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Trust Before Transaction: 2 Powerful Ways Health and Fitness Pros Can Build Trust Before Trying To Sell

By John Berardi, PhD

Marketing and Sales

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People tend to buy from those they know, like, and trust. Likewise, they steer clear of pretty much everyone else. How can you get prospective clients and customers to turn to you? By 1) increasing your Give To Ask Ratio and 2) Moving Your Free Line. Here’s how to do both.

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The thought of being sold something you don’t want or need, from someone you don’t like or trust, can feel violating. Yet it’s easy to spot that violation in other people’s’ approach while missing it in your own.

That’s why, in today’s article, I’ll share two powerful strategies — guaranteed to grow your business — that building trust and affinity before you ever ask anyone to buy anything.

Strategy #1: Increase Your Give to Ask Ratio

When I lead the marketing team at Precision Nutrition, the guiding principle of our strategy was, what I called, the Give to Ask Ratio.

In essence, it was our goal to give awesome, free, educational content to our audience at a higher ratio than we ask them to buy something.

Here’s one example.

Rather than promoting our Precision Nutrition coaching programs directly, we, instead, began promotions by giving away very high quality, free 5-day courses for men and women. These courses focused on teaching them how to eat, move, and live better to improve their health and fitness.

Therefore, our promotions looked like this:

Facebook ads promoting the free
5-day courses for men and women 

Then, once prospects clicked on the ad, they were taken to:

A compelling landing page that
persuaded them to sign up for the course

Then, once prospects gave their name and email address, they were sent:

Days 1 – 5 of the free 5-day course,
on consecutive days, via email

Then, upon completion of the 5 day course, they received:

A follow-up message letting them know that the course was over
but we could keep learning together through our coaching program
and that they could join a special presale list to learn more
and get a big discount next time it’s offered

Then, after joining the presale list, they received:

5 days of follow-up content to help them
better understand the coaching program

Then, a few days before our program’s launch date, they received:

A chance to sign up for coaching

Notice how much free education we gave before asking for something (i.e. to join our program). When calculated out, our Give to Ask Ratio across the entire Precision Nutrition website, and all programs, was about 10 to 1.

Now, at Precision Nutrition, most of our “gifts” are free articles, courses, and videos. Your “gives” could be the exact same, or totally different.

For example:

  • If you’re a good writer, write a free article, booklet, or useful handout.
  • If you have a knack for design, create infographics.
  • If you’re a kitchen whiz, whip up some protein bars or green drinks.
  • If you’re a performer, make free educational or instructional videos.

The key is to capitalize on your own unique abilities.

However, it’s also important to align your “gives” with what you eventually hope to sell. For example, free protein bars won’t necessarily translate to information product sales. But free information probably will.

With that in mind, consider what kinds of things could you give to increase your exposure, build trust, and increase the chance folks will buy from you.

Are there ways you can start increasing your Give to Ask Ratio today?

Strategy #2: Moving the Free Line

The next concept I learned from successful entrepreneur and business coach, Eben Pagan. It’s called Moving the Free Line.

Here’s a simple summary of the idea:

Give some of your best stuff away for free.

You see, historically, especially in online marketing circles, marketers would try to sell every single thing they created. Monthly newsletter subscription: $9.99. Special report: $19.99. E-book: $29.99.

The problem with this approach?

Unless people already know, like, and trust you, they’re not going to buy any of it. Because they don’t know if what you’re selling is worth paying for.

Sure, you might think it’s great. But how are they supposed to know?

When finally realising this, marketers started moving the free line.

In other words, if there was a line between “free” things and “paid” things, where free things were of low value and paid things were of high value, they started giving away high value things, things they would have historically charged for, for free.

By moving the free line, monthly newsletter subscriptions, special reports, and e-books all became free, each of them being used to build trust and demonstrate value vs. turn a profit.

Then, once prospective clients and customers develop good feelings for you and the kind of information you provide, it’s time to create and offer higher cost products and services.

The key, of course, is that the “free” resources have to provide real value. They have to teach people something. They have to feel awesome.

If they’re not — if they’re done poorly, are low in quality, or just serve as elaborate sales pitches — they can actually chase prospects away.

At Precision Nutrition, we did this with hundreds of free articles, as well as free courses, guides, and reports like these:

As they’re all really high quality, we could have easily charged for any of the courses, guides, and books above. So, didn’t we leave money on the table by not selling them?

Nope.

While it might seem paradoxical… by sharing some of our best ideas for free, by giving away some of our best value up front, and by letting people sample what we’re selling in advance, the sale of our higher cost coaching, certification programs, and software programs exploded.

When prospects experience our awesome free stuff, they start thinking:

“Wow, if this is what they’re giving away for free, I can’t wait to see how awesome their paid content is.” 

With that in mind, consider what kinds of things you’re offering for free vs. what kinds of things you’re charging for.

Are there ways you can start moving your free line today?

In the end, as mentioned in this article—Marketing Made Easy: A 3-Step Formula For Health & Fitness Professionals—selling is substantially more difficult if people aren’t already coming to you at an 8 or 9 out of 10 on the readiness to buy scale.

The key factor in getting them there? Helping them to know, like, and trust you before selling anything. Do that well and watch as your sales explode.

Want To Learn More? Go Deeper?

Then download this FREE sample of my latest book, Change Maker.

Change Maker shares the tips, strategies, and lessons I learned growing Precision Nutrition from a two-person passion project to a 200 million dollar company that’s coached over 200,000 clients, certified over 100,000 professionals, and revolutionized the field of nutrition coaching.

Whether you work as a health coach, strength coach, nutritionist, functional medicine doc, or rehab specialist, Change Maker will help you discover the right direction to take, the fastest way to make progress, and the practical steps required to build the career of your dreams in health and fitness.

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