The Trust Factor

20.10.2017 |

Episode #9 of the course Psychological factors that influence purchase decisions by James Scherer


Trust is a huge component of decision-making. Think about it: If you’re looking for a restaurant for dinner and you go online, are you more likely to go with the one with 100 five-star reviews or the one with zero?

Or what if you call up a friend and they recommend a great little Italian place around the corner that they just went to and loved?

The decision to go to these restaurants is a decision made on trust. You trust that 100 strangers can’t be wrong. You trust that your friend knows what they’re talking about.

Let me give you a few specific examples:

• In 2015, Nielsen looked into why people purchase something. They found that the most impactful element wasn’t urgency or color, directional cues, or encapsulation. It was brand name. We trust that a brand that has delivered quality products or great service in the past will continue to do so in the future.

MarketingExperiments tested the brand factor and found that a branded page outperformed a non-branded one by 40%.

SurveyMonkey found that 70% of consumers click on “known retailers” before clicking on brands they don’t recognize.

It goes without saying that we are guided by others when we make decisions.

I trust, far more, the words of a total stranger than I do the word of someone who represents the company. If every article I wrote could be written by a former customer, extolling how amazing our company was, I’d retire tomorrow. Those articles would be far more effective in driving sales than any article I wrote.

Testimonials are the most powerful way for you to create trust within your interactions with prospective customers.

Here’s why they’re so valuable:

• Testimonials feature real people, which removes the “faceless corporation” concern. They add personality and genuineness to your interactions.

• Testimonials feature similar people to your target market. The more similar a person is to your customer, the more trusted they will be.

• Testimonials often speak in specific, case study-like metrics and numbers. The more specific you can be with your deliverables, the more trustworthy they sound.

The value of engaging with your business is never clearer than when a previous customer is willing to stand ahead of you and say, “Seriously, this business behind me had a huge influence on my own success.”

Actionable takeaways for this psychological factor:

• If your business isn’t yet a household name, be sure to feature the names of companies you’ve worked with that are. Brand name is a powerful motivator for trust.

• Feature testimonials from successful previous clients. The more specific you can be, the better. For instance, if you have multiple product pages, include testimonials specific to each product on each page.

• Use numbers. If your product has been bought or your service used by thousands of people (or for more than ten years), showcase it. Big numbers add validity.


Tomorrow’s final lesson will give you five actionable psychological strategies you can put in place right away. Be sure to watch out for that and finish strong!


Recommended book

The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk


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