Clients new to the area you service or provide products for are often the most difficult. I say this in a positive way.They haven't learned the power of your brand yet, so it is understandable when they have trust issues in what we, as professionals people, actually do. Some new clients want the world immediately and without any real time or significant financial investment. Sadly, if you don't deliver- the trust they don't already have with you turns into resentment and more distrust.
There are ways to help build trust among new clients. In fact, below are three ways you can help promote trust between yourself and another party. I’ve tried and tested all of these steps and they do work!
1. Eliminate the cell phone check at a meeting. No one can trust another person who isn’t present at a meeting. If you are going to lunch or a meeting with someone, leave the cell phone in the car. I’m serious. If you have someone’s attention for a whole hour without showing them there is something better on the end of your phone- you will easily gain their trust.
2. Truly listen. This is hard for many people to do as we all want to share experiences and speak about ourselves. Listening and then repeating what we hear to others is a cue that we are trustworthy because we are interested. Paraphrase what you heard at any meeting back to the key people involved to ensure that you are a listener and you are willing to communicate. This practice builds trust!
3. Close the door. Yes, close the door for every meeting you have with a person if you have an office. This shows that you are putting them first and setting the outside world apart. I even like to say “I know this meeting isn’t going to address confidential information but I like to keep my conversations private. It helps me confide in important people, like yourself, should a situation arise.”
Learning to trust and learning to be trustworthy are two different things. As a business owner, you have to be trustworthy in a world that doesn’t reflect this message. Start implementing the three tips above and you will be on your way.
Twyla Garrett, IME
"The Federal Business Lady!"