People do business with those they trust. That trust can be developed in many ways. If they can visit your place of business, see you face to face, get comfortable with you, and know they can come to you if they have a problem, they will be more likely to trust you and to buy from you.
But what if you do business with people over the web, or by phone or mail? How can you build trust?
Of course, it is important to provide excellent products and services. Whenever customers decide to do business with you, they will know their trust was well-placed.
Here are some ways you can encourage them to make that first purchase:
Let people know you are for real. Put your name on your website and in your ads. Show your picture.
Give customers ways to reach you—email, phone, fax by email with Gmail, pager, cell phone, physical address, mailing address—as many as are appropriate. And respond when they contact you.
Offer a guarantee. Let buyers know they have recourse if they are not satisfied. You’ll fix it, replace it, or give their money back. Then, honor your guarantee. (Note: You don’t have to agree to unreasonable demands from customers, but do what you can to make it right and make them happy.)
Use testimonials, from real people, with names attached. People like to buy from businesses others have given their “seal of approval.”
Make information available. Publish information in brochures, articles, and on your website. Answer questions honestly. Make sure the most common questions you hear are answered in your written materials.
In summary: Be open and honest. Be accessible. Say what you will do, then do what you say.