Trust Hacking: 6 Ways to Build Trust and Sell More Right Away

Original author: Brandon Redlinger
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Do you want you to buy more and more often? We at Alconost have translated wonderful material on how to quickly gain customer confidence. All you need for this is a quality product. Read, apply, sell! We only purchase goods from people and companies we trust. In today's over-saturated marketing world, people experience anxiety and an almost animal fear of sales. Build trust and you can sell the notorious snow to the Eskimos. Lose confidence - and even thirsty in the desert will not buy water from you. However, we often underestimate the challenge before us. Absolutely all consumers were faced with empty promises and low-quality products. Because of such a negative past experience, gaining their trust is not easy.

But we can shorten the path to trust and increase sales with the help of behavioral psychology, in which the principles of cognitive distortion and heuristics exist ( heuristic is a simplified way of thinking, an easy way to draw a conclusion without resorting to mathematical calculations or scientific thinking - approx. ) These principles apply to mental models (sometimes irrational and imperfect) that are used to save time or energy when making decisions. Although there are more than 100 cognitive distortions and heuristics , I would like to focus only on those that allow you to achieve instant trust in the eyes of the consumer.

This is a game of trust.

But first a warning:I in no way encourage the use of persuasion technology for the sole purpose of earning money from people. First you need to get a good product that really helps consumers. And persuasion techniques will help the product fall into the right hands. If this is not about you, then stop reading immediately.

Let's get started.

The following is a list of 6 psychological triggers (cognitive distortion and heuristics) that allow you to achieve instant consumer confidence. Next to each such trigger is a brief description and examples of use.

Confidence Trigger # 1: Group Affection

What it is: Attachment within a group means that we trust and sympathize with people we consider ourselves to be.

How it works: The search for like-minded people is peculiar to us by nature, and we trust such people more because we consider them to be the same. Conversely, dissimilar people cause distrust and doubt. This gives rise to a “we-against-them” style of thinking. Opposition to marketing can be just as powerful as supporting something.

Examples: Remember your last conversation with a stranger just to find out if you are from the same city. Didn't you automatically trust him / her, although you did not know anything about a person?

Similarities can take many forms to be effective. Common things like birthplace or alma mater instantly create an inner circle with a sense of security and sympathy. General experience, such as serving in the same military unit or hobbies in the same sport, paves the way for trust. A similar view of religion and politics increases confidence in the new comrade. And the defense is falling, because we are used to trusting those we like.

In nature, this behavior is constantly observed - for example, birds of the same species stick together.

Turn to the Harley Davidson brand. Harley bikers show an extreme degree of community with others like them. Seth Godin calls it "people like us." This creates radical loyalty and builds a strong community. Harley bikers are so fanatical that it almost looks like a cult! They represent a very specific type of personality and are exchanged with phrases like: "People like us go to Harley." Do you think a beginner who wants to become a biker is more likely to buy a Harley or Honda?

Once you are identified as part of a group, other cognitive distortions will come into effect that will strengthen loyalty and devotion to the group. Some of them:

Application: How do you sow a grain of community - during marketing events or at the sales stage? Does your marketing campaign carry the message that you are the same as the target audience?

Confidence Trigger # 2: Simple Exposure Effect

What it is: People tend to sympathize and trust familiar things. Similarity fosters sympathy.

How it works: Simply put, the more you come across something, the more you trust it. Frequent repetition gives rise to a familiar feeling, because it changes the neuropaths, and thereby affects the perception and impressions of something, as already known. The first encounter with a new irritant (your product) will bring only the knowledge that it exists. Subsequent clashes will turn awareness into attention, moving the product up the scale of confidence. The farther your product moves along the scale of confidence, the greater the curiosity and the closer the establishment of a strong desire to purchase a product.

Examples:Have you ever bought a product simply because it was everywhere - in the streets and in advertisements? No matter where you turn it is everywhere ... until you buy it. And since something is found everywhere, then it is clearly trustworthy, right?

Researchers at Villanova and Temple Universities distributed over 140 plausible statements to students on random topics that students are generally not familiar with; half of them were true and half were false. In three independent trials with a two-week difference, students were asked to rate the validity of 60 statements on a scale of 1 (implausible) to 7 (very likely). Of the randomly selected false claims, 20 were repeated in the second and third trials. The results showed that repeated false statements were rated by students as increasingly likely with each repetition.

What do you think, how quickly absurd myths spread like “Einstein failed mathematics at school”? This effect is called the "illusion of truth."

And it is applicable to the market - I call it the "illusion of trust."

There is a study of banner ads in which college students were asked to read an article online with the banner displayed next to it. In short, the group found the test banner more credible than other ads that were less likely to appear or had not been shown before.

Remember when you last visited an ecommerce site, product ads from there appeared on your Facebook page in three minutes? This is called retargeting - one of the most profitable ways of advertising ... The effect of a simple exposure is also evident in retail trade, when we prefer branded goods to the rest simply because we are already familiar with it. Even the contents are the same, but with a different label.

