The Secret to a Successful Online Business: It’s All About Building Relationships

By , The Solo-CEO: Content Marketing Strategist

Solo-E Certified Solo Entrepreneur Expert

Terri Zwierzynski - The Solo-CEO: Content Marketing Strategist

People buy from those they know and trust. Nowhere is this more true than on the Internet, where you may never even meet anyone in person. Establishing a trust relationship with your potential online clients takes time, but it is well worth the effort!

Think about the last time you bought a product or service online, that had a substantial positive impact on your work or life in some way. If you were spending a good chunk of change (and perhaps investing a good bit of your time) on that purchase, chances are you did some research first: reading online forums and reviews to see what others had to say about them; contacting them directly with questions and observing how quick and helpful (and polite) their response was; maybe even buying a smaller product or service from them first. All to determine if you could trust this online business to deliver what they promise.

Your potential online clients are no different! They are going to want to know if they can trust you to deliver, too. Here are three specific ways you can work on building trust relationships online, and how each will help your business:

1.     Get to know your customers. This helps you more deeply understand what it is they need – making it a lot easier to tell them how what you are selling is going to meet their needs. Find out where they “hang” out, on discussion forums, social networks, etc., and get involved. Don’t just schmooze or try to sell your product right then and there — instead, add value to the conversation. If you are doing it right, you’ll be doing a whole lot more listening than talking.

2.     Connect with your customer on a personal level. Let them see you as a person, one who has some things in common with them. People will trust you, and ultimately buy from you, if they feel you are like them. This means being sincere and transparent – not pretending or making something up. If you can’t make that trust connection with one particular person, don’t force it – move on to someone else.

3.     Keep up the trust relationship. The relationship doesn’t stop after the sale! Clients who know and like you, and have benefited from what you have sold them, will tell others about you! It will be easy for them to recommend you because they are recommending a trusted vendor, not an impersonal business or product. If you’ve done a good job of providing them with something that makes their job or life easier, they won’t be able to wait to tell someone else!

Terri Zwierzynski, MBA (UNC-Chapel Hill) became a corporate refugee in 2001, after 15 years of servitude employment. After her initial shock at being unemployed, she vowed to “never work for an idiot again!” and decided to be her own boss (and try to live up to that vow!) She launched in 2003 to provide a quality selection of online resources for building a Solo Entrepreneur business, from hand-picked, proven, truly Expert coaches, consultants, trainers and implementers - mentors she personally trusts.

© Copyright 2009 Terri Zwierzynski

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