As an entrepreneur, there are no relationships more essential to business success than your client rapport. No matter your industry, product, or service, the ability to build and maintain strong client relationships will help you enjoy consistent returning revenue as well as beneficial word-of-mouth reference growth.
However, just as building a successful startup takes skill and initiative, so too does the building of strong client relationships. The foundation of any good client relationship? Trust. If you are looking for surefire ways to begin building trust in your client relationships, here are some top tips to help you enjoy a long-lasting clientele.
Define Trust as a Company Value
Before you can start building trust with your clients, you must first define what trust looks like for you as a business. What are trustworthy characteristics? How do those translate into how you operate, and where does trust fit into your company’s values and mission? Once you put your idea of trust to paper, you can begin to live out your values with your clients.
Ensure Consistent Client Care
If you were a client or customer, what would be vital for keeping you as part of the company team? For many, a sense of belonging and customer care is foundational to building loyalty and trust. Being consistent with your communication and going above and beyond to ensure that clients feel appreciated for their partnership is a way to begin building trust early.
Learn Your Client’s Unique Needs
Every client is a unique individual that has a specific set of desires and expectations from your company. Early on in your client relationship – as well as throughout the contact – ensure that you ask more questions about their desires than your own. Note those needs, and make sure to deliver on them consistently.
Master the Art of the “Follow Up”
Life happens, and relationships with clients can begin to drift apart – especially if you aren’t working directly with them at any current time. Even more than when you are directly engaging with a client, trust is built when you take intentional time to reach out and spend time investing in a client. The periodic coffee break, lunch, and “just because” gift can go a long way in building trust.
Don’t Overpromise & Underdeliver
Just as exceeding expectations can quickly build trust, failing to deliver on promised work or products is a fast-track to broken trust and, ultimately, the loss of a client. Clients would rather you be honest with them about what you can realistically deliver than constantly hear excuses for why you haven’t followed through on your promises. Always be selling, but never oversell.
Be Willing to Refer Your Clients to Other Vendors
It may sound shocking, but if you don’t have the ability to deliver on the product or service a client needs, don’t be afraid to help them meet their needs through another vendor – even if they are a direct competitor. Showing that you are confident enough in your own organization to refer clients shows a bold and rare willingness to place your client over your bottom line.
Always Be Authentic
In client relations, coming off as inauthentic and too “sales-y” is a guaranteed way to make your client feel like their time and money are a means to an end: revenue. Rather than sell your clients on your business or products, sell them on your legitimate, genuine interest in them as people. This authenticity is key to a long-lasting client relationship built on friendship.
Spend Time Face-to-Face
In our ever-evolving digital world, electronic communication has become the fastest, most efficient way to communicate with clients. Never underestimate the power of the in-person meeting when possible. Trust is built faster when a client can see your face and notice how you lean in and engage with them.
Go the Extra Mile Relationally
Does your client offer up unique and personal information regarding their family and other big events in their lives? Making a note of the life-changing events of your client and their family, as well as making the effort to attend these events, will pay huge dividends in helping your client begin to trust you even more.
Build Trust & Watch Your Clients Thrive
Building trust is one of the most impactful ways to help your business grow and succeed. When you go out of your way to ensure that your clients thrive, you will see a strong ROI on your investment quickly. Not only will your clients begin to build their trust in you as an entrepreneur and business, but they will be quick to refer their friends and business partners to your company over your competitors.