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Lighting Fires, Trust and Buying Old Tools

Lighting Fires, Trust and Buying Old Tools

Last week I Facebook messaged Frederick Nijm, one of the founders of, and told him I was planning to write an Addoblog post about the topic of "Trust" and asked him to give me a little guidance.  I pretty much begged him for his help because I was thinking online trust was a big topic to try and write something about, especially because my post would be out there for my buyers to read.  So when I say "big" read into that I meant intimidating and scary (for me as a small seller trying to make a few bucks).  I could write something now like "I'm a trustworthy seller" and explain what I mean by that (especially after reading what Fred had to say) but I feel like most people would tune me out in the blink of an eye.

Fred Facebook messaged me back and said: "Trust online is value. When you concentrate on presence and trust you create advocacy which removes price from the equation."  He added in "Build trust and make more money."  The "trust online is value" part was my favorite and I messaged him back my "Cool" and "ty, you're the man."

So I'm not going to blog about why I feel like you should trust me but more about my take on what Fred said.  Here it goes and I am hoping you will keep on reading this post.  

I don't know if you are like me but I sort of half watch those infomercials on television.  You know, the ones where they are selling exercise equipment or something interesting for household use.  The sales pitches are fun to watch but I really have no interest in what they are selling. The point is I half watch the infomercials for their entertainment value and one of the things I like to check out is how the salesmen/ saleswomen try to inspire me to buy their doodads.  In a sense, they are trying to light a fire under me and to get me to jump up off the recliner, pick up the cellphone and dial their 1-800 number.

I think the key to infomercials is building trust and one of the ways they do it is to get me excited about something new.  I'm usually not interested in their doodads but I don't think that's because I don't trust them as salespeople.  [Sorry about the triple negative in that last sentence.  Awful grammar I know.  The Stones' got away with "I Can't Get No Satisfaction."  I have always liked that phrase BTW]  I see some of these sellers as pretty charismatic individuals and know their marketing just has to be successful otherwise they wouldn't keep buying up television slots.  What they are doing pretty well, I think, is sending out the message "You need this" and "You need to do this in order to get it".  Simpler than that though, I think the infomercials try and sell me on their products by using a salespitch based on what they think I might find useful.  So what is it that makes me go "Yeah, I can use one of those" and "Where's my cell???"  

To get me to buy that doodad I need to have a trusted friend make a recommendation about it.  I trust the people I've met that I've managed to connect with - especially those folks I've been able to share life stories with. If I hear from a trusted friend something like "I bought that doodad and really was happy I got it" I think my reluctance will just evaporate especially if I was somewhat leaning towards being interested.

When I think about online trust I automatically do the "Mom" test.  What I mean by that is I ask myself the question: If I buy that doodad am I going to be able to tell my Mom I bought it and expect a response from her that is close to "Good job Brian, that was a good decision."  If I expect her to say something like "You dummy I can't believe you bought that" I know what NOT to do.  It isn't ever a real conversation though - it's a thought process going on in my head.  In other words and more broadly, trust for me when I go to buy something is a matter of deciding I like the salespitch and more importantly being able to trust myself with the decision to buy it.

I don't think the price has anything to do with it.  Now I'm going to try and explain what I mean by that.

When I think about a purchase I think about the value I will receive from owning it.  Also, I am thinking about the value I will receive down the road like 5 or 10 years from now. I have always been a tinkerer and someone who takes things apart just to see how they work.  Sure I tend to break things in the process and can be absent-minded and lose some of the parts along the way.  I'd say something like 10% of the things I take apart ever get put back together and are useful again.  What does that have to do with my online buying you are probably asking yourself.  Hang in there.

I think the qualities I look for the most when I buy something come from the value I see in the workmanship that went in to the product.  Something I have always found valuable are handmade custom tools like the ones you find in old garages or barns.  Oftentimes I am pretty sure the maker or designer is no longer with us.  I look for signs that the tool was actually carefully designed for a unique purpose.  For example, a custom jig from a woodworkers shop.  Another example would be an old-fashioned modified hand tool for working in the garden that you just don't find in any big box store.  I used to own a pair of bonzai snips that were about a hundred years old and Man o Man I miss them.  The person that I got them from took excellent care of those snips and I felt lucky to have them to use.  They were razor sharp, cut precisely and felt really great in my hand. [Full disclosure: Years ago I got hooked on selling on eBay and somewhat foolishly sold them in an auction I ran.  They went to a Tokyo gardener and I am sure he still has them and uses them daily, so selling them wasn't such a bad thing].  Anyway, getting more to the point I am trying to make, is the value I get out of an online purchase usually has something to do with dependability of a product and I think that comes from the thought that went in to the design of the product.

Wrapping this post up now.  You and I both know that trust is both earned and more precious than gold and I hope my take on "Trust" has helped you to understand a little better what Fred meant by what he said.

