I had a meeting with a friend yesterday who runs a business that requires a tremendous amount of trust from his clients. I asked him how he gets people to trust him while conducting his business over the Internet and I think his answer was just brilliant. He lays it all out on his about page. He asks the question “How can you trust me?” He then encourages his potential clients to do a Google search on his name and all permutations of his name. Any existing review pulled up with his name is positive. He then asks a simple question – “Why would I risk a negative review just to make a few extra dollars?”
Oh, the power of the review system.
So, his strategy is to put the potential client in charge of the research. He doesn’t try to sell himself as he says most of the time that ends of backfiring. But when the potential client is in charge of the research and can see reviews left on multiple 3rd-party websites, the trust level goes up for his business.
I once asked my grad school professor how I should approach a particular sensitive topic about my business. He said to paint it red. In other words, lay it all out on the table. Paint it red so that it is visible. If the hidden fact were to ever come out, it would look a lot worse than just being up front and honest about it from the beginning.
I come across a number of people who run businesses all by themselves yet all of their website copy refers to “we.” There is no “we” in the company, it is only the one person. I understand that there is a big motivation to make the company seem like an establishment instead of something being run out of a garage, but with today’s technology, it is pretty easy to find out the true nature of a business. I know situations are all different, but my usual suggestion is to be honest with where you are in your company, how you conduct your business, and how many people work with you to conduct that business.