How to earn the trust of advertisers

How to Earn the Trust of Local Advertisers

Published on May 4, 2021. Updated on March 14, 2022.

There is more to sales than pricing and crafting the perfect sales pitch. This is especially true when selling advertising to local businesses. People want to work with others that they know, like, and trust, which makes earning the trust of potential advertisers for your directory website a vital part of the sales process. Business owners want to make sure you have their best interests at heart and aren't just trying to make a quick buck. Earning a business's trust will make for a smoother sales process and a higher closing percentage.

Here are six ways you can earn the trust of local advertisers when selling listings on your directory website.

1. Look & act professional

You don't need to wear a 3-piece suit, but it's important to look presentable when you are out in your community representing your brand, and especially when you’re meeting with prospective advertisers. Be mindful of the way you look, speak, and act during your meetings because first impressions really do go a long way. This goes beyond your attire; your website and marketing materials should look professional as well.

Make sure your website is connected to a custom domain, and has an overall professional look and feel. Having a professionally designed logo is crucial because it’s the first thing visitors see when using your directory and represents your brand. Print business cards so you can leave your contact information behind, and utilize the customizable sales and marketing materials you have access to as an Ideal Directories customer.

2. Keep your prices affordable

Your brand perception is dependent on many things, including pricing. The last thing you want is for an advertiser to think you’re overpriced or trying to rip them off. Research your market to find out what other advertising options cost, including local newspaper ads, similar websites and direct mail. Develop a pricing strategy that aligns with your target customer and their advertising budget.

If you're unsure how much to charge, start at a lower price point and gradually increase your prices until you face resistance. The right pricing strategy will ensure that businesses can not only afford to be listed on your site, but will get good value from it. If you can provide good value, and keep your prices affordable, you will earn their trust and keep them as long-term customers.

3. Discuss your marketing initiatives

Discussing your marketing initiatives and how you plan on promoting your directory website can be a great way to earn the trust of potential advertisers. This is especially helpful if your directory website is new, and doesn’t have a lot of traffic.

Talk about some of the things you’re currently doing to get traffic and your bigger plans to market the site. Mention anything and everything you have on the table to generate interest and get eyeballs on your site, whether it’s social media marketing, putting out signs locally, sponsoring an upcoming event, getting involved in the community, etc. When a business hears that you have a real, executable plan, they will be more likely to root for you and be comfortable advertising on your directory website.

4. Name-drop other advertisers

When talking to a business owner, be sure to mention or name-drop other local businesses (including their peers and competitors) who are also featured on your website. This will give them confidence that they’re in good company by working with you.

Not only will name dropping other local businesses help you build trust and show prospective advertisers that your directory website is growing, but it can also be used to close more sales by leveraging something called “FOMO” (fear of missing out). Businesses do not want to feel like they are missing out by not advertising on your directory website, or losing market share to their competitors, who are featured on your site.

5. Give away free listings 

A great way to earn trust is to show you are committed to building the best online business directory in your community, sometimes even at your own expense, by giving away free listings. Businesses who are getting a complimentary service from you will hold you in high regard which should lead to them speaking well of you when they're talking with other business owners.

Give a business a free listing for 2-3 months as a way to earn their trust and prove the value of advertising on your site. During that time, do everything you can to get them exposure and share the results including the traffic they received. Communicate regularly to build a solid relationship and so they know you are working hard to prove your worth. As long as you can show value, the business almost can't say no when you pitch them to an upgraded paid advertising plan. Once you've gained their trust by demonstrating value, why would they say no to more business?

6. Be accessible and helpful

Since most sales don't happen during the first meeting, be sure to make yourself accessible and have a plan in place for following up with potential advertisers. Leave your business cards behind with your name, phone number and email address so they'll clearly know how to get a hold of you when they need something. Reach out to see if they have any questions or if they’ve made a decision.

Once you make the sale, it’s equally important to continue to be reachable so you can keep their trust. Offering the same great service as you did during the sales process will strengthen their trust by showing them you actually value their business and will be there for them even after the sale. If your advertiser calls, pick up the phone or at least respond to their voicemail as quickly as possible. Return emails promptly, within 24 hours if possible, and answer all questions or concerns thoroughly.

In Conclusion...

Building trust with business owners in your area is one of the things that can help turn them into advertisers – or clients of yours. People are more apt to buy from people they trust, and gaining that trust isn’t all that difficult. By doing the groundwork and forging relationships built on trust with local business owners, the sales process for getting businesses listed on your directory website can be greatly simplified.
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