How do you find great new clients while maintaining growth in your long term clients? Most clients trust me to help them find their best solution even if it isn’t me. How can you build trust with clients while growing your business?
Most companies fail today because they are unable to grow with their current clients. This must be why so many organizations spend so much time looking for new clients. Trust me, I’ve seen many companies lose clients because they were unable to convince their long term clients of the viability of their new products or services.
It can’t be that it’s less expensive to find new clients, I can’t think of a single industry where it costs you less to find a new client than to work with a current one. Not one. But what do you need to know to grow with your clients? My answer is build trust on a regular basis.
Trust can provide your organization a great edge in dealing with clients. So, how do you build trust with people that have known you for years? Start early and always work to improve your relationship with your clients. Over the next two days I’ll share several ideas that I’ve seen work with many of my long term clients. I’ll also share what I’ve learned from other strong consultants about trust.
The first way to build trust is to understand your client’s world. It sounds easy, but it’s not. I’ve seen long term relationships go down the drain simply because something changed in the client’s world and the consultant missed it. Are you watching your clients and their businesses closely? As importantly today in a global economy, its critical you watch your clients and their customers more closely to make sure you keep up with changes in their markets.
The second way to build trust is to create a custom driven solution for their unique situations. Have you ever talked with someone who could provide you a solution without knowing your unique situation? I get email and notes on social media platforms every day. The more we get to know clients, the more we must ask questions to make sure we don’t jump to solutions too quickly. My wife describes it this way; sometimes I just want to be heard and sometimes I want you to solve my problem. Do you know which is which when talking with longer term clients?
The third way to build trust is to learn to be consistent in how you communicate with your clients. I have a friend who is a consultant who communicates aggressively when they start with a client. But over time they assume they’ve built a certain level of trust with their key clients. The problem is the client is used to hearing from the consultant on a regular basis. When they don’t hear, they get nervous. Want to build trust? Find out what your client wants and then match their requirements to how you communicate.
The fourth way to build trust is to avoid using jargon when talking with clients. It’s easy when you first learn new things to want to use jargon. It sounds cool, it makes you more confident. It makes you feel like an insider. Sometimes it breaks down the trust between you and your clients. I think this has changed over the years, because we are exposed to so much jargon. Most clients trust you more when you find better ways to communicate ideas simply.
The fifth way to increase trust is to understand that most clients do not want to be your first client using a new tool or approach. Find ways to share new ideas with clients in a way that provides them an advantage. Every one of my executive clients is looking for an edge in their markets. Showing them examples of other people using the new approach is a great way to build trust.
Finally, get more comfortable with ambiguity and change. These two things can lead to a break down in trust even among the best of friends.
Tomorrow, we share three simple communication strategies that can help increase trust and growth in your relationships with clients and partners.
See you then.