What Makes People Buy: Trust
Exchanging money in return for goods and services is ALL about Trust. Four kinds of Trust to be specific.
- First, both seller and buyer must buy into the illusion that the money we are transacting with is real. Its not. But lets pretend that it is so we can get to the Trust Type number 2.
- Second, if you are to plop down your hard earned cash, you have to Trust that the value you’re getting in return is worth the time it took to earn the money.
- Third, you have to Trust the individual or institutions with which you’re transacting.
- Last, but not least. You have to trust the medium.
Let’s take them down one by one.
1. Illusion of Money
Money isn’t real. It hasn’t been real in decades ever since they took us off the Gold Standard.
US Dollar used to be backed by a real, shiny, heavy-ass bar of gold, now it’s only backed by the “trust” that people will keep spending. Hence the fucknomous economic mess we’re in.
And unless we go back to the Gold Standard the economy/money will NEVER be real again. End the FED ya’ll.
But this is a topic for another blog perhaps. Let’s focus on things we CAN control.
2. Time for Value
If you’re going to spend money on something you have to believe that what you’re getting is worth the time you’ve put in to make the money.
This is the area that advertisers focus on.
Ad men can give you the feature-list. Tell you how much time the product will save you. Or make your life easier in some other way.
It’s the second type of trust that ads are stressing when they’re working you over.
3. Trust Me. Cuz I’m a Liar.
If you’re going to buy from someone, you have to trust that they’re not going to turn around and fuck you in the ass. I’m talking about Grand Theft Auto; pay for sex then kill the hooker kind of fucking.
This type of Trust often goes unconsidered.
So many websites have their own Shopping Cart. The thinking is that this will save them money since they “own” the cart and don’t have to pay fees to a third party.
The problem with this is that most people don’t trust some mom and pop looking website enough to swipe their Credit Card.
How do I know my CC card number is not going to be stolen and my bank account end up a dead hooker.
However, most (all?) online shoppers Trust Amazon.
Penny Wise, Dollar Stupid.
Many websites would do well to implement Amazon’s check out service. Sure, Amazon takes their cut, but you benefit from the “transfer of trust”.
I’m not here to push Amazon’s check out. Google check out would do the same. But my point is this.
Your ego and desire to save cents may be costing you real dollars.
On the other hand, Amazon is a more likely (or at least it’s a bigger) target for hackers.
And in real life?
Same psychological factors are playing a role both online and off.
When I walk into a shady store I always try to pay with cash.
XFer of Trust
Prior to 1950s, Cigarette companies infamously used real doctors to advertise their product.
Some companies even used actors who played doctors (white coats and all) to hawk their wares.
I hope you’re realized by now that when companies purchase a celebrity person as their spokesmen, they are buying the Trust you have in that celebrity. (there is that transfer of Trust again).
Many of these tactics are illegal now but that only means that ad men must be more insidious than ever.
4. Trust is the Medium
You have to trust the medium.
Every new medium of transacting goes through its growing (Trust) pains.
- People didn’t trust paper money when it first came out (read your history kids).
- People didn’t trust credit cards at first either. Remember?
- People didn’t trust the Internet and some still don’t.
Eventually tho, it becomes second nature. It only takes a generation to condition the masses to the “new normal”.
So ask yourself. Who is your audience?
Which type of Trust do your clients have (or not have) in you? Your product, your medium, you?
Adjust your selling strategy accordingly.
Other posts in this series.
I recommend these books for further research.
Cashvertising by Drew Eric Whitman is quick, easy, jam packed with great info.
The Culture Code by Clotaire Rapaille is in depth, well researched, head and shoulders above the other books in the similar vain.
Buyology by Martin Lindstrom Like the story of Goldilocks, this one is neither too quick nor too in depth but it’s just right for anyone who wants to have a really practical understanding of what motivates buyers. It rounds out the set nicely.