I recently saw an amazing movie by Tony Kane called Detachment on Netflix Instant. There are people who’ll tell you this was one of those depressing, arthouse, everybody mumbles and stares at their feet kind of films, and those people don’t “get” movies. This was more about a person’s relationship with an idea than his relationship with an outside “bad guy”. This movie is about a set of people who want love, affection, respect and empathy from the people around them, only to get jaded when the world wasn’t in a giving mood.
The main character in this movie is Henry Barthes, a disillusioned substitute teacher. He wants to help the kids, but they’re not interested. He’s a substitute, so they know he’s not going to be around for too long. From the second he gives his first assignment, he’s getting cussed out, the kids are kicking his bookbag, getting in his face, acting like they wanna fight him.
The one decent kid in class is Meredith – she’s bullied by the other kids for being a chubby loser, and even her own parents can’t stand her because she’s always drawing depressing art instead of studying hard so she can get into Stanford (and out of their hair).
Now the bastard high school from hell that’s featured in this movie isn’t 100% realistic, but it’s like a compressed version of reality – a way for you to understand years of bubbling frustration in a short movie.
Parents resent teachers. Teachers are frustrated by parents. Barthes takes insane amounts of abuse at his job and vents it out on others. Serious connections in the world of Detachment are hard to get. And when you do stumble across them, they’re fragile and can be broken at a moment’s notice. Somebody misunderstands a situation, takes a set of words the wrong way, and a budding relationship gets shredded.
The ending to the movie isn’t exactly Hollywood, but Barthes does have some success – and it comes because of his ability to give, and give again, in the right ways for the right reasons. That’s a problem we have to deal with ourselves: what can we give to establish credibility and build trust… without getting our souls drained like a high school teacher in a curiously evenly mixed-race inner city school?
We do most of the work of establishing credibility on our own. When we hear someone else talk about a person, it makes us curious, makes us want to experience things for ourselves.That’s why a super fast way to increase credibility in your business is to get testimonials. Now, that can be tough if you’re a newbie, but it’s not very hard if you think a little bit outside the box. All testimonials do not have to be from people who have paid for your services. It’s not a sin to ask others within your circle to trade services and products for testimonials.
It is important that you not be afraid to ask for recommendations and testimonials. Many people will not think about it otherwise. They may have loved your service and attention very much but it might never occur to them to give you a recommendation or testimonial if you don’t ask. The worse thing they can do is say no, or ignore your request. But, most of the time they’ll give you a nice recommendation or testimonial.
Make it a habit at the end of every single project to ask for recommendations. If you have created an informational product and you want testimonials for that, send your buyers a request for reviews of the product. Ask them for their ideas and tips to make your product better. Was anything missing? What did you learn from the product? It’s a good idea to ask questions that ask for specific and evocative experiences.
You’ve Got The Look!
Testimonials are good at getting people to convince themselves of your credibility, and the look of your page is also a part of that. It’s the really simple stuff.
Clear Copy — The copy on your website should be clear, honest, and convey to visitors exactly what you want it to say without being over hyped and full of promises you can’t keep.
Design & Easy Navigation — Choose colors that do not burn the eyes, and don’t pick a lot of different fonts. While many people new to website design tend to want sites that have a lot of graphics, flash, and “fancy stuff” on them, studies show that more plain sites get more repeat visitors. The site should also be easy to navigate. If it’s confusing and cluttered visitors may have a hard time finding the information they want and leave the page due to confusion.
Up to Date Content — A blog is good for keeping up-to-date content flowing on your website. It is imperative not only for search engines to send you regular visitors, but also for visitors to not decide to abandon the page. You only have a few seconds to impress each new viewer, therefore, it is imperative that they perceive an active, newly updated website. Once a week is the minimum, shoot for three to five times a week if you really want to make money.
Advertisements — Run ads, but don’t make them eyesores that overpower the page. Viewers become immune to many types of ads and ignore them completely, so it’s best to mix it up using a combination of banner ads, text ads, directory listings and in line ads. The trick is that less is more.
Unlike a high school sub, you can choose what you wear, when you arrive, and what they hear about you before you pop in the door. Make the best of it!