Winning a new client, while satisfying, is just the start of a business relationship that will hopefully be both lucrative and rewarding. And although factors such as cost and expertise will have helped win the business in the first place, arguably the most important part of a working relationship – and the key to retaining clients year after year – is trust.
Trust isn’t built in a day. It’s something that’s slowly nurtured and maintained over time. Here are five ways to help build trust with a new client.
Past successes and happy clients speak volumes about your abilities, so share case studies and testimonials with new clients to reassure them that they’ve made the right decision. This can be done effectively by including case studies on your company’s homepage, or professional networks. Testimonials are generally short quotes, making them perfect for sharing on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. When you receive positive feedback from your clients directly on the social media platform, engage and re-tweet them, or feature them on your Instagram and Facebook stories, or create a longer post highlighting them on LinkedIn.
Everybody likes to feel as though someone is interested in them and professional relationships are no different. You must become as passionate about your client’s business as they are themselves. Spend time to learn about and research their industry and the business itself, and familiarise yourself with the unique challenges they face.
This is essential. Timely, efficient communication is a must but, alongside this, you should work out the specific communication preferences of your new client, and conform to them. They may rather meet face-to-face, speak on the phone or communicate primarily via email. You need to do what makes them feel most comfortable and, by conforming to their work style, you will create a framework of collaboration that works best for your client and so will ultimately work best for you as well.
Making promises and keeping them is an effective way to build trust in any relationship and working partnerships are no different. Keeping your commitments to your client is about respecting the client and their time and will lead to a reciprocal understanding. If the client comes to you with a query – however small – get back to them promptly. Make sure you keep appointments, and regularly communicate with the client about progress towards agreed deadlines. It’s not just a case of common courtesy, but proves to the client that they are your priority and that you will not make them think they are having to chase you for information.
One of the best ways to help build a strong relationship with a client is to develop a reputation as a professional who delivers exceptional results. Go above and beyond what your competitors might be offering. This doesn’t mean overselling yourself and promising unrealistic results, but instead setting achievable expectations that you deliver efficiently and impressively. Think of anything that adds value to the service you are delivering to the client to show them that you are willing to go above and beyond. Find the opportunity to go above and beyond in a manner that your clients will appreciate. The extra effort you put in will help solidify your integrity and commitment, which are also the cornerstones of a trusting relationship.