How to Build Trust with Your Audience

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I want to talk about the “under promise over deliver” cliche in today’s post, but we’re gonna be talking about it through the Know, Like & Trust lens.

Let’s just call it out right here at the beginning, the best way to kill your Know, Like & Trust factor is not living up to expectations.

Now there’s a caveat, of course, it doesn’t mean that you need to run yourself ragged over delivering, you have to have healthy boundaries as a service business owner, or you will burn out. But setting expectations is your responsibility. You can do that with onboarding, you can do that in your contracts. You can also do that with your content, I talk a lot about how content should be a filter, you should get a lot more no’s from your content, then you should get yeses.

The reason I like using content as a filter is you don’t want to deal with certain kinds of people. The beauty of setting expectations sounds like common sense, right? But I want to read you a short post I saw on Facebook. These are actual complaints from Thomas Cook Vacations. I don’t know what kind of people Thomas Cook is marketing their work to, but these are hilarious.

  • “On my holiday to Goa, India I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food too much.”
  • “Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg slicer in the drawers.
  • “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England, it took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair.”
  • “We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.” 

The sheer stupidity here is kind of astounding to me. Yes, I am calling it out. These are really stupid complaints. But also these are real people, and they might be part of your audience.

So keep that in mind. It’s why we like to have filters in place and set good expectations. This is also why we have contracts because a handshake should be good enough, but it’s not always good enough. We need to set expectations up front.

Now I have talked a lot about trust on the show, and you know, with good reason , it’s the third word in the Know, Like & Trust Show, but it’s also the most important when it comes to converting clients. You can build an audience with know and like but not you can’t book someone without trust.

The first time I heard this concept was from a couple named David and Quinn Cheung. They were wedding photographers at the time and my husband and I were both wedding photographers as well. When we first came together, each having our own separate businesses and decided to start working together, we had a lot of, shall we say, kinks to work out. I hear from people all the time that they don’t think they could work with their spouse there, they’re pretty sure that there would be a murder in the process. I always laugh because my husband and I actually joined our businesses long before we got married. We had to work all of that out, you know, new relationship jitters and business mergers at the same time. It was such a fun process.

One of the really good things we did was contact David and Quinn when they were running a business sales and style workshop and we asked them to do a one off version with us because we felt like we needed that, we wanted to start our business off on the right foot and one of those questions that David and Quinn asked us has always stuck with me. They asked, “What are you selling?” and I was like, oh, A+, I got this, “wedding photos.”

Dave was like, “Nope, you are wrong. You are selling trust. You are selling the idea that when this couple gives you money, you will show up on the day they asked you to and deliver the photos that they are expecting.” and that is always stuck with me.

I have gone through a couple better business iterations since then, but that is what we are selling trust? Are you going to create a website your client hired you to? Are you going to offer the nutrition plan they are expecting? They are trusting you to do these things.

In addition to selling trust, you have to answer their number one question. And that question isn’t necessarily what you think it is. It’s not, hey, can this nutrition program work for me? But can this nutrition program work for me right now in my life?

Because here’s the deal, friends, real talk. Everybody thinks that they are unique. It’s human condition, right? We all think we’re so unique that nobody else has experienced the exact same business problems that we are experiencing at this moment. We all think that everything we’re doing has never been done before, in exactly the same way. So to earn this trust, we need to make sure that our audience or potential clients can answer that question. Can this work for me right now in my situation?

Now, once we’ve built that trust, then it comes to under promising and over delivering.

Now, it’s easy to under promise and over deliver when you are in person, when you’re selling face to face or voice to voice, it’s easier to build that trust. But it’s also easier to sell, because when you hear a voice inflection change, or you see a facial expression, you can change your pitch, you can come at it from a different angle. When you sense that somebody is on the fence, you can sense why and see if it makes sense to alter what’s included.

But this doesn’t work when you scale. It is why so many one to one businesses moving into that one to many business model fail, their tried and true methods don’t work at scale. It’s one of the reasons why I love working within this  segment of business owners. Maybe they’re moving from 1:1 to doing courses or group programs, but they are realizing they can’t alter their pitch based on someone’s facial expression. They’re realizing that they can’t add in an unexpected bonus in order to over deliver. They are missing out on that personal connection that gives them the ability to do this.

This, by the way, is why you see so many net evaluations on sales pages, it’s a shortcut to building trust. Now, I’ll be honest with you guys, I actually really struggle with this. I am not going to stop a $10,000 value on a program I sell for $2,800, even if I know it’s certainly worth $10,000 if you apply it. If I know that I can book more than $10,000 worth of jobs in a month using the framework that I sell for $2,800, it’s totally worth $10,000 because you can use that framework again and again and stack up those $10k months, right? Of course you can.

