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The "Bridge Crossing" Method to Building Customer Trust

After painstakingly building your list like all the gurus told you to do, segmenting said list, and hours of writing the perfect autoresponder copy, you’re ready for your first big product campaign.

Despite being told not to, you can’t help but continually checking your stats once your campaign is finally live.

Day 1

  • Open rate: 63%!
  • CTR: 37%!
  • Sales: 0

Not bad. Not bad at all. No sales, yet, but that’s OK. It’s only day 1.

Day 2

  • Open rate: 59%
  • CTR: 27%
  • Sales: 1

At last, a sale!

The next three days, your open and click through rates taper off and still just the single sale. “Oh well,” you think. At least you got that one…

Then a kick in the stomach. Your one sale, he wants a refund.

Does this sound familiar?

It hurts as you try to figure out where you went wrong.

You have your USP. Your sales funnel is set up. You wrote your autoresponder follow-up emails.

There’s just one big thing you’re not doing as well as you could. And doing this one big thing well is the tipping point that makes the difference between a single sale that gets refunded and a flood of sales that continue for days.

What is it?

You’re Treating Your Potential Buyers Like A Number

Derek Halpern of SocialTriggers.com says this:

“There are TOO many people who think their products will sell themselves. They think, “If I just create something that’s GREAT, the rest of it will fall into place.”

Your list is under no obligation to buy something from you just because you’re likable, or friendly, or your write well.

Yes, it’s important to track sales. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put in the effort to understand why someone would want to buy your product.

People don’t want to feel like they’re just another number, just another sale to be made.

The majority of bloggers and entrepreneurs online believe their intentions are good when they start a blog or a business. But many can’t tell you what really keeps their audience up at night and the sort of problems they’re struggling to solve.

You Don’t See Their Vision of Where They Want To Go

start goal

Leslie Samuel has a great post on how to create vision for your blogging business. The important thing to note is that your vision needs to line up with what your customers/list have in their sights on the horizon.

Ultimately, if you don’t see their vision for the future, they won’t respond to your sales copy. They don’t trust you.

The problem comes from focusing too much on your product. It’s building a better mousetrap mentality which you hope makes people automatically want to buy your product. But if that were the case then everyone would be tripping over each other to try and get Maseratis, Ferraris or Porches.

This is a dangerous way to think, and one that can use up a lot of your time and money without much pay back. For some people, nothing makes them happier than driving their beat up, 10-year-old car.

Are you trying to sell luxury sports cars when all your audience really wants is a cheap, second-hand car? Or maybe it’s the other way around? Are you selling yourself short by offering something cheap when your customers can afford (and want) something premium and bespoke?

If you can’t put yourself in your ideal client’s shoes and visualize the same destination they have in their mind, no matter how good your product is and no matter how hard you market, the sales won’t come.

Not only that, your customers won’t be loyal and end up shopping around until they find someone that does do this. So what can you do to fix this problem?

See the Same Vision That They See and Take Them There

Before you can see your customer’s goals, you have to understand five important aspects about the relationship between them and their problem, as well as how you come into the equation.

Asking yourself the following five questions paints a vivid picture in your mind as to how the situation looks from your customers’ point of view.

This exercise works best when you get everyone in charge of sales, marketing, and customer support in the same room, as it gives you perspective from different stages of the customer experience. Of course, if all these people are you, it makes getting everyone in the same room a little simpler.

Also, while this exercise is qualitative, you can use data (for example, if your customers have filled out feedback surveys) to support your answers.

The Five Steps to Create Trust

people buy people trust

#1 – Where are my customers currently standing?

We all are the sum of our experiences to date. We’ve all had to overcome certain challenges and have more ahead of us before we can say that we have truly “made it,” if that’s even possible.

Do you know what these experiences are for your customer? What achievements are they proud of? How do they feel about where they’re currently standing?

You’ll know exactly who your customers and readers are once you understand these things. Many entrepreneurs, writers or bloggers only have a vague idea who their customers or readers are. And this results in unfocused content and bored prospects.

