If you’re at all familiar with legendary marketer Jay Abraham’s school of marketing, you won’t be surprised that Jay’s one and only customer acquisition strategy is TRUST.
Generating trust is more than a tactic. It’s not any one thing you do.
It’s everything you do—from marketing and communications to contract negotiation to customer support.
Trust is the foundation for building relationships. What’s more, it helps prospective customers reach a buying decision and increases the lifetime value of a customer.
Sounds good, right? So tell me, how do you go about building trust with someone looking for financial services?
I can tell you that after one hour in the hot seat with Jay, I have the answer.
And that’s the secret I want to share with you today.
Trust Needs to be Real
When Jay invited me to present at the Elite Marketing Mastery conference in Tokyo, I was honored. Jay is a legend in marketing and a personal hero.
But then he said, “By the way, Jeremiah, I want us to do a one-hour conversation in front of attendees so I can pick your brain about digital marketing.”
My elation evaporated and gave way to full-blown panic.
Not because I lacked practical advice on digital marketing, but because this was THE Jay Abraham. He trusted me, and I couldn’t let him down.
So over the next day and a half, I set out to be the most brilliant me I could be.
I thought about digital marketing strategies for the full 13-hour flight to Tokyo. And when I finally got to my hotel room and could review the list of attendees, I stayed up all night evaluating their business websites too.
I left no stone unturned, and got no sleep because of it.
By the time I met up with Jay shortly before our session, I was running on pure adrenalin.
He must have seen my deer-in-the-headlights stare because he said, “Now I don’t want you to talk about everything you know, Jeremiah. Just speak from your heart and share your experience.”
So that’s what we did.
I’ve thought about that day many times since. And honestly, I think that was the day I began to appreciate the full power of trust and all it entails.
Far from getting my seat scorched, I collected several takeaways that I share with you now:
#1 Deliver Value that Others Want and Need
The late, legendary salesman and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar once said, “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
In even simpler terms, it’s not about you!
Value starts with a shift in your focus… away from you and your products/services, and toward the wants, needs and pain points of your customers and prospects.
When you stop trying to sell and start communicating, asking questions and above all listening, you can bring value to every interview, podcast, whitepaper, swipe file, reading list, thought piece and PowerPoint you create.
Then, trust becomes easier to achieve, and content easier to develop.
I’ve adopted this principle myself. And while I’m a long way from the 800 hours of free content that comprise The 50 Shades of Jay, I anticipate a future Zen and the Art of Jeremiah.
#2 Move the Free Line
I’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating:
The sharpest marketers give away things other people charge for.
As insurance and financial professionals, when you give away better information, more ideas and practical strategies, your prospects are going to get a much better understanding of the wealth of value they’ll receive when they sign up for the products and services you’re actually charging for.
In fact, the law of reciprocity tells us that they’ll feel more inclined to sign up because you’ve already given them so much help that a part of their mind feels that they owe you something in return.
But that only works when you give away something that feels valuable to people.
To generate that value, you’ve got to solve problems—not the whole thing, but smaller bits and pieces of the problems your customers are facing.
And you have to do this for free.
Move the free line, and you generate trust.
You also make it harder for other agents to compete with you— on integrity and genuine desire to help, you’ll stand head and shoulders above the crowd.
When you’re literally handling people’s futures, that’s a strong advantage to have.
#3 Build Your Credibility Factor
If your marketing budget is small, look to leverage the brands of others.
One of my favorite techniques is based on processing fluency, and takes advantage of the brain’s ability to process quickly the information, ideas and images it recognizes.
In short, when you can create a legitimate connection between you and a well-recognized brand, respected organization or popular icon, your value and trust are immediately elevated.
And you immediately become the better choice.
While you’ll rarely get permission to use another organization’s logo, if you’ve appeared on a television network or radio program, written for a prestigious publication or given a presentation at a recognized event, you can trigger processing fluency by saying, “As seen on…”
It’s an instant credibility builder.
#4 It Really (Really) Is Not About You
Empathy is an almost irresistible trigger for trust.
When you start to see problems, pain points, stumbling blocks and even opportunities through the eyes of a prospect or customer, you can close the gap between you and “them.”
You wouldn’t walk up to a stranger at a party, shake hands and lean straight into your sales pitch without getting to know them at least a little bit first.
And yet it’s a common mistake online.
How often have you connected with someone on LinkedIn only to receive a sales pitch message within minutes… before they have the slightest idea what problems you may or may not have?
When your digital instincts are empathic, previously transactional sales become consultative processes.
Similarly, empathy-based marketing leads to value-added content that helps buyers throughout the whole buyer’s journey.
And that builds trust and grows into a genuine relationship.
You’ve probably heard that jokes can break the ice. And that a funny story can make someone appear vulnerable and more human. You may have even used this technique.
Just remember, a joke or story is only an ice breaker. To gain trust, you need to follow through with empathy, understanding and value.
#5 Trust is the Ultimate Opportunity
Finally, I’ll leave you with this thought. It’s simple; it’s also incredibly ironic.
We all want trust. We want to earn the trust of others. And we want to trust those around us.
Yet trust is in remarkably short supply these days.
We’re facing a crisis of trust.
After almost 20 years of measuring the public’s trust toward business, media, government and non-government organizations (NGOs), the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer found that for the first time trust had declined across all institutions.
Only 52% of those surveyed trusted businesses to do the right thing. And I’m sorry to say that those numbers are not improving.
But there is one bit of good news in this. The failure of others is your opportunity to set yourself apart from the crowd in the best possible way.
As trust continues to erode, buck the trend and focus on building trust – the #1 Customer Acquisition Strategy for financial advisors and insurance agents in the digital age.