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CREATE TRUST –

Be the Brand Customers Count On

Does your brand inspire trust? If I were to poll a group of buyers—current and prospective customers—and ask which brands in the building products industry are considered trusted sources, would yours make the list?

Before you answer, remember this: It’s not enough just to be true to your brand promise—to do what you say you’ll do in your marketing messages, then rely on word of mouth from satisfied customers to inspire trust market-wide.

To be perceived as trustworthy, you have to communicate what you’re doing for your customers, how you’re doing it and why. Tell the truth—not in corporate speak, but in a human voice. And make it easy for customers who trust in your brand to tell others about their experiences with you.

Here’s how.

Give your customers a forum for talking to each other, then monitor the discussion.

Establish groups on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networks, and assign someone on your staff to regularly scan and participate in conversations about your brand. Demonstrating that you care enough to be involved inspires trust, as does promptly responding to negative comments and concerns voiced by customers.

Organize events to bring customers together.

Hold a charity golf tournament, a product demo or a sponsored event during a trade show, such as PCBC, BIS, AWFS and IWF. Have salespeople present, but keep it low-key. The idea is to bring customers and prospects together, then step out of the way and let them talk to each other. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to meet and network, and they’ll remember who made it possible. Another trust-builder.

Support causes that relate to your industry.

A company in the building products industry might want to connect with an organization such as HomeAid, a non-profit provider of housing for today’s homeless, and show community support. This kind of association has societal benefits: community outreach, customer involvement and making a real difference in the lives of families in your community or region. All of which build trust.

Be approachable and available to customers.

The simple act of publishing the email addresses and phone numbers of senior staff—not just those in sales and fulfillment—sends a powerful message to customers and prospects alike. Wouldn’t you be more likely to trust a company whose management is willing to listen to you?

Seek out and share customer success stories.

Ask your salespeople to identify customers whose businesses have grown, at least in part, as a result of their relationship with your brand. Then share those stories in your print and online advertising, sales material, e-newsletter, blog and website.

Example: Louis and Company, a nationwide distributor of specialty supplies for cabinetmakers and furniture manufacturers, worked closely with Oregon-based customer A-dec to create a same-day delivery system for the laminates, hardware and other materials they use daily, but don’t have space for in their warehouse. This customized system of order and delivery has allowed A-dec to grow its business without expanding its facility—and made Louis and Company one of A-dec’s top three suppliers. A win for both companies, and a great success story for Louis and Company to share in its sales collateral.

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Increasing the trust your customers have in you, your company, your products—your brand—is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase sales.

Companies who command trust have the advantage; they can retain the best people, inspire customer loyalty, reach out successfully to new markets and provide more innovative products and services.

Here’s to creating a sensation! Let’s get started.

Allison DeFord, Trailblazer
allison@feltmarketing.com

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