Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. When growing your business, your relationship with your clients is critical. If both parties trust one another, it’s likely that the relationship will be long lasting and fruitful for both sides. The following contributed post is entitled, 4 Steps To Building Client Trust.
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As an independent professional or as head of a small start-up operation, it’s a huge task that takes up most of your resources to win new business. Think how much you’ve spent running ad campaigns, attending networking events and even cold calling to try and win new clients. New business, however, doesn’t have to mean new clients. If you shift your focus slightly to spend more of your time on building and maintaining brilliant working relationships with your existing client base, you can set yourself up to win repeat business, expand your offer to capture different areas of their trade, or benefit from word of mouth recommendations to others. Building lasting relationships takes time – it’s definitely a long game thing – which is why so many of us get impatient and shelve it in favour of chasing down new clients. But the rewards of putting the time and groundwork in can be huge – just follow these simple tips to get started.
Prioritise Effective Communication
Your main priority when it comes to managing client relations? Simple, timely, efficient communication. Providing updates, checking in and adding value with information not only develop your standing and position you as a go-to person but they also nicely demonstrate your range of capabilities and keep you and your business at the front of a client’s mind when they’re in the market to commission something. Responding promptly to queries and being useful and proactive with sharing information all demonstrate to the client that they and the health of their business are important to you. It also encourages an open and honest approach that creates the right environment for more business. Above all, be consistent in your approach.
Do What You Say You Will, When You Say You’ll Do It
This should go without saying, but sadly it’s something that can fall by the wayside. The key is that understanding little things affect how people perceive your stance on the big things. Say you mention the name of a great restaurant where you can get a table to your client, and they want the details for a business lunch. You say you’ll pass them on. Then in all the whirlwind of work and deadlines, somehow you don’t. Not a bit deal, right? Wrong. This little test demonstrate how reliable and how much integrity you have overall. How can a client choose to trust you on something important like delivering a project to budget or looking after data entry security if they already have the impression that you renege on your word? Every word and action counts, even the minor ones, in establishing trust.
There are a lot of responsibilities on the shoulders of any solopreneur or small business owner, and it’s very easy indeed to get overwhelmed. However, if you let this show to clients then you’ve made a fatal mistake. You have to remain upbeat and exclude the enthusiasm, energy and confidence that you want your clients to know your service for, even when you don’t feel like it. Having zeal for your work inspires others to come along with you and throw more business your way. They want to have you on their team. So even if you’re having the worst day, do not pass that impression on – it counts more than you may think.
See Your Client As An Individual
It’s an old truism that people deal with people, but it persists for a reason. Of course you have to keep your working relationships on a professional footing, but it’s also key to acknowledge the individuality of the people and the businesses you’re dealing with too. The level you do that to depends on the industry and the particular relationship you’ve established, but adding a personal touch will ensure you’re remembered and that you make a positive connection.