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Reader Comments  (23)

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Renagade | August 1st 2011 at 1312224262

Trust is an extremely valuable commodity .. Rare - fragile and priceless .. treat it with care and it will give back to you 100 fold
Pacesetter | August 1st 2011 at 1312224635

Great read and I agree with you, and Addoway Fred-Trust online is Value. I also love old tools and the value in them is always trust-worthy :)
barntiques859 | August 1st 2011 at 1312226095

trust starts with full disclosure as in photos from all aspects highlighting the good points AND the bad points. Trust is saying you will take a return if mutually agreed upon by both parties.
Trust is making the buyer feel they got the best deal despite the price being possibly 5., 10. or 20. more because you took the risk out of the purchase by doing all the above; which instilled a sense of security. Trust is when you start to have return buyers.
Great job on opening this dialog and writing about a worthy issue Brian. Barns
Donna's Stuff & More
Donna's Stuff & More | August 1st 2011 at 1312231904

Great blog, Brian. It's the only way to get those return buyers we treasure!
Tuckerstuff | August 1st 2011 at 1312233208

Great blog on a helpful issue. Thanks for sharing. Just so everybody knows, you can trust me, too.
LouieTheSeller | August 1st 2011 at 1312233885

Is this the same guy that was hesitating writing a blog? This is one great blog! Brian, should be proud of this one.Another way to build trust via social media is to observe the way sellers interact with other sellers. Which leads me to believe Brian J Wood is one of the most trusted men in eCommerce.

Your Friend,
Fredrick Nijm
Fredrick Nijm | August 1st 2011 at 1312235857

Thank you for putting this together and even using my quote. I wholeheartedly believe in trust beyond any cost of an item. If I can trust you, I am going to buy. Maybe I will ask for a cheaper price, but that's a maybe. I am definitely going to buy from you in the end. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this with us.
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Lori at Wild Rags Place | August 1st 2011 at 1312239485

wonderful read, thanks so much for sharing.
Royal Presence
Royal Presence | August 1st 2011 at 1312242788

Very nice! You got it.

T o
R eally
U nderstand the
S cience of
T rust

As sellers, we are obliged to understand our customers and provide them with trust as best we can.

“These good acts give pleasure, but how it happens that they give us pleasure? Because nature hath implanted in our breasts a love of others, a sense of duty to them, a moral instinct. In short, which prompts us irresistibly to feel and succor their distresses.”

Thomas Jefferson, 1814
Ayuni Gifts of the World
Ayuni Gifts of the World | August 2nd 2011 at 1312311812

wow - that's a great blog. alot of good points, and alot of food for thought.
I also like the point that barntique made -- a liberal return policy is so important for inspiring trust.... so many times I have thought of taking the line that alot of online sellers take -- "All sales are final" -- but I don't, because I think that a buyer should see that I am trustworthy enough to state up front - if you don't like it, I'll take it back. That's important for a trustworthy seller. | August 2nd 2011 at 1312316586

You know, I used to be semi-addicted to QVC. Seems like I got a package from them every day. Thinking back, I realize that I only bought from a single host. After reading your post, I realize it was because I trusted her.

Brian I think your point is the most important one in the world of online selling. If people don't trust you, they're not going to buy from you no matter what you're selling at whatever fantastic price.

Thanks for reminding us.

Indizona Variety
Indizona Variety | August 2nd 2011 at 1312341504

Every time I buy anything online, I am putting my trust in a seller I have never met and I realize that my buyers are putting their trust into somebody whom they have never met either. It is very important not to break that trust. Your blog is nicely done. Good job.
Brian J Wood
Brian J Wood | August 4th 2011 at 1312465536

Thanks for the great comments everyone. I'm super happy that you quoted TJ RoyalPresence. I like everything that TJ said, especially how his words made me think more deeply about the value "win-win transactions" both give and get. TJ was cool
Linda Jordan
Linda Jordan | August 4th 2011 at 1312465872

I've always felt that the integrity of the people who buy and sell is of the utmost importance, right up there with the quality of the items sold. It goes back to the good old days when a person's word was their bond. A great post!!
Brian J Wood
Brian J Wood | August 4th 2011 at 1312468839

tx Cabana. WTG! and that comment was a thrill to read
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Joyceb | August 4th 2011 at 1312482876

Informercials inspiring trust. Now that is one point of view I would not have thought about! I agree with Fred that trust is a value and would take it one step further. Trust is a marketable commodity for micro sellers and huge corporations.

Enjoyed your perspective, thanks
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LindaH | October 17th 2012 at 1350459390

Branding yourself should be a top priority online and offline. People follow people that people are following "I need to have a trusted friend make a recommendation about it". That's a fact anywhere you put it! I love this post Brian!
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MCatherine   | November 27th 2012 at 1354052720

Trust is key to every relationship, online or face-2-face. Thank you for putting a fine-face on the topic Brian.
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Linda Kelly Lee | November 27th 2012 at 1354061583

Thank you Brian for your words of wisdom. Great post!
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Sue Zupnyk | November 27th 2012 at 1354062008

Great words of wisdom Brian
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carol speake | November 27th 2012 at 1354070757

Thanks for sharing this Brian.
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Katherine Kotaw   | August 10th 2013 at 1376157739

Love the "Mom test" approach to the trust issue. It gets to the core of what it takes to both earn trust -- and discern what is trustworthy. It's not enough to say, "trust me" or "I guarantee satisfaction." You really have to make it an ongoing crusade to prove you're trustworthy. Well done, Brian.
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Janice Crockett | January 14th 2014 at 1389738764

Excellent blog. A thought provoking piece on the very backbone of online selling. At the end of the day, trust on the part of the buyer and seller is the basis of any transaction.

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