Ever wondered why you still find it difficult to attract new clients despite having all the experience, knowledge, resources, and tools that are beneficial to others? For instance, think of a situation where you see your friend’s thoughts on Facebook and you are forced to say, “This isn’t you! You couldn’t have typed this!”
What could have evoked such a comment is the unusual typing mode of the person in question. You must have known the unique way through which they express their thoughts. This could be termed a signature or branding in business terms. It is the identity that helps you to identify the brand with whom you are relating.
Many businesses, in their marketing efforts to land more clients and make more sales, often exaggerate their services and what their products could do. Social media and your competitors could have influenced your business such that you are molded into showing up in the custom that you think will attract your clients rather than as the real you.
Running a business requires you to be authentic, that is, expose your true self. This helps you in your trust-building journey with your clients as they are beginning to be more informed than ever. Clients no longer crave for a product or service; rather, they want an experience that is devoid of manipulation or lack of transparency. They want a brand that honestly represents its ideals – not the one that only see them as dollar signs. Of course, they may buy from you, especially when your product or service can meet their immediate needs. However, the trust in your brand may be short-lived.
People easily see through your inauthenticity.
The increasing growth and popularity of social media play a critical role in the relationship between a business and its clients. Review sites and social media have formed the basic guide to consumers’ purchasing decisions. People who have had a relationship with your business now share their experience with your business online, in the form of reviews.
Getting positive reviews from them indicates that you have satisfied them reasonably with your product or service. However, unsatisfied clients could be left with no better option than to give you a negative rating. All of these contribute to your reputation and, consequently, how prospective clients, especially, can trust your business.
Be your authentic and true self
You need to gain the continuous loyalty of existing clients and attract more clients by convincing them that your identity is authentic and you are trustworthy. This could be done by being your real and true self. As a business, you need to operate on the level where you defy all feelings of fear of being vulnerable to expose your true self.
Do you have what your clients are looking for? What led to the eventual bad experience they had with you, and how will you compensate for the inadequacies? How do you handle a situation where they cannot find their searched items – that is, what they are looking for – in your store? Do not trick them into believing that you can render a service about which you lack even the basic knowledge. Do not build your business on falsehood – be real!
How do you expose your true self?
Get rid of fear
You want your clients to trust you, yet you are afraid to show them your real identity. If you seek to gain trust and loyalty, you must eliminate the fear of exposing your true self. For instance, you are the type that travels almost every weekend. However, you are scared of posting pictures of your trips just because you feel you should be in the working mode all the time.
The reality is that, apart from being attracted to authenticity, people are also attracted to the fun. Being genuine makes you more approachable and relatable, thus, making people invest their emotions in you. The result is that they build a strong relationship with you.
Act in accordance with your values
Every business has a story behind its establishment. In other words, businesses are built on certain values and to pursue a certain mission. How much do you act (on) what you say? The “ghost-mode” nature of social media makes businesses hide behind their computer keys to make posts inconsistent with what they stand for or represent.
Clients do not trust a business that fails to pass the test of consistency, especially in its identity. All they see is an attempt to present a “wider-angle view” of an image when, in reality, the image is small. With that, trust is lost and might be impossible to recover.
Be consistent in your message
If your message isn’t true to what you really are, you are inconsistent. Mixed messages can result in suspicion and mistrust. Usually, your brand message should be a further representation of your actions. What image are you developing? How do you want to be perceived? What channel of communication will you employ in relating with your target audience? How often will it be? What message do you want to reinforce consistently?
Maintaining consistency gives the clients a clue of what to expect from you. The variety of strategies that businesses engage in can make them lose track of their voice. A brand manifesto can help in this situation. If you can deliver the right results over a long time, your clients will get attracted to your product or service offering. Hence, trust gets built, and loyalty is earned.
Share your story
One of the ways to establish trust and authenticity is by telling your personal story. What were the experiences that formed your true self? How did you get to your current position? What were the challenges you faced while building your business? Which part of your story can attract clients to your brand? Of course, it is expected that you possess both strengths and weaknesses.
Sharing your story also demands that you add a dash of vulnerability. Your vulnerable points might be equipped with just what your prospects to get emotionally drawn to your business. This has proven helpful to service-based businesses, especially. Nevertheless, it is a bit difficult for you to put out yourself to be judged by other people. It is a feat that is difficult but possible to achieve, though.
What you gain by exposing your true self
Being fake makes you constantly worry about impressing your clients. In certain scenarios, you might be forced to change who you are. This kind of change can take a big hit on your self-confidence. This is because you tend to make certain bad decisions that result in low self-esteem. However, when you live in the true flow of yourself, your energy operates at its peak, your mood remains positive, and your level of confidence increases exponentially.
Exposing your true identity and living up to it as a business result in a consistent experience for clients who interact with you irrespective of their mode of interacting with you – this could be in the form of hearing or reading about you, reading your posts online, or relating with you in person. Interaction is a great determinant of clients’ purchasing decisions. Clients get attracted to businesses that are accessible to them and with whom they can relate.
Trust is one of the factors that attract a loyal client. By knowing who you are and acting like who you are, your clients are more likely to trust you. Trust is the byproduct of total commitment to authenticity and quality, and only a trusted business can experience true loyalty and success.
Being authentic can earn you long-term loyalty from your clients, and this is determined by customer experience. Earning brand loyalty through authenticity doesn’t imply you are perfect; rather, it is because your clients understand and love your real identity, that is, who you are. Clients are humans, and they fully embrace only what appears real to them. Thus,
With the spate of the online revolution, brand authenticity is fast becoming a great necessity. Creating an authentic identity starts with being real and transparent in your personality and relationships with your clients. It may sound simple, though, but many businesses still struggle to exude this state. Being real is more of revealing your true nature for others to get to know you rather than shaping yourself to conform to other people’s opinions or satisfy other people’s perceptions about you. Your “naked” or true self is what others need to establish trust and loyalty with you.
Do you want to be perceived by clients as professional, highly polished, more quirky, or adventurous? Then, don’t be afraid to be authentic in your approach. While you keep things professional, never avoid keeping them real too. A successful business is done by attracting the perfect client, getting clients to know who you really are, identify what you truly represent, communicate your beliefs confidently, and being consistent with those values and mission.
The reality is that everyone cannot be your ideal client. Therefore, it is counterintuitive to attempt to appeal to everyone. It is not everyone that sees or receives the message that will like you. Building a successful business does not require you to reach everyone – you only need to reach your perfect clients. The more authentic you are, the less you hold firm to unachievable standards.