How to Build Credibility with Your Sales Copy

How to Build Credibility with Your Sales Copy

Reader Comments (76)

  1. Dave,

    Excellent point, you success as a launch guy goes to shows this works. People who are in same position as us, like bloggers who want to sell and create products are less likely to buy stuff though. But when you love someone’s ethics and authority, people will buy stuff just to be nice, and that is priceless!

    • Trust is one of the hardest things to build, but people are looking for hope right now. And that can come in the form of someone who seems trustworthy for anything that they feel might help them or their family.

  2. Couldn’t agree more with the “customers as proof” approach. This social-proof method is so powerful because it shows that people that others care about/are buying whatever you are trying to “sell” (whether that is a physical product, or just trying to “sell them” into becoming a regular reader of your blog).

    People are often encouraged by what others are doing, and being able to show actual testimonials and results goes a long way.

  3. Hey Dave,

    When I come across a product and they use the 3rd approach it makes the buying process so much easier. Thanks for sharing your knowledge on this area.

    Chat with you later…

  4. Hey Dave..

    My favorite is the Customer-as-Proof approach. I like letting results do the talking for me..

    plus, I think it makes selling much easier

    thanks for the great post

  5. Thanks for the great article. I have been thinking a lot lately about my own branding to make myself stand out from other consultants. I think these tips will really help toward that end too. It also motivates me to want to gather testimonials for customers as proof, I think that one is a great idea!

    • Kristy,

      Totally agree, testiomonials really go a long way to shaping a customer’s perception of you.

      If they can relate to what is mentioned in the testiomonial, it can help to build deeper trust.

    • I received some advice once on how to get testimonials: ask the customer! We’ve all had the experience when someone says something nice about us, the work, product, whatever. ask the customer if you can share that with others. write it down right then.

      I say “may I used your kind words on my website?”
      works pretty well

  6. I like sharing a few mis-steps I’ve made — either out-and-out mistakes or just everyday blunders (parking ticket, forgetting to bring the snacks to the soccer game, whatever) just to make it clear that I am a normal person who makes normal mistakes!

  7. One simple thing I like to do is to put my actual face on the sales copy. While I make most of my sales who know me reasonably well, there’s a significant minority who are new to what I’ve got to offer. I’ve had good results putting my photo on my sales pages — as you say, we’re reminding people “this is a human being making this offer.” And we’re hard-wired to respond to faces.

    That’s also why I think it’s nearly always the right thing to do to have your face in your social media profile. Much easier for potential customers to get to know, like and trust a face than it is a logo.

  8. “Weave your own Story” I love it, we connect through story. It’s why we go the movies, why we tweet and facebook about our day. It is such a powerful tool to build the know, like and trust factor. At the end of the day, we want to do business with people we like. Naturally interweaving our own story into why we do what we do, or sell what we sell, is not only engaging but also a highly effective an organic sales tool.

    Great post!

  9. Thanks for re-emphasizing this! I’ve found that many small business clients are reluctant to create a “truthful” About Us page because they want to hide the fact that they are a small business. I plan to share this article often.

  10. Just in the nick of time! I’m ready to move my old-fashioned website over to WordPress (because it’s just so nifty). And while I’m at it, I’ll also be overhauling my copy.

    Your tip about planting testimonials in the copy is just what I needed. It’s an aha moment: instead of a list of testimonials (like I have now), I’ll seed them into the copy–a much better approach, I think. Thanks!

  11. Another great post on an important topic. I agree with Sonia’s comment about putting a human face to the words.
    When I originally launched little grey bird I was so in love with the logo that I put it everywhere and there were no photos of me. I’m now learning that people really like to see who’s hiding beind the logo and I’m slowly adding little bits about myself and my own story. That should help with credibility 🙂

  12. The “about me” approach is the one I prefer by far. To me, the “customer as a proof” isn’t a proof…. I mean, what such an approach proves is that the seller was able to deliver the desired outcome for THAT customer. It doesn’t tell me whether s/he is able to deliver MY desired outcome to ME. So I skip testimonials and case studies in one jump 🙂
    The “reluctant hero” works with me only at times. It doesn’t work most of the times because it gives me the impression that the seller kind of stumbled into a solution, so it puts some concerns in my mind on whether s/he understood the process and is able to replicate it in my case or not.
    The “about me” is the winner with me, by far, because it gives me an idea of who the seller is, what s/he does, how s/he does it and why.

    • Then, you can do a mix of the three styles in the sales copy to target different types of customers.

