Developing Trust Layers

Once you have built up a trusted relationship with your customers, you will experience easy and enjoyable business with them. You will be able to communicate your passion and work with customers that use your products and services as you had intended. Only with a trusted relationship will you be able to deliver the value and results you have promised.

But trust only comes with a growing relationship bonded with regular and reliable communication. To build trust, the challenge is to carry each of your customers along an evolving path that continually delivers appropriate and valuable information.

Regular and reliable communication can be managed using a CRM (customer relationship management) tool. However, to receive the trust of your customers you will need a way of managing the information you provide.

Introducing Trust Layers

To develop trust, your back-end marketing strategies need to achieve the following:

  • A natural order

    If you arrange your products and services in a sequence that appears in a natural order, this will complement your efforts to educate your customers by building on their previous experiences.

  • Upgrade paths

    A decision to upgrade will only be made if the immediate benefits are clear and the time is right. A natural progression of upgrades will maintain the momentum, preventing a stall and the introduction of timing issues.

  • Attainment

    Putting your products and services in a progressive order will help your customer see where they are in terms of levels of involvement with you. By introducing branding that reflects customer achievement, their commitment to you will increase.

  • Relevant offers

    Each of your customers will have different requirements and will expect individual attention. Broadcasting offers to your customers must be targeted, relevant and appropriate to their requirements. The consequences of making inappropriate offers will risk reducing your built up trust.

Trust layers are a way of categorising your products and services and associated information into distinct layers that target customers based on their level of trust.

The trust layers should be created to make communication with your customers easier. Instead of communicating on an individual basis, you can band your customers to a specific trust layer and make appropriate assumptions about their knowledge and their requirements.

Here are Five Suggested Trust Layers

  • Trust Layer 1: New customer
  • Trust Layer 2: Adoption of basic products and services
  • Trust Layer 3: Mastery of products and services
  • Trust Layer 4: Adoption of methods
  • Trust Layer 5: Strong client/supplier relationships

The information within each layer will be to help the customer adjust to your methods and will require ongoing support.

Starting from simple impartial advice, you can build your first layer by introducing packaged products and services that offer compelling value. You can then develop your layers using the suggestions below:

Suggestions on how to develop your trust layers

  • Identify your trust layers

    The number of trust layers should be based on your customer types and what range of products and services you provide during the development of the relationships with those customer types. The trust layers should be abstract enough to cater for all your customer types. The products and services you offer within each layer should be applicable to all customers you have banded to that layer.

  • Communication within the layers

    The purpose behind the information you provide for each trust layer will be:

    • Planting the seed: the customer will be adjusted to the idea of progressing through your trust layers
    • Discuss how to use the products: educate the customer on how to use your products
    • Outline case studies and experiences: demonstrate how others use your products and services
    • Give away samples: make no obligation offers to help your customer adopt more products and services
  • Identify your products and services

    Your products and services can be used throughout all your trust layers, but there may be some products that are out of reach or not currently relevant for some customers. Decide which products belong in which trust layer using the list below:

    • Consider your product types in terms of repeat orders (consumable?), seasonal or periodic, or once only product orders
    • Consider your product types in terms of a hierarchy, a tiered sequence or optional add-ons
    • Break down your products into their basic essential elements and devise upgrade paths
    • Introduce additional products and services that build on existing achievements
    • Offer samples or basic introductory packages that complements their existing solutions but enables them to move to the next trust layer
  • Branding and labelling your products

    Labelling your trust layers will inform your customers their current position in the relationship. It will be natural for your customers to either get comfortable with this label, or be willing to move with the flow and follow the path of attainment and move to the next trust layer.

  • Creating offers

    Develop offers that are specific to a given trust layer. The offer should either be packaged add-ons and products relevant to this layer, or introducing samples of the next layer. The banded customers in this layer will value this offer and take it seriously.

    If this offer was broadcast to all customers, it would not be suprising to recognise that the customers in the lower layers would ignore it and see it as a sales drive, and the customers in the higher layers would ignore it as they either already have it, or have previously chosen to dismiss it. In both cases, the trust you have built up will be lost on these customers.

By building layers of trust between you and your customers, you can build a product portfolio to suit the situation and the relationship with your customers. As your customers begin to trust you more, you can make more available to them in terms of delivering higher value products and services.

Discover More about Jumpsite

Review your existing website and how it is organised. Investigate the structure of your menus and determine how well it responds to the questions your prospects and customers tend to ask. Discover how to implement these methods by following the Jumpsite TL2 programme. Call 0800 107 4662 and register for the next workshop.