Build Consumer Trust With Hot Coffee


Trust is essential to winning over sales prospects and maintaining profitable customer relationships. Researchers continue to uncover surprising insights into the psychology of trust, helping savvy salespeople and marketers build trust faster. This leads to speedier sales cycles and stronger customer relationships. Being as transparent and honest as possible helps, but sometimes consumers need an extra push to really warm up. Will hot coffee help clinch the sale? Try these brainy tricks:

1) Offer Hot Coffee

Recent experiments conducted by the Department of Psychology at Yale University suggest thatphysical warmth can be substituted for emotional warmth to induce psychological feelings of connectedness and trust. Try offering a hot beverage or keeping meeting rooms warm in winter months.

2) Show Them Your Wrists

According to research from Paul J. Zak, director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University, The Human Oxytocin Mediated Attachment System (THOMAS) in the human brain makes us feel good when we help others who seem vulnerable. Roger Dooley, author of the neuromarketing book Brainfluence, takes this one step further, suggesting that we are more likely to trust someone who trusts us.

How can you show that you trust your customer in order to earn consumer trust? Dooley suggests offering trial products with minimal restrictions or establishing credit without lengthy or prohibitive terms. Leil Lowndes makes the following suggestion in her book, How to Talk to Anyone:

“Vulnerable, open palms signify ‘I have nothing to hide.’ When you are listening to a business colleague to whom you want to signal acceptance, make sure your wrists and palms are up. Even if you’re resting your head on your chin, turn your wrists forward.”

3) Picnic in Front of the White House

NeuroFocus, a global leader in neuromarketing, tests advertising to ensure concepts resonate with consumers. In recent years, some banks have sought to repair consumer trust using neuromarketing techniques. Studies have shown that successful bank advertisements use images that evoke stability; images of families and solid structures and those that project concepts like “clarity in chaos,” and light in darkness all scored high trust levels among consumers. Your business has similar touchstones that could be translated visually to strengthen your brand’s message.

4) Just Say It: “You Can Trust Me”

According to research in the Journal of Advertising, this phrase at the end of an advertisement for an auto service firm caused trust ratings to increase by 33%:

“You can trust us to do the job for you.”

Seems too simple, doesn’t it? As Roger Dooley points out, “There’s no claim of doing it right, doing it better, doing it quickly, or even doing it with a smile.” Still, the use of the phrase caused trust ratings to increase in every category, including competency, quality, caring, and fair treatment.

This blog was originally written for Hanover Research.

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