Lighting Fires, Trust and Buying Old Tools
Last week I Facebook messaged Frederick Nijm, one of the founders of Addoway.com, 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.