/ How to Build Trust with New Clients
How to Build Trust with New Clients
Just like any human relationship, running a successful business is often entirely dependent on the inter-personal connections that business owners and their clients are able to form. In order to assure customers that it’s your product, service or skill set that has the potential to answer their problems, it’s important to create and nurture an honest, genuine and transparent feeling of trust between both parties.
Studies frequently support this claim, finding that 73% of consumers would be willing to pay more for a product produced by a transparent brand, 83% of customers feel more loyal to brands that respond to and resolve complaints and 89% would return to a business based only on good customer service.
Developing an honest and believable level of trust and respect with clients requires business owners to be patient, to listen to their customers and to have faith in their own services, though there are a few principles that can be followed to keep things on track. Here’s how to build trust with new clients.
Respect Your Customers
Trust in any kind of relationship is founded on an understanding of mutual respect, if you’re open, honest and empathetic to your client’s needs, they’re far more likely to reciprocate these feelings to your benefit. In a business sense, this means making an effort to deliver on every promise you make.
If a meeting is scheduled for a specific time, always ensure that you’re prepared and present, if you’ve promised a deliverable will be sent by the end of the day, make sure that the project is complete and in the client’s inbox before the deadline has passed. When it comes to respect, consistency is king.
Business owners that take the time to understand their client’s needs by envisaging the service and level of communication they would expect themselves will often find it easier to nurture a sense of mutual respect. In fact, 96% of consumers believe that empathy is essential to positive customer support interactions, illustrating the importance of patience and respect to strong client relationships.
Always be Transparent
Tangentially related to respect, providing new clients with a transparent set of expectations regarding your products and services will help to build meaningful trust. It may be tempting to over-promise or slightly exaggerate your abilities to secure a new contract, but failing to deliver on those promises will likely destroy any chance of repeat custom, and could result in negative reviews or a bad reputation.
Transparency in business is not just about responding to your client’s questions and requests with clarity and honesty. Making sure to set reasonable expectations from your own experience is equally important. For example, if a project can be completed quickly but the product’s quality will suffer, don’t simply agree to a faster deadline without fully explaining how this could impact the client at a later date.
It's wise to uphold a sense of transparency throughout every aspect of your business, as this will help to signify trust and respect without prompt for new clients. This means hiring trustworthy staff, making sure that your employees respect each other, regularly communicating with customers during ongoing projects and letting clients know about any issues that may occur rather than trying to hide mistakes.
Admit to Mistakes
It’s worth expanding on this point, as it’s not uncommon for business owners to have an idealistic view of their company’s abilities. Though it’s important to be confident in your services and able to assure customers of a quality product, mistakes can and will happen. It’s how you choose to respond that will have a significant impact on your client relationships and may determine whether they become repeat customers.
If a mistake does occur and you or your staff are at fault, immediately notify your client and explain how you intend to rectify the situation. Don’t try to escape blame or hide any wrongdoing, simply ask the client how they wish to move forward and accept full responsibility for any inconvenience caused.
Admitting to mistakes and demonstrating an intent to correct them will show new clients that you have their best interests in mind, as well as act to assure customers that you’ll work to solve any potential future issues. Considering that 50% of consumers will switch to a competitor after one bad experience, and 80% will do the same after multiple incidents, honesty plays an important role in customer retention.
Developing and maintaining effective communication channels is one of the most direct ways that business owners can build trust with new clients. By demonstrating that you’re willing to adapt to your client’s needs and collaborate with their vision, you’ll ensure that your customers feel fully supported.
When taking on a new project, make sure to set communication expectations with your client. This could mean scheduling regular meetings to assess how the work is going, or agreeing upon a chat service, email address or phone line that the customer can use to reach you with any pressing requests.
Make sure to set boundaries with regards to communications, such as deciding on mutually agreed contactable hours and an expected turnaround for each party to reply. Also, remember that business relationships are a two-way street, clients should be expected to provide you with an equal amount of respect, so have a clearly defined protocol for handling outstanding invoices and impossible demands.
Provide Additional Value
A great way to instill a sense of trust and respect in your clients is to surprise them with additional value alongside your agreed-upon work. This doesn’t mean providing free services or adding extra products that the client hasn’t asked for, just taking the time to provide more detail than expected.
For instance, a digital marketing business may compile an additional audience research report that helps their client better understand the project at hand, or a SaaS provider may suggest extra integrations that could benefit their client with an explanation of an effective way to teach their staff best practices.
By showing new clients that you and your staff have taken the time to consider additional resources that could improve the project, business owners can demonstrate that they’re invested in the client’s success, facilitating a sense of collaboration to help foster a deeper level of mutual trust and respect.
Making efforts to build trust with new clients is essential for any kind of business, after all, around 65% of the average company’s sales come from repeat customers. Just like in personal relationships, this process requires dedication, open and honest communication and a sense of transparency between both parties.
By treating each new client with respect, listening to their ideas and being open to collaboration, business owners can show their customers that they’re invested in every project, and by being honest about mistakes and acting to fix unexpected issues clients will be assured that your business can be trusted.