      Start off with a an accidental hero tone, transition to about me and then round off with customer-as- proof- just one example of how the copy should flow.

      Of course, depending on your story you can structure it any way you want

    • Also, as customers we’re interested in how others have experienced the seller.

      When we buy paint, or a new laptop, or whatever, we listen as much to anecdotal evidence as we do to the marketing and technical aspects. We all listen to what our friends and neighbours say about stuff they’ve bought.

      For the same reasons, employers want evidence of success in previous roles and references to check.Customer testimonials are great if you’ve got ’em, as are stories of success. I’d definitely put them in if you have them.

      This is why blogs are so powerful. I trust them, and believe what the blogger and readers say over other informaiton. Same with your customer success.

      Good luck

  13. Perfect timing for this post Dave. I was writing a sales page for my ebook on Time Management for Bloggers with short attention spans and I was using the very first thing you mentioned. I think the other thing that really has been instrumental in me making any purchases is customers who have succeeded. I’ve been doing a few free consulting sessions lately, but I’ve been asking each person to keep track of their results with my advice so that I can do a case study on them. I’ve noticed you’ve done that on The Launch coach when people use your stuff. The thing I love about that is that it benefits the customer by profiling them on a high traffic site, and you benefit from it by having tangible evidence of the fact that everything you are talking about actually works.

  14. Those are terrific ideas. I’ve used all of them with great success. I also try to be up front and acknowledge the readers skepticism… I’ll ask them to take the “real life test” and explain exactly why what I’m recommending works.
    “If you put my recommendation into play in a real life situation,” I ask, “would it work? If so, then there is a high percentage chance that what I am recommending would work for you as well.”

    This gets them to actually “buy” and use the product in their head. If my recommendation really does work… this method gives me a high closing percentage.

  15. Yep, I do the same thing Lain does – I tell them about mistakes I’ve made, money I’ve wasted and dumb things I’ve done.

    Most of the products and services I create are to help others avoid those same mistakes, wasted money and dumb things. 😀

    Dave – you, my man, are playing a much bigger game. I love it.


  16. I really like Sonia’s idea about using your photo on the sales page. It makes a much stronger connection when writing in an active voice, and especially when telling a story about yourself. I’ve seen that done with testimonials too.

    If you can slip in a video or two along the way, and be yourself while doing it, you let people in to your world a lot more. They see you, hear you, experience your emotions and all of those little nuances that are lost in other medium.

    Great job, Dave!

    • On the matter of video it should be professionally shot else the whole thing could be counterproductive. That means great sound, tight editing and no shaky camera movements.

  17. Love how you broke these down into very actionable steps. I’ll be using your article with my clients as I help them set up their social media. These are great tips, and make the writing so much easier. Thanks for sharing.


  18. Great post. Great comments. How about combining the approaches?

    CHEMISTRY: This is where the “Reluctant Hero” story can play out. Visitors now get a sense of whether they like you.

    CREDENTIALS: You put a brief summary in “About Me” and link to your personal website for more details. Testimonials could be on LinkedIn.

    The “Customer As Proof” can be sprinkled throughout.

    EXAMPLE: We’re surrounded by risk — precisely what an actuary measures and manages. When I was designing accountable life insurance products, the A-list advisors [my customers] kept asking for my help with their most important clients. Me? How scary. I could use my deep insider knowledge to create ideal strategies but what did I know about selling? Even so, I agreed to become the advisors’ advisor. I soon discovered that 79.99% of clients want tailored solutions — not a salesperson with 101 closing techniques. So now I help the public directly.

  19. Hi Dave

    A cool post and one of those at-the-right-moment events too. as I’m just revamping my copy.

    I love the idea of the “Why I created this product” approach as story-telling is such a powerful, if not the most powerful way of engaging people. It’s how we learned as children, it’s how much of history is passed along and all religions use it in their teachings.



  20. My Favourite credibility builder is the The “reluctant hero” approach, however I may use the The customer-as-proof approach. I’m still experimenting.

  21. This is such a great post and a lot to learn from. One of those posts i love to print and keep for further revisions.

    I hope to see a follow up on this articles. Great Work!

  22. Great article Dave (like everything you write here).

    Wouldn’t the third point be a violation of the new FTC rules if used without average data though?

  23. Hello Dave,

    Thank you. This is what I need as am thinking of expressing myself without sounding like “selling”. I thought that the typical style of some motivational speakers to show-off and make claims about themselves – the best motivational speaker in the Philippines, for example – is not something that I will proud writing.

