Trust In A Bad Economy

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No trust leftOnce burned twice shy. With the recession going into it's second year, trust of any kind is at an all-time low. With governments, banking and insurance companies failing the very people they are supposed to serve, there is little confidence any more. There is a lot of fear in this recession, where people are afraid to risk what little they have left. There is a lot of suspicion when it comes to anyone who is trying to sell something, be it an idea a product or service.

When President Obama came to power, he had the highest level of approval rating, a clear sign that the people trusted his promises that he would lead the country out of the recession and restore stability. As the bad economy continues, that level of trust has eroded to under 30%, as signs of improvement have not manifested themselves.

 Lose Your Job

Here is an example, the government reports a drop in unemployment rates and points to this a sign of better times. "The economy is turning around" they say. What they fail to mention is that a good number are coming off unemployment insurance, because they have reached the limit of their entitlement. Coming off of unemployment insurance does not equal new jobs. As people see the disconnect between what they are told and what they know to be true, their trust level goes down further.

When it comes to businesses in this economy, the trust meter is barely above zero. Many people have what is called advertising blindness, where they refuse to even see or hear anything of a commercial nature. For example, many people use ad blockers on their web browsers, they skip channels during commercials, and the free papers and fliers that arrive on the doorstep go directly into the recycle bin. Unfortunately, this hurts the economy rather than helps it, since we need commerce for the money to flow and the jobs to return.

Buy from me?With an absence of trust you have fear. People fear being hurt further. They are all in some kind of survival mode, trying to make it through what little they have left, holding their breath until they feel safe again. They do not have time to listen to proposals, and they don't have money to invest in any schemes. They have zero belief in the integrity behind the offer, so if you are selling anything, you have a challenge getting through to prospects.

To stand any chance of reaching consumers you have to have all these:

  • They have to have a need for your product / service. Otherwise you are wasting their time, and that is one of the few resources they have left.

  • They have to need it yesterday. There has to be a compelling reason, or else they will put it on hold. These days your competitor is the status quo, as people will hold out until they absolutely have to do something.

  • It has to be free or ridiculously cheap. With the internet, consumers know what the lowest value is online, and you have to beat that. Good value for money is not good enough any more.

  • There has to be huge amounts of obvious value. Again, it has to be more compelling than what they already have. Imagine going out in the winter, and facing the wolves, because you will starve unless you hunt for more food. It is like that.

  • There has to be no strings attached. One string and you lose any trust you may have gained.

  • They need to be able to find / choose you, not the other way around. Imagine drug dealers, who do not trust each other, they do not want you to have their phone number or home address, or anything that can lead you to them. It is like that.

Even when there is no catch, consumers are looking for one, and eyeing the exit in case they have to beat a hasty retreat. People feel trapped in this bad economy, and they don't want to feel trapped any more. They will not trust you if you approach them with a gleam in your eye, like they are your next car payment. In their mind, to part with their limited funds means they can't pay their next payment.