So your agency has landed a new client. Congrats! Now comes the important part: winning trust with your client and showing them you can build a successful working relationship together.
There’s no way around it: building trust takes time. But it is absolutely worth it. By successfully winning trust with clients, you will build lifelong relationships, receive referrals, and grow your business without any gimmicks or promotions.
Here are some tips on building trust with new clients.
People pick up on inauthenticity. Act and speak in ways that come naturally to you, and interact with your clients the way you would with your colleagues. This does not mean being unprofessional; rather, it means being genuine.
Your client chose to work with you and your agency because there was something about you that appealed to them. Avoid acting or sounding like someone else – you are exactly who your client needs.
Deliver Great (and Consistent) Service
No matter who your client speaks to or interacts with at your agency, they should receive great and consistent service. All the members of your team should be equipped to respond to common questions and situations in a similar way, so a client doesn’t receive two different answers from different people.
To build trust, you need your client to see that every member of your team is skilled and equipped to help them.
Respect Their Time
Courtesy and respect are important to building trust, and nowhere is that truer than in respecting your client’s time. Follow these rules to show your client you respect them and how valuable their time is:
- Promptly return phone calls.
- Promptly reply to emails.
- If you are on vacation or unable to respond to phone calls or emails for a period of time for anything other reason, clearly communicate when you will be able to respond.
- Arrive for in-person meetings 5-10 minutes before the meeting starts.
- Log on to a scheduled call a few minutes ahead of the start time.
- Respect the time allotted for meetings. If a call or meeting is going to run longer than anticipated, ask if attendees are free to discuss longer.
You can lose a lot of goodwill by disrespecting your client’s time. Don’t run that risk when it is so simple to demonstrate courtesy and respect.
Related to the point of ensuring consistent service, make sure your entire team understands the expectations around response times and the other ways of respecting your client’s time.
Be Open and Transparent
A good way of destroying your client’s trust is to stretch the truth or fail to disclose information crucial to the project.
Do not try to hide mistakes, or blame others for them. When issues come up, address them head-on. Explain to the client how you will address the issue and prevent the same issue from coming up in the future.
By being honest and open with your client, you will demonstrate you can be trusted and that they do not need to worry about what you may not be telling them. It will also set you apart from others who play games or avoid admitting to their mistakes. That will go a long way in carrying favor with your client – and making them more likely to recommend you to others.
Help Them Overcome Their Challenges
As you get to know your clients, you will learn about the barriers and challenges that they face. Listen and think about how you can help them get around those barriers or overcome those challenges.
Solo PR suggests two ways to make your client’s life easier:
- Provide information and data in ways your client will be able to use them. If your client is going to make a presentation based on your final report, format the report so it can easily be reformatted into a PowerPoint presentation.
- Find flaws in your client’s processes and fix them. If you’ve asked for a style guide to write the client’s website, but the guide doesn’t exist, offer to write one.
It will take time to develop trust with a new client, but it is something that cannot be rushed. Over time, as you develop a strong relationship, your client will come to trust you, and you will have a loyal, valuable relationship that works well for both of you.
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