Great companies are known by their leaders. For Apple, it was Steve Jobs and now Tim Cook. For Microsoft, it was Bill Gates. Warren Buffet, Larry Ellison, Elon Musk - the list goes on. These companies were known not just for the products and services they sold, but also for the charismatic, idiosyncratic and sometimes eccentric people leading them. These people are or were the face of their business, and for good or bad it made the business human.
Even a small business needs a face.
What happens when you visit a new website?
Your website is your business digital face to the world. When people go to your website they want to learn about what you're selling. With a bit of luck, they're in your target market and they're ready to buy - and they enter your sales funnel.
When someone is serious about inquiring about your products or services, they will spend a lot of time on your website. If you're selling products online they will read every word you wrote about your product, almost every testimonial and revisit the sales page multiple times before they eventually click on the buy button.
But they're doing more than just evaluating your products.
There's a risk every time someone buys
Every time someone buys from you, there's a risk. They're putting down money for your products or services, and they incur a risk that the product is not going to be as good as the marketing material, it may be sloppy and it may even be a complete waste of their money.
If you're selling online products the risk for your buyers is even higher because they can't see your product - or you - in action. They have to trust that your marketing material is accurate, that the product lives up to the hype (and there's almost always some hype) and the testimonials are from real people.
We try to reduce a buyer's risk by adding in material like testimonials. Written ones are ok - video testimonials are way better. We also offer money-back guarantees - the best kinds are unconditional, 30-day full refunds.
But there's one more thing you can do to reduce the risk your buyers have to overcome.
People buy from people
When you buy something from a big company like Apple, the pure size and market presence of the business is enough to overcome the risk you're taking. From the moment you decide you're in the market for a new product, you're researching not just the products but also - sometimes even subconsciously - the company.
A small business does not have the same market presence as a big one, so you have to work a little harder to overcome the objections - the perceived risk - your buyers have.
And one way you can build more trust is to show people that you're human - that there's a face behind the business.
The faceless business
Next time you look at a website, check to see if there's something on the site about the people behind the business. It may be on the Contact page, or an About page.
How do you feel if there's no information about the people behind the business? Almost without exception, you're going to find that you are less likely to inquire about their products or services. And this gets even worse if they're offering something for sale online.
We all have a subconscious bias to distrust something when we can't see the people behind a product or service. The only thing you can base a decision on is the marketing material - and we're wary enough of hype to make that a difficult sell.
But when there's information about the people behind the business freely available, we are more likely to buy from them. Because they're human - they have a name, a face and we may even get to see something about them personally.
We're much more likely to buy from these businesses - because we know who the owners are, the people who built the products or services.
Your business needs a face
If you want to make it easier for people to buy from you, you need to tell them about you. You need to put your face up on your website and you need to let them know you're human.
But you don't have to go over the top. Many entrepreneurs are introverts (including me) and we're not comfortable putting ourselves in the limelight. We instinctively shy away from the limelight.
But the advantage of telling people a little about yourself - and add in a couple of pictures - far outweighs the shyness we feel. When we tell visitors a little about ourselves we're showing that we are people too. We have lives and family and interests.
And that makes us more accessible, and people are more likely to trust us.
Your About page is not just about you
When you do create an "About Us" page for your website (or whatever you choose to call it), remember that the page is not just about you. The best kinds of About pages will tell people about you, but in a way that makes them realise you have a passion for what you're doing - and what they're eventually buying from you.
If you have a team, even better. Every member of your team has something unique that makes them special, and being able to put a face and a name to the person or team who created the products they're about to buy just makes it so much easier to eventually click that buy button.
So tell them something about yourself in a way that relates to what you're selling. Show them that you've gone through the learning curve, you're qualified to build the products or provide the services.
And make yourself human.
Put a face on your business
Just like big businesses are known by their brands, their products and the people behind the company, your business needs a face - your face.
So even if you're an introvert - even if you would prefer to hide behind the anonymity of a website - you'll get better results if you show people who you are. You don't have to be an extrovert to do this, you don't have to put your face up on every page or have tons of videos where you talk about yourself. If that's your personality - great. If not - you still need to be out there.
Because in the end, people buy from people. We are more likely to trust - and therefore buy - from someone who is not anonymous.