    Thank you and I hope more people will get the opportunity to read your article.

  24. Great post, Dave! Thanks!

    Another credibility builder that works in affluent markets is brash experience. Not tucked away in the about me section, but straight up. Though it’s a bit of a balancing act, you can frame yourself as the authority given your natural and sustained strength in the market place.

    These folks don’t want something we stumbled upon, or accidentally discovered, they want to know that over the long-haul our track record is strong.

    This is definitely not for the average info-product, but works well for consulting.

  25. Fantastic post Dave! I think it’s important to ensure that when giving this proof that it is in fact a true and genuine story. Even if you dont have the most fantastical million dollar numbers to boast, truthful and honest facts go a long way in creating this type of believable copy. You rock Navarro – as always!

  26. I guess screen captures and screen shots are pretty convincing. However, I don’t necessarily know if they’ve been cooked up through design…

  27. It’s interesting to see conflicting views on testimonials — an example of why we should be using multiple approaches to building trust. What works for one potential client may not for another. I believe that social proof carries a lot of weight, and am collecting customer stories as I get my new website off the ground. I find that sharing my own experience from working in the corporate environment has helped my credibility with the people in those positions that I am now trying to help!

  28. Dave, this post is a keeper. Even though it will be months before I can think of selling anything from my new blog, I can start weaving your suggestions into my posts. Then, when I have gained enough readers to sell to (hopefully), they’ll be primed to accept my offer. Thanks, friend.

  29. Building credibility has always been a daunting problem especially for startup companies, I especially think that a carefully planned “credibility strategy”, using some of the tactics you describe in your post but not just, is a very good starting point.
    Particularly, I think the “customer as a proof” approach through the building of a carefully crafted portfolio and case history is very valid approach to attract big brands, working as a consulting agency.
    Important names will require the comfort of knowing other important names already put trust in you (and breaking that circle requires a lot of hard work).

  30. Dave, I found this post to be most helpful. As I am a small business owner and just started blogging to promote my site this will be very useful to me. I think a lot of the comments also have helped in how I actually want to progress my blog. Thank you and I look forward to reading more of what you have to say.

  31. Great article, with valuable reminders regarding how to earn the trust of our readers. As I read the post, I noticed an undercurrent of my favorite credibility-building approach: empathy. Empathy is the glue that builds trust. Trust helps start a relationship, and it helps cement a relationship. By weaving empathy into your copy…through examples of how you’ve helped others with your product or service by understanding, really understanding, their needs, is very powerful. Illustrating “hey, I understand what you’re going through. I’ve been there myself. Here’s how I can use my experience to help you meet your needs…” is one of the most effective strategies I’ve used over the years.

    Thank you for some great insights!

    Emily Foshee

  32. Wow, this is exactly what I needed. I am an expert in my area and am at the beginning of creating products. My first free eBook launches in a couple of weeks. These recommendations are spont on. Thank you!

  33. I like your example of the reluctant hero as a storytelling archetype for an About web page. It doesn’t come off as formulaic or contrived. There is a reason why formulas exist. They work. Storytelling archetypes work in fiction and they work in they work in business writing.

  34. Weaving your own story is effective. I developed a music teaching aid that I started to market. I wrote not just about how great it is, but why I developed the teaching aid in the first place. I went on to say that I was in need of something that didn’t exist so I developed it just for myself, then realized that other could benefit from it too.

  35. This is great insight into how great copy can really be a great story. i.e. What you’re describing is actually more than a creative way to weave in a testimonial. It’s about shepherding your reader through an irresistible story that’s relevant to HIM/HER.

    And sharing something of value long before you ask for a click, both within (or AS) the “sales” copy and in your other “marketing.”

  36. Really enjoyable read and I like the idea of ‘customers as proof’ as by integrating success stories and how the product can work for them, they are more likely to be able to picture themselves investing in it. In addition background information on the company is also going to back up and assure the potential customer before they commit to making the purchase.

  37. Wow, this post is terrific! I’m in the process of building a sales page for my first eBook launch. I made sure to write down notes; the information provided in this post has been a huge help for me.

    I’m probably going to go with the “About me” approach, since it fits more with the eBook I’m promoting. Thanks again for the awesome guide!


  38. It’s important for a smaller niche business to come across as personal rather than pretend to be some large impersonal corporation. I noticed most people use “we” in their pitch, but why not “I”. I makes it sound like there is only one person running the business and what’s wrong with that.

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