“BUT WAIT,” you say. “What about these annoying videos that are repeated at each commercial break with intrusive regularity? Or these radio announcements, repeating the phone of a company for 20 times. YES OK, I just hate them! ”

Yes, I know, I hear. But here is the nuance ... here is the fine line on which the trick for the advertisers and marketers depends.

Repetition is effective only when people do not focus on it. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that repetitive messages increase the credibility of a message only with a low level of processing by the listener . The brain is capable of processing emotions unconsciously. When your message is heard by a consumer focused on it, the argument should be especially convincing, since with each repetition it loses its strength and becomes intrusive.

That's why subliminal advertising is so effective - you can control the mind of the consumer. Everyone (even a “crazy person”) is susceptible to subliminal advertising.

Application:How can you achieve an intuitive consumer craving for your product? How to keep the product in the minds of consumers?

Trust trigger # 3: Authoritative heuristic

What is it: When someone with a certain power (authority, experience, influence, etc.) expresses an opinion on a certain topic, their opinion looks trustworthy.

How it works: Those who have earned authority have usually achieved this position through impressive experience, skills, wisdom, and power. When we are not sure what to do, we often turn to the leader for guidance. This allows you to take advantage of the expert’s knowledge without having to do complex work (and often also avoid responsibility).

Sociologist Max Weber claims that there are three types of authority:
  • Rational legitimate authority. The strength of this type in formal rules. Examples include John F. Kennedy, Bill Bratton, and General Colin Powell.
  • Traditional power. Such power draws strength from customs and social formations. An example would be Queen Elizabeth, Pope, and your boss.
  • Charismatic leader. Gets power by demonstrating an exemplary trait (such as heroism or strength of character) that evokes respect and devotion. Examples: Robert Downey Jr., Tony Robbins and Elon Musk.
    The most interesting type of such a leader, in my opinion, is celebrity. They are very popular in modern society and have a huge impact on the purchasing desire of the masses. But above all, these people are known for being themselves (Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, etc.). Think about it - we all know that they did not receive fame for their outstanding intelligence or hard work.

There are many ways to achieve credibility with the consumer. Titles like PhD, the governor or the Olympic gold medalist are often some of the most elusive, although this is a quick way to look authoritative in the eyes of the consumer. Appearance, like a white coat with a briefcase or a stethoscope, implies a certain authority. But such an image is easy to fake. Expensive items like a new sports car, penthouse or luxury watch can have the same effect.

Examples: When was the last time a doctor diagnosed you and prescribed medication? Did you check the doctor’s license and knowledge, were you interested in a second opinion or medicine prices? Or did you just follow the doctor’s advice without further questions? Just an example of authority in action.

One of the most cited examples of such heuristics is Stanley Milgram's book Obedience to Authority experiments . But authority also manifests itself in other forms: doctors, lawyers, accountants, professional athletes, police officers, etc. No doubt you saw an ad with the following statements: “# 1 pain medication recommended by doctors” or “9 out of 10 dentists use our toothpastes.” The effect is also observed at a finer level of product positioning. If Frank Underwood uses a Mac , maybe I should ...

When The Cuckoo's Callingwas published by war veteran Robert Galbraith in mid-2013, it received rave reviews, but was sold in a meager print run of 1,500 copies. Even with reviews from USA Today, Slate, and Publishers Weekly. After a couple of months, it became known that Robert Galbraith is simply the pseudonym of Joan Rowling. And sales instantly skyrocketed to 185.866%, moving from # 4.709 to number one on Amazon’s bestseller list. Why? She has authority and reputation in the literary circle. Her name attracts attention. The book became a bestseller not for its quality, but because of the author’s reputation.

Application: What authoritative personality can you use in marketing? Where would you place them (ads with famous personalities, reviews, sponsorship, partners, etc.) to build trust?

Confidence Trigger # 4: Bandwagon Effect

What it is: We tend to believe in something because other people began to believe in it before us. There is safety in numbers.

The phrase “jump onto the winner’s cart” (Bandwagon) comes from American politics of the late 19th century. Dan Rice, a famous circus performer of the time, used a cart with established loud music to draw attention to his political campaign. With increasing popularity, more and more people saw his success and wanted to take a place in the wagon. He did not win, but this effect was so strong that it became a standard element of other campaigns. But such a trick was used too often and soon acquired a negative connotation, as people joined the crowd to associate themselves with success.

How it works:When we see the group of people we want to join, the social component and the inborn need for community come into play - that's why we act like everyone else. We want to be part of the crowd. The effect is so powerful that people often ignore or even change their beliefs to follow the mass.

It all depends on the assumptions that we use as mental approaches. The subconscious, as it were, tells us: “If others buy this toothpaste, then it is good. And I don’t have to strain to find the best brand. I just take advantage of the wisdom of the crowd. ”

Examples:Have you ever decided to watch a video on YouTube based on its number of views? Social media makes such a trigger extremely effective, demonstrating involvement in the crowd and helping to easily jump onto the “loudly playing cart”.

