The first order of business in marketing (and in sales) should be to create a relationship with your prospective customers. If you can create a connection with them that enables them to begin to trust you, then you are on the way to getting a new customer. Fundamentally, they must believe (trust) that your product or service will meet their needs.
One of the primary skills that good sales people use to develop a relationship with their customers is active listening. Active listening means that you actually feed back what you hear a prospect say so that both of your are certain that you have heard what they said. The act of repeating or summarizing what a prospect says to you is in itself a powerful nonverbal communication. You are telling them with your actions that you pay attention, that you hear and understand them and that you are able to focus on their needs instead of just your own. These are powerful messages to transmit to a prospect and they will typically reward you by giving you their business if you indeed have something they want or need.
Have you ever had a conversation with a sales person who does all the talking and spends too much of that time talking about themselves or their company? Their nonverbal communication conveys that they are more important than you and that they don’t really need to listen to what you want. Do they make you want to buy from them? Usually not. Their presentation often comes across as arrogant and self-consumed. It doesn’t engender a lot of trust.
When it comes to developing the messaging and content for your website, you want to be the first type of sales person, not the second. How do you do that using only words and visuals without the ability to interact with your customer?
You need to know your customer’s needs and concerns and you need to reflect them back without them ever saying anything. If you can do this accurately, it will have the same effect as active listening – prospects will begin to trust you and be interested in what you have to offer.
Unfortunately, most website content is totally company-centric instead of customer-centric. Here’s a typical example:
Headline: “Welcome to ABC Automotive Repair”
Opening text: “Thank you for visiting our website. We have been in business since 1992 and pride ourselves on providing the best automotive repair service in the county. “
There’s no connection being made with the customer – nothing to let them know that we understand their needs and have solutions for them. Here’s a simple rewrite:
Headline: “Do you need a mechanic you can trust to fix only what’s broken and do it at a fair price?”
Opening text: “You’ve got a problem – your car or truck needs repair but you don’t have the time to get three quotes just to make sure that your mechanic isn’t trying to sell you more than you need. At ABC automotive, we believe that the only way to stay in business for as long as we have is to be honest and to charge a fair price.”
Writing customer-centric content will go a long ways towards convincing your prospects that they can trust you.