In the end, it came down to trust.
The fates of Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, former Enron executives, always hung on the question of whether the two men were to be believed. With the guilty verdicts rendered thus past week, 12 Houston jurors said, resoundingly, that Lay and Skilling were not to be believed.
Clearly, these jurors listened intently to both sides throughout the trial. They heard the judge’s final instructions. They weighed and picked apart the evidence and arguments. But something else fundamentally consequential also went on inside the Enron jury room. In a case without a “smoking gun” — and one that was always a morality play, anyway — it came down to credibility. Who would the jury trust more, the accused or the accusers?
Isn’t this precisely what happens in sales and marketing? We can have the greatest product or service in the world but if we fail to win trust then we FAIL. It amazes me how little emphasis is placed on trust and credibility today. Marketers can talk all day and night about their company, products and services. They think talking about themselves gets them credibility. They think it wins them trust. Yet in reality all it does is push more people further away!
How about you? Does your marketing focus on WHAT you do? – Bells and whistles? Or does it make a powerful argument for why YOU and your company is believable. Here are some ways that you can win trust in the credibility game:
- Be consistent. Nothing is worse than and organization that talks out of both sides of their mouth. Like the company that advertises how they are very customer-centric (now there’s a popular buzz word that make me nauseated) yet when you get a representative on the phone they amaze you with their apathy and unconcern.
- Focus on values. Values represent the deeply held beliefs within an organization and are demonstrated through the day-to-day behaviors of all employees. An organization’s values make an open proclamation about how it expects everyone to behave. Values should endure over the long-term and provide a constant source of strength for an organization.
- Remember that integrity is more critical today than ever before because it differentiates us. As I say in the Rules of Attraction, “who we are is more important than WHAT we do.” I guess old Lay and Skilling missed this one.
- Use evidence when you make your point in your marketing material. It could be a statistic, a testimonial or some kind of analogy but evidence makes us more convincing.
- Speak in simple terms. Sometimes I read the copy on web site, brochures and even in advertisements and I am amazed at how we marketers make broad assumptions about the knowledge of our customers. Make your self understood to a third-grader. This avoid pretension and increases communication.
- Understatement is a powerful tool. Under-promise and over-deliver. Don’t make wild claims. This alone will make your message more persuasive and compelling and control the customer’s expectations increasing your opportunity to DELIGHT them at every turn.
I hope that helps you in crafting a believable marketing message. For more information about how to create more convincing and believable check out my Attract More Business program. Thanks to all and I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!
I hope that this “Business Update” has been helpful in assisting you to improve the performance of your organization. For more information on how the Small Business Advisory Network assists companies in improving their performance, please feel free to contact us at 310-320-8190 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great week!