but most stayed with us, and those who had gone under in the bad times, returned to us. They said it was because we were approachable and friendly, due in some part, to the newsletters. Yes. we did send out Valentines in February, and chocolates too.
    From late starters, we opened for trade as the newbies, against stiff competition. Within 18 months we were the main supplier in the area.
    We truly cared for our customers, and it paid back ten fold with their continued loyalty.
    I hope this is relevant, I ramble on sometimes.
    I still love this post.
    Alan

    • Wow Alan, I think the ultimate compliment is someone saying, “I wish I’d thought of that.” Thanks ;-)

      I agree re: caring for customers. Printing is a tough business! Making it through a recession when other printers were folding is proof that your customer care approach really worked.

  34. This was fantastic Susan how you’re weaving the concept of dating in with building your business.

    Seduction exists in all relationships. I love it. I love being seduced into a wonderful experience where people allow me to let my guard down and surrender to their expertise and resourcefulness. Whether it’s a fine dining experience, a guy showing me the principles of hang gliding or box of shit from IKEA.

    I’ve always loved how Dean Jackson, I think riding on Jay Abraham’s example, explains the three phases of business relationships as being the beginning, the middle and the end. Most people only focus on the one of these and it leaves the person who trusted you and had high hopes for your relationship feeling like you lied to them when all the woo went into getting them and vanished when you gave it up.

    If anyone here is a fan of Dean’s, you’ve gotta go find the “New Money Masters” video where Tony Robbins interviewed him. Just like this article, it’s an outstanding overview that expands on this principle (having more room to do so because it’s an audio).

    • I think I’ve read something along those lines from Jay Abraham years ago about the phases of business relationships. But yes, it kind of makes sense that if you drop the ball somewhere in the middle, people feel let down or used. I’ll see if I can find that video too. Thanks!

  35. That’s a brilliant analogy, Susan :) and you summed it up beautifully.

    If you come to think about, we are in the age of business humanization. So, “romancing” your customers does work.
    Now allow me to add some-more romantic business tips:
    1- “Show me that I am really important to you”—> In business this translates into proactive listening and involving customers/prospects in product creation.
    2- “Entice me! Surprize me!”—> In business this translates into sending your customers an e-card/e-gift/coupon/promotion on special occasions.
    3- “Give me TLC: tender loving care”—> In business this translates into attending to your customers issues and concerns promptly and taking their complaints seriously.

    That’s all I can think about for now but I promise to drop back if I remembered any “romantic” business tips :). Happy bleated valentines day to everyone :).

    • Oh wow, these are great! It’s true…I could definitely have made the article a lot longer, but I controlled myself. (Although, I confess, I did write a follow-up on my own site with a bit more about not hanging out in the virtual equivalent of dive bars.)

  36. This is a great post. I’m busy writing a 100 date tip articles for a client and all of this sounds so familiar. Good advice for relationships and also for business, like you rightly said.

    Also, great analogy. Timeous and releveant.

  37. Great piece, perfectly timed for Valentines day – I love it!

    Point #5 is such an important aspect of maintaining rapport with your clients, and I’m amazed at how frequently it’s overlooked. The love is always in the air at the beginning of a new relationship, the hard part comes further down the road when you have to work to sustain the relationship. This happens all the time in real estate – agents that keep in touch with former clients see a lot more repeat business than those that just assume a former buyer or seller will just naturally call them the next time the want to make a move.

    Follow-up and staying in touch is a key aspect of fueling repeat sales. The cost of marketing to an existing customer is much cheaper than trying to pull in new ones, it may only cost you a phone call or an email.

    • Thank you! And happy belated Valentine’s day ;-)

      I agree. You can take the analogy to marriage. I’ve been married almost 19 years. It some ways it’s easier because we know each other. But it still takes work to keep a relationship going. You’re right about repeat sales too. Often just one phone call can make a huge difference!

  38. Great post! I’ve marketed in both the real world and the online world and whilst there are some differences – mainly in the gestation period (much slower in the real world, I’ve found) and the need to develop copywriting skills for “instant attraction” in the online world – the steps you need to go through and the integrity you should bring to the relationship to ensure success are the same in both.

    Certainly, the path to creating and retaining raving fans takes patience, skill and having something the other party needs.

    Much like a marriage. Susan is right there!.

  39. I think people often underestimate the “patience” factor both in business and in marriage. Good point ;-)