Building trust in your brand.

In order for people to sell their property to you, they need to trust you.

Whether you’re in commercial or residential investing, whether you’re wholesaling, or an independent flipper, one thing remains true: you need people to trust you in order to do business with you.

It’s that simple, and that difficult.

Here’s what I mean: it’s a relatively simple concept that you need to build a brand that people trust, in order to do well. That’s like saying, “you need to earn much more than you spend to become profitable.” Easily said, not so easily done.

So, how do you actually build trust in your investment brand? Here are a few tips from established investors to help you out.

Put up a solid earnest money deposit, and have proof of funds.

Whenever you’re dealing with money (and a lot of it), trust becomes that much more important. So one way to build trust is to show a prospective seller that you’ve got the money, and that you mean business. Don’t try to fake it till you make it or drag the process on.

Jared is the owner of The Friendly Homebuyer, and says that when it comes to building trust in your brand, “a legit investor will not try and tie a property up with a long inspection, they will put up a reasonable earnest money deposit and they will have proof of funds.”

So make sure that if you’re going to be in investing, you are able to show proof of funds. This will help build trust with the sellers, and show that you’re legitimate in an industry with so many others who are still working to pull the money together.

Be transparent & seek your client’s good (even if it means you lose a deal).

This one is probably one of the most critical to get right. One of the biggest things to building trust in your brand is to give honest answers, and to genuinely seek the good of the seller, and finally… to be honest when you can (and can’t) help them.

That’s the way Heath, the owner of Elevated Home Buyers, advises you conduct business, “I’m very upfront about what I believe an individual’s house can sell for and about what it would cost for me to fix up. My numbers, of course, have to be conservative given the risk that I take, but when talking to an investor, a homeowner can get a good sense of their nature by the interaction. Good investors first try to understand the problem and offer solutions, even if that doesn’t necessarily involve selling to that investor. I’ve gone and visited homeowners even knowing I couldn’t buy their home, simply to give them advice on their situation. In my experience homeowners who I end up closing with need the advantages I offer, even in the face of other options which could potentially get them more money, but I always make those other options known and explain the positives and negatives of each.”

When you operate your business this way, you build an immense amount of trust. When you can be transparent enough to tell a client, “I’m not the right person to help you reach your goals,  “x” type of person would be the one to call,” you build trust. When you tell a client, “here are all your options, and these give you more money, but I offer these values,” and they choose you, they won’t leave feeling deceived, tricked, or taken advantage of.

Do what you say you’ll do.

If you say you’ll close on a certain date, do it. If you say you’ll show up to do an estimate or price offering at a certain time, do it. And if you say you’ll offer a certain amount at closing, then don’t change up that offer number.

Basically, the whole piece of advice can be summed up with: do what you say you will. Blaine is a real estate agent and investor who runs Awesome Wholesaler LLC. He advises, “[a seller]  can only tell a good investor from a bad investor by performance. If an investor does what they said they would do, I would hold them higher to the rest.

Build reviews & testimonials.

Social proof is huge. Think about the last time you went to make a purchase online. Did you look at the reviews? The last time you Googled a restaurant or bar, did you check out the reviews?

Most people do now.

So when motivated sellers are combing through all the investors they could choose to work with, what will they see when they come across your Google business listing, or website? Do you have any reviews? Are they relevant and helpful? If not, you need to work on that. Matt, the owner of Omaha Homes for Cash, says “Looking for reviews and testimonies online,” is a solid way of finding a trustworthy investor, and Mike, investor and founder of SellMyHomeCleveland says that sellers should, “Look for testimonies and social proof about the investor. Do they have a website and social media links?”

Bottom line: having reviews and testimonials is absolutely huge when it comes to increasing conversions, and building trust in your brand.

Not sure where to get started? Here’s a quick “to-do” list for you:

  1. Open up a Facebook page and link to it from your website. Do your best to post once a week, even if it’s just success stories, live videos, etc.
  2. Register (free) with Google Business, to get your online listing. When you successfully register, ask past clients to leave reviews for you.
  3. Make sure to ask every homeowner you work with to leave a review that you can use on the website. If you don’t have one, create a testimonials page where they can all be displayed.
  4. Use your phone, and if the homeowner is willing, do a video testimonial. Keep it short (1 minute maybe) and just ask them (on camera) what their goal was, how you helped them, and how they found the experience with you. Post those videos on your website.

Trust is everything.

If homeowners don’t trust you, and you don’t focus on building trust in your brand, why would you expect homeowners to submit their physical address and contact info to you?

It’s simply not enough anymore to throw up a simple website. You need to go the extra mile, and back it up with reviews, testimonials, case studies, videos, links to legitimate social media profiles that you actively manage, and then back it up with your ethics: seeking the homeowner’s best outcome (even if it means losing their business), following through on what you promise, and being transparent about the process.

Building trust is hard, but it pays off. In an industry where there’s such a large lack of trust or mistrust of home buyers, you can really set your brand apart by following these tips.