The healthiest relationships are built on trust, and business relationships are no exception. Building trust with existing and potential clients can go a long way toward strengthening your brand and earning new business. We’ve put together a few tips to get you started.
Lose the elevator pitch
“In 30 seconds or less, tell me who you are, what you do and – most importantly – what you can do for me. Go!” We’ve all been to a networking event that started out this way. But with today’s increased focus on content and decreased focus on direct sales, we’re somewhat surprised the elevator pitch is still around.
Almost nothing sounds less sincere and, to us, less appealing. Instead, focus on building connections and having real conversations. Figure out what you have in common with your target clients and talk about those things, on your blog and social media or at community events.
Figure out what you have in common with your target clients and talk about those things, on your blog and social media or at community events.
Also encourage open and honest feedback, even if it’s not private, and act on that feedback. Communication goes both ways.
Provide consistent quality
Either directly or indirectly, you’ve made your clients a promise about what you can deliver. Now make good on it. Your clients need to know what to expect from you each and every time they work with you. That’s what builds brand loyalty and referrals.
Think about a restaurant you’ve been to dozens of times. You like the food, the service is great and the atmosphere is perfect for you. Until that one time you had to wait 30 minutes for your food and the clearly overworked server was self-righteous instead of apologetic.
It was just one time out of many, but it’s the one experience you’ll talk about for weeks. And you’ll tell your story to anyone who will listen.
Be responsive when mistakes happen
Try as you might to be at the top of your game every single day, you will occasionally deliver a less-than-stellar experience. We hate to admit it, but it happens to all of us.
When it happens to you, respond immediately. Be open and honest. Talk to the client, explain what happened and apologize. Let them know what you’re doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again. And listen. It’s not easy hearing negative feedback, but would you rather your client tells you all about it or 100 of their closest friends?
Become part of your community
Your clients want to know that you care about them and their community. As a company, sponsor and attend community events or support a local charity.
Your clients want to know that you care about them and their community.
Support something you truly believe in and can get behind for the long term. And do it because you want other people to become involved, too.
If your employees do their own charity work, recognize them for it, and ask what you can do to help.