Build authority and trust with your customers by talking about your industry ‘Warts and all’


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Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Warts and all’?

What it means is: ‘Tell me everything and don’t leave out the less appealing bits’.

The origin is attributed to Oliver Cromwell when he was sitting having his portrait painted back in 1660. You can read an account of how the phrase came into origin here. I thought it was interesting but maybe that’s just me

Now, you may be asking yourself: What has this got to do with business and growth and customers and all of that other good stuff.

Well, here’s what I believe.

There are many industries that are seen, by their customers, as being:

  • Wolves in sheep’s clothing (hence the image above)
  • Expensive
  • Unreliable
  • Bad at service
  • Confusing
  • etc etc

Note: Please forgive the mixing of two metaphors here it’s just that I thought they worked well together to illustrate my point.

However, I think that, for someone in that industry or local market, it offers an opportunity to build trust and authority. How? Well, I think that just because a customer has some concerns about your industry does not mean that they do not want to buy your product or service. They just want someone (you?) to step up and assuage their concerns (I wrote a comment recently on this issue across at Guy Stephens blog on his post Social customer care: Random thoughts on complaining and ‘real-time’). Whether, this is through your website, your blog, your marketing material, your white papers, the words that your customer service and sales people speak or other areas it doesn’t matter but it’s up to you to take their concerns away and when you do this you will build trust and authority in the minds of your customers.

For example:

  • If you sell used cars then maybe your customers fears are about reliability, warranties, car history, the hard sell and service. If so, then write about that and address those fears directly.
  • If you sell software systems and your customers worry about integration, training and that they will be buying a Rolls Royce when all they need is a Mini. If that’s the case then talk about that.
  • If you sell….whatever. Address your customers fears and concerns. Talk about your industry ‘warts and all’ and you will build trust, authority and increase their likelihood that they will buy again and again from you.

Do you have ‘warts’ in your industry? Could you build trust and authority by talking about your industry ‘warts and all’?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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