Sometimes you can learn more from an example of what not to do than from instructions on what to do. That’s the case with this post about “What can TV automotive advertising teach you about relationship selling and trust?” To learn the lesson, you need to tune in to how you respond to this example of TV Automotive Advertising.
Have you seen Ford’s series of TV commercials where they bring in “real owners” to give testimonials to the media and to be interviewed by the press? Have you notice how smoothly these real owners handle being in the spotlight? How about the commercial where the guy has never done interviews like this before, yet he appears like an accomplished politician with years of interviews or an actor who has many movies under his belt.
So what’s wrong with that? It’s an issue of credibility. While Ford has come a long way in the past few decades of regaining the trust of American consumers, suddenly they have a TV automotive advertising campaign that will adversely affect some of their market’s trust in them.
Is it possible these actors are real customers? Of course, it is. The problem with trust is that it’s not strictly based on “honesty.” It’s based on “perceived honesty.” Public speaking is one of the major fears people have.
Some maintain the fear of public speaking is a bigger issue even than the fear of death. If the fear of speaking before a live audience is strong, what do you think the fear of speaking before cameras and spotlights is like for the average person? How would you react?
Do you see why putting polished speakers who are comfortable with speaking in front of cameras makes these “real customers” not seem real? It feels like someone is lying to us.
In this day and age of cynicism and skepticism about both government and big business, at a time when major corporations have brought about the worst economic environment since the Great Depression, why would any major company run a marketing campaign that triggers skepticism and disbelief? The feeling of having a fast one pulled over on us undermines the very trust that these “testimonials” should be creating.
So what is the message here for you as small business owners and managers? Keep your marketing messages simple and candid. Be authentic. Avoid any attempt to tell “truths” that are meant to mislead. They have the same impact on your customers and prospects that lies do.
By the way, it’s all right to be humorous. Check out the baby investment advisor in the E*Trade commercials. Nobody believes that E*Trade expects us to think a baby is a real investment advisor. The ads are cute and funny. And ironically, because they have a sense of humor and are entertaining, they do build trust.
The message in the Ford commercials with the “real owner” interviews is totally self-serving. It’s all about how great they are.
Take the advice of successful Internet marketers. People want to get to know, like and trust you. They want a relationship with you. Relationship selling means you must show you care about them first. Caring means you want to communicate honestly.
So what can TV automotive advertising teach you about relationship selling and trust? In this case, learn from their example about what to avoid doing. There are times when even if you are being honest, you can appear to trying to mislead your audience. Relationships are about caring enough to listen and to tell the truth. If you don’t want to listen and to build trust, someone else will.
If you want more ideas on how to find people interested in your sites, messages, and sales calls, join to my community by signing up for my mailing list, I will send you as a bonus 9 Steps to Finding Prospects Who Want What You Provide eBook and 9 separate lessons as well as my periodic ezine, “Building Your Profits through Strong Relationships” and other offers from time-to-time.
Building profits through strong relationships,
John R. Aberle, Aberle Enterprises
P.S. Maybe Ford has already caught on as I could not find this series of TV automotive commercials on their site nor on YouTube when I looked before posting.
My first Kindle eBook, How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses, went live on April 24, 2012. Until June 11t, 2012, it is available at its introductory rate of $.99. I've lived a lifetime of service and spiritual search so it's natural for me to incorporate these attitudes into my work. I believe that selling and marketing are spiritual service when done with a heart-centered, relationship selling approach. All of business success comes down to building strong relationships.
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