You seem like someone I can trust, so I’ll take it, she said. A surprising number of people have said the same thing. After talking with me for a few minutes on the phone, I estimate at least 90% of callers end up making a purchase. So what is it that closed the deal? I earned their trust.
Why is trust so important?
Trust is important because people want to purchase things from a person or business that they trust. They don’t know if you are hiding information about the item they are interested in. They are asking themselves why this person is selling this item. Has it been mistreated? Has a cat urinated on it? Is it broken? People are asking these questions and more.
People are also trying to decide if they will be safe carrying out a transaction with you. They need to trust that you aren’t going to harm them. Unfortunately, many people have a negative view of Craigslist because each time someone is robbed or harmed during a Craigslist transaction, it gets featured on the local and national news outlets. Never mind that one is more likely to be run over by a golf cart (I have no proof other than my thousands of pleasant transactions), people are still afraid. So it’s our job to calm those fears, and earn people’s trust.
How to earn someone’s trust on Craigslist
1. Let your pictures show that you have nothing to hide.
People that are trying to hide dents or blemishes in items often exclude the damaged part of the item from the image. Take pictures with the full item in view and take some pictures zoomed in.
2. Use your description to remove common fears that a person might have.
This communicates that you are thinking of them which in and of itself will build up trust. If there are any significant flaws with the item, mention them. One person might be turned away, but another could care less about a scratch, and in the end they will appreciate your honesty.
I always tell people they can see the appliances working before they purchase. Most people don’t take me up on that offer, but the offer alone communicates that I’m confident that the machine works well enough to demo it. The same goes for all sorts of other items. Tell them they can see the item work or function before they purchase it.
3. Be helpful.
Your job is not to sell them the item, it’s to help them solve a problem. Those are two different approaches. People trust the person that is genuinely trying to help them, and naturally distrust those that are just trying to sell them something. I have passed up business a number of times because the person that called could have their problem solved without buying an appliance from me. Remember, if you are in business, you are in the problem solving business. More than once I tried to persuade a person into a more cost effective course of action, only to be overruled by them when they insisted on purchasing appliances from us. Their trust had been earned and they weren’t concerned about saving a few dollars. Take care of people and it will go well with you.
4. Be confident.
People will ask all sorts of questions. Be confident in your responses. There is no reason to be ashamed because you buy and sell items, work from home or any other topic. Confidence comes through your tone of voice and will either reassure someone that you are worth doing business with, or if you should avoided. You can’t blame someone for not being confident about purchasing from you if you are not confident in your product.
5. Be nakedly transparent.
Don’t try to dodge any questions or steer the conversation away from certain topics. People will naturally assume the worst, and their imaginations will often be far more harsh than reality. If you are trying to avoid a topic or hide something, people will sense it. People are incredibly good at smelling dishonesty.
When you earn a persons trust, you tend to earn the trust of that person’s friends and family. Keep it up and you will have more business than you will be able to handle!
I hope you all had a great Christmas!