Research by Solomon Ashein 1950 demonstrated the power of conformity. Researchers and participants of the same subjects were shown 3 lines of different lengths. Then they showed line 4 and asked which of those three was of the same or similar length. This happened several times with general agreement. Then all the dummy participants unanimously chose an obviously false answer. The experimenters wanted to know how often the participants adjust to the group. Almost 75% gave up their own judgments for the sake of matching the group and gave the wrong answer. The differences from the control group are enormous - only 1% there gave incorrect answers, since there was no crowd pressure.

For another example of the effect of a common carriage, let us return to politics. Although real "bandwagon" is no longer used, the effect is preserved. Many people pull to the last vote to assess who is most likely to win - and vote for him. In a study by the British Electoral Committee, Ian McAllister and Donley Stadler gathered ballots and found that voters who had heard at least one public opinion poll before the election (about 3 out of 4 people) were inclined to vote for the most likely candidate.

Associating yourself with a winner is always a pleasure, be it politics, sports or something else.

The crowd has the power to direct attention. In a study by Michael Luke of Harvard Universityit was noted that an increase in the rating by 1 “star” in the Yelp service raises the company's local income by 5% -9%. In another study, two Berkeley economists found that a ½ star rating increase in Yelp increases the chances of selling all tickets by 49%.

There are whole business models built around such a concept. Think of the site of Groupon, a company that so quickly reached a value of $ 1 billion. Or crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, which received more than $ 1.5 billion in contributions.

Application: How to achieve the effect (or feeling) that everyone is buying your product? How to demonstrate popularity to everyone?

Confidence Trigger # 5: Deficit Trick

What is it: As soon as something becomes difficult to acquire or limited, its realized value grows. This trick relies on a person's perception of the immediate availability of something.

How it works: This trigger goes hand in hand with the previous one. When certain resources become limited, a deficit trigger comes into effect and makes such resources more attractive to us. Your subconscious tells you: “Those things must be very much in demand. I don’t want to miss them! ”In his best-selling Influence book, Robert Cialdini says that“ A person’s tendency to be more sensitive to possible losses than to gains is one of the most useful discoveries in sociology. ”

Examples:Have you ever been lost in a pharmacy in front of a ton of packs of pills? When there was only one box with Allegra, and next to a dozen boxes with other options. What did you buy?

There is no need to go far for an example of using scarcity in business models. Antique and collectible shops work great for this. Twinkie hysteria is a great example of what people are prepared for in short supply. The ruin of the Hostess bakery led to absurd prices at an eBay Twinkie auction.

Stefan Vorcel, Jerry Lee and Akanby Adewale invited participants to choose their favorite cookies in their famous chocolate-crisp-cookie experiment. One group was asked to take cookies from a jar with ten pieces, and another from a jar with two cookies. All cookies were the same. I suppose you already guessed what was rated above.

And this works not only with quantity, but also with time. QVC decided to limit both time and quantity; in the end, the circuit worked quite well for them. Retail stores use restrictions every time before Sunday and annual sales, and for any other occasion convenient for sale.

Application: How to use scarcity to emphasize the desirability of your product? How to use time or quantity limits to boost sales?

Confidence Trigger # 6: Anti-Conclusions

What it is: I believe only in what I see

How it works: People often doubt the validity of statements based on facts, figures and theory. But when they are offered empirical data, they begin to believe. The more impressive the demonstration, the more thrill - the more people will want to buy a product. Better to see once than hear a hundred times.

Examples: Did you happen to skip channels late at night, and stop advertising on kitchen knives cutting a wooden board, stone or hammer (yes, a hammer!) ? Did you immediately want to buy a kit? And honestly, bought it?

The entire advertising business lives on this principle. We all saw Tempurpedic, mattresses in which someone hoppedstrictly upright on the bed with a full glass of wine. Anyone who was woken up by other people tossing and turning in bed at night will say to themselves "if you can safely jump on this bed and not spill wine, then surely no one will throw me at night."

The most fruitful demonstrations add to the drama of risk or surprise. Take Houdini as an example. At a time when every magician showed a trick to get rid of a straitjacket, Houdini added an element of entertainment and risk to impress the audience. He got rid of a straitjacket, being hung upside down on a crane, a hundred feet above the ground, or in an aquarium with sharks. Here is a show! Use visual effects to enhance the intrigue.

But be careful. A demonstration can both quickly build trust and destroy it. Without any hope of a sale. Just a hint of deception or incompetence, and you will be thrown out of the hearts and souls of the audience forever. Use the demo wisely.

Application: What kind of demonstrations can be used to cause shock and awe of the audience, followed by unconditional trust? What kind of drama can I add?


Trust is not given just like that. You must work hard to earn it. I hope you have the advantage with such powerful techniques.

Knowing such mechanisms, you will not only be able to increase sales, but also protect yourself from the influence of others in the same way.

We hope you use the advice wisely. And Alconost is ready to help you with their implementation: we can make visual and spectacular videos , as well as write sales texts in both Russian and English.

About the translator

Translation of the article was done in Alconost.

Alconost localizes applications, games and sitesinto 60 languages. Native translators, linguistic testing, cloud platform with API, continuous localization, project managers 24/7, any format of string resources.

We also make advertising and training videos - for sites that sell, image, advertising, training, teasers, expliner, trailers for Google Play and the App Store.

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