Tell Them Who You Really Are
There is a lot of talk about building loyalty and trust on the
Internet. Various strategies and techniques have been discussed,
different strategies orchestrated. Yet, it seems the majority of
people miss the main ingredient of this trust-building process:
The old advice "give before asking" applies here, as well. To
earn someone's trust, we need to trust first. Just as people
are preconditioned to smile in response to someone else's smile,
we are naturally interested in people who display a genuine
interest in us, and we find it easier those who trust us first.
A friend of mine will not share a picture of herself with
visitors because she feels too unattractive. Another friend
doesn't even want to disclose that she *is* a woman because
she feels that some people will not take a female-owned
business seriously enough. One of my male friends, a Black
American, shared with me that he will never show his photo on the
web, because he knows that some people will refuse to buy from
him only because of the color of his skin.
I even know a business owner who is so concerned about the
possibility of being harassed that he doesn't display his name,
phone number or address on his website (funny thing is that the
first thing you will see when you visit his domain is the
annoying java script box asking you for your own name).
I agree that, sadly, some people refuse to do business with a
woman only because she is a woman. And there are too many of
those who will not buy from a person of color. Some buyers want
to deal only with a large company, even if they know that you
will solve their problem for less money. No matter how good you
are, some people will reject you for a very superficial reason.
That's fine. A blessing in disguise, really. Consider that *they*
didn't qualify to do business with you - not vice versa. After
all, why would *you* want to do business with someone like that?
The Internet is a huge place, full of wonderful, progressive
people with imagination. People who are able to make intelligent
and rational decisions based on facts and on their own values.
Look for these kind of contacts on the Internet. Build your
website and your Internet presence with them in mind - not with
the others. And once they come to you, don't alienate them by
hiding your face and by telling them half truths. Trust their
intelligence and common sense.
The more truthful you are with your true prospects and customers,
the more comfortable, safe, and non-threatening they feel with
you. Don't be afraid of being vulnerable. A few people might be
turned off by some of your characteristics, some might even try
to ridicule you. But those you would really like to do business
with in the long run will recognize who you are, will identify
with you, and will be inspired to trust you.
Share with visitors who you really are - show them your values,
your photograph, even your shortcomings. People will respect you
for this more than you might think and they will drawn to you.
Ironically, it is one of the major trust building factors.