by Wanda Loskot
There is a lot of talk about building loyalty and trust on the Internet. Various
strategies and techniques have been discussed, different strategies orchestrated. Yet, it
seems the majority of people miss the main ingredient of this trust-building process:
The old advice "give before asking" applies here, as well. To earn someone's
trust, we need to trust first. Just as people are preconditioned to smile in response to
someone else's smile, we are naturally interested in people who display a genuine interest
in us, and we find it easier to trust those who trust us first.
A friend of mine will not share a picture of herself with visitors because she feels too
unattractive. Another friend doesn't even want to disclose that she *is* a woman because
she feels that some people will not take a female-owned business seriously enough. One of
my male friends, a Black American, shared with me that he will never show his photo on the
web, because he knows that some people will refuse to buy from him only because of the
color of his skin.
I even know a business owner who is so concerned about the possibility of being harassed
that he doesn't display his name, phone number or address on his website (funny thing is
that the first thing you will see when you visit his domain is the annoying java script
box asking you for your own name).
I agree that, sadly, some people refuse to do business with a woman only because she is a
woman. And there are too many of those who will not buy from a person of color. Some
buyers want to deal only with a large company, even if they know that you will solve their
problem for less money. No matter how good you are, some people will reject you for a very
That's fine. A blessing in disguise, really. Consider that *they* didn't qualify to do
business with you - not vice versa. After all, why would *you* want to do business with
someone like that?
The Internet is a huge place, full of wonderful, progressive people with imagination.
People who are able to make intelligent and rational decisions based on facts and on their
own values. Look for these kind of contacts on the Internet. Build your website and your
Internet presence with them in mind - not with the others. And once they come to you,
don't alienate them by hiding your face and by telling them half truths. Trust their
intelligence and common sense.
The more truthful you are with your true prospects and customers, the more comfortable,
safe, and non-threatening they feel with you. Don't be afraid of being vulnerable. A
few people might be turned off by some of your characteristics, some might even try to
ridicule you. But those you would really like to do business with in the long run will
recognize who you are, will identify with you, and will be inspired to trust you.
Share with visitors who you really are - show them your values, your photograph, even your
shortcomings. People will respect you for this more than you might think and they will
drawn to you. Ironically, it is one of the major trust building factors.