This month I want follow on from last month’s article on how to keep the clients you have gained with some more tips on how you can do this for the long term.
One way of looking at your business is that you are selling trust – your prospects will buy “you” before they buy your subject matter expertise. If they like you, and believe they can trust you, then you are already moving along the pathway to assent. Trust is one of the main reasons for repeat use by a client, so what are some of the ways that you can build that level of trust?
- Trust comes from delivering results on time. If you make a promise, or commitment, and you can match it or beat it, then you are building trust. This is where the dark art of managing “scope creep” comes in!
- It also comes from delivering on or below budget. Again, they will trust what you tell them on future assignments.
- The whole way you approach prospects and clients, in particular making an effort to adapt your behaviour to match theirs, thereby creating a “meeting of minds”, will also help.
- Sticking to what you are good at, and what you deserve to be paid well for, is another foundation of trust. You will gain trust and respect by being open and honest re what you can and can’t do.
- Keeping in touch with clients, even in between assignments, can make a contribution as well. “I saw this article and thought of you” – useful tactic to employ and generally one which is much appreciated.
Continuously striving for a better understanding of the client’s business, and his or her issues, will also bear fruit over time. In this regard one key tip is to instil in them the confidence and belief that you do genuinely understand their business, their issues, and have them in mind when you are not in their presence.
This can set you apart from your competition and position you so that you are better placed to react to what they will need next, as opposed to merely reacting to what they need now. This will also assist you overtime if, aspirationally, you would like to move from consultant to trusted advisor.
Next we would look at having an appropriate “bag of tools”.
In the meantime, go and build some trust!