But I can’t properly express that on a sales page. I can’t have a whole paragraph saying I know that if you follow this, you will earn this because that’s an income claim I cannot deliver because the person reading it might not have the ability to do that. So I struggle with evaluations on sales pages.

Instead, one of the ways you build trust online is by showing, “Hey, I have done this before. Here is this case study, you can apply this to”. Of course, there’s an ethical boundary here and we need to be really, really careful about not stepping over that boundary. That’s another way that you can kill that trust factor.

Now, back to sales pages and money back guarantees.

You’ll see money back guarantees on sales pages so often now, especially when you would never see that same money back guarantee if it were a 1:1 service instead of a sales page of a one to many service.

I do offer a 30 day money back guarantee on the Show Up System. Why? 30 days is enough time for someone to figure out it works. And, frankly, if someone can’t be bothered to try something in 30 days, and they’re going to be someone who blames me for that, iit’s probably not somebody I want in my world. Bless and release, I will refund them and take them off my list. They don’t get to buy from me again. It’s not a problem. I want to build an audience of action takers.

Remember last week’s episode of the podcast? Action cures fear. I want that audience to continue working with me. So yeah, I’ll refund them. Even though I know my product has value. Now, I won’t refund someone who does 1:1 content planning with me. If they’ve invested top dollar, I’ve created the entire plan for them. All they have to do is show up once a week and create a video or record a podcast or write a blog post and everything else gets taken care of for them, so that they are not spending all of their time creating content. If I do all of that for them, and they don’t use it, that’s on them. It’s not me, I have done everything I can for them.

So that’s the difference between money back guarantees. Yes, it helps with trust. Yes, it helps with under promising and over delivering. Now, you do have to balance what you promise upfront for sales purposes to make the sale sound like a good idea with what you’ll do on the back end.

In a couple weeks, I have an interview with Robin Carberry coming up and we will talk all about onboarding, and how the onboarding process can affect that Know, Like & Trust Factor. Onboarding and offboarding for that matter, really increases your ability to under promise and over deliver. But you have to balance what you’re promising upfront with what you can actually deliver. In planning, you need to be able to know what can you over deliver later, what can you take out of the original promise right now and include later on the back end so that they feel really cared for by you. But the lack of that in the original sales promise isn’t going to be a hurdle to them buying. That’s the balance that you have to figure out here.

The most important part of under promising and over delivering is that you have to have healthy boundaries.

I am someone who actually has really good boundaries. If I don’t want to do something, like I genuinely don’t want to do it, I will say no, but I know people who cannot do that. They really, really struggle with saying no, sometimes it’s cultural. Sometimes it’s personality based.

But if you know that’s you, if you know you struggle with boundaries, you need to set up systems around this. For example, every client that books you gets the same gift a week after signing their contract. Have that system in place so that way you’re equally serving your clients.

That’s the kind of thing you can do to have healthy boundaries around client calls, too. Most of my 1:1 marketing clients have the option of doing a once a week half hour strategy call with me. Every once in a while that 30 minute call will go to 40 minutes, but I get to decide whether that happens or not though. If I were someone that struggled with boundaries, I would probably have a hard stop at that 30 minutes written into the contract and probably as a reminder, on the client call booking form, so that the expectations are really clear upfront.

However, if you have solid boundaries, if you’re someone like me, you do need to be aware that sometimes a little compassion is needed, even if that means overstepping your boundaries. We’re all human, we all get to change. Sometimes things happen that are outside of the normal, something you couldn’t have predicted. So you have good boundaries? Or do you not and you need to set things up for yourself so that you’re not either too lenient or too strict, but can find that balance again?

Ultimately, your Know, Like & Trust factor is going to depend on your clients and your audience’s perception of you. It depends on their experience.

Now, you get to shape that experience by how you package things, how you present your services, how organized you are. You get to shape that experience by using your content as a filter in the first place. I would argue that most people listening to this podcast episode have heard that I have very clear boundaries, and they’re probably not going to try and take advantage of me. They’re probably not going to try and overstep because they already understand.

That is my hard stop. My content is a filter. In this case, my content is telling you exactly what to expect of me. Those are the kinds of things that you want to kind of take into consideration when you’re setting up your under promise and over deliver system and building up your Know, Like & Trust factor.

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