#2 – What’s on the other side?

Whether your customers are aware of it or not, they expect your product to take them on a journey to the “other side.”

So… what does the “other side” look like for them? What do they want on the other side that they don’t currently have? Why will it make them happy?

This is the “happily ever after” your customers are after. Spending the time to understand how this continues to evade your customers first is an important step in how you frame your product.

It might force you to rethink how you position or sell your product, but that’s better than a generic sales pitch that gets an underwhelming response.

#3 – Why can’t they cross the chasm?

Between where they are now and where they have to go is a gaping chasm.

This chasm represents limiting beliefs holding them back from crossing the gap by themselves. Of the five steps, this is the most important one.

You have to be aware of why they think they can’t cross the chasm. If you don’t acknowledge this, your customer will remain skeptical.

The customer imposes these self-limiting beliefs on your solution. They’re tired of all the claims that turned out to be hot air. This is where you bring in your proof elements to show your customers you can help them cross the chasm.

An important thing to note is that the customers might have tried to cross the chasm themselves multiple times and are hurt by the many failed attempts. As a result, they are more jaded, but it also increases their desire to go to the other side.

Show these people you can help them, and they turn into your evangelist and strong supporter.

In GoodLifeZen.com, Mary Jaksch’s personal development blog, guest poster Eduard Ezeanu suggests four ways to help customers build the self-belief they need to take the first step:

  1. Set bold but realistic goals.
  2. Learn to see your accomplishments.
  3. Cut down on comparing yourself.
  4. Develop yourself.

Doing all or a combination of these can help your customers overcome the gap between their current situation and where they want to be.

#4 – What are the steps on the bridge I need to build for them?

To help them get from where they are to where they want to go, you have to build a bridge.

If the chasm is their self-limiting beliefs, the bridge represents the path they have to take. The bridge will be rickety and seem unstable, but it’s your job to assure them it is safe and do everything in your power to prove it to them.

Skeptics don’t become believers in an instant.

Even with proof right in front of their eyes, they still often reject it. That’s why you have to create “belief steps” that consistently reaffirm their belief.

While the first few steps will be scary to them, with each additional step they take, they grow in confidence and start to believe your solution can help them.

Darren Rowse of Problogger.net explains the steps well in his Blogging For Change series. To take customers from skepticism to conviction, you could:

  • provide evidence and facts
  • begin to reveal a suggested course of action
  • talk about benefits of the course of action that you are suggesting
  • give some ‘How to’ points if relevant
  • invite readers to begin thinking about how they might respond

#5 – Who are you to lead them?

People don’t trust products, they trust people.

Many people don’t associate themselves with their products, instead hide behind a brand. In this day and age where people are exposed to so many sales pitches, seeing someone who is genuine and willing to stand by what they offer isn’t just a breath of fresh air, it’s a prerequisite.

While you do want to make sales, if your true reason for selling your product or service is to help people, your customers sense this.

If you want customers to be loyal to you, you have to be loyal to them first.

It’s one thing to say you’re accountable and responsible for your customers’ well-being, it’s another to actually follow up and speak with them if they say they’re unsatisfied. Ask yourself what you’re currently not doing, which if you were to start doing would make a world of difference and instill immediate confidence in your customers.

If you have the vision and conviction, leadership is the last step. You have to put in the hard yards and keep the faith in yourself.

Lucas Carlson wrote on KISSMetrics.com:

“This venture is not easy and will require a substantial amount of time to implement correctly. The payoff can be huge, but if you aren’t going to put in the time and effort to do it right, I will save you time now and tell you to not even try. Half-hearted efforts will lead to disappointing results.”

Now It’s Your Turn

I strongly encourage you to think deeply about these five questions and revisit them regularly.

While making sales is the ultimate goal, your business lacks purpose by being unaware of the vision that your customers have for themselves.

What sort of vision do your customers have and how have you helped them cross the chasm? Leave us a comment below.

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