Tips for Building Client Trust

Trust must be earned. It is not an automatic feature of a relationship that is only lost through intentionally bad behaviour. When developing any new relationship there are certain behaviours that will build trust and certain behaviours that will destroy it. The problem is we may not always be aware which side we are on. Here are five tips that can help you reinforce those actions that move you toward trust and eliminate those actions that do not. Tip 1: Perception is not always reality When meeting a potential client, differentiate between their perceived and real needs. There may be some solutions or services the client thinks are needed. Their logic maybe driven by incorrect information or old data. It is your responsibility to help them uncover and accept their real needs. This builds trust when you successfully separate out their misconceptions and deliver insight. Done effectively, you will guide the client away from what is keeping them up at night, to what should be keeping them up at night. As a result, the client will appreciate and trust you more because they understand that order for this to happen, you must listen well, be prepared and deeply understand their business, market and industry. Tip 2: Give advance notice Don’t cold call. A potential client should not receive an unexpected phone call. Send a letter or email, or get someone to arrange an introduction – anything that prepares the ground. If the potential client replies that he / she is not interested, that’s OK. At least they have considered your approach and its timing. Write back and continue the...

Make Your Message Compelling

As a leader, you are responsible for giving a clear direction to your team, department or company. One of the key skills for a leader is to align people and get them working towards common goals. This is done by combining two essential facets of leadership: communicating a clear and compelling message about corporate goals and exemplifying the company’s values in one’s own words and deeds. The best leaders realise that this helps them inspire and energise employees to achieve a higher level of performance. It also makes it easier to implement change and increase the overall competitiveness of an organisation. Delivering the Message Too often, leaders assume that calling for a meeting and making a statement is all that is needed to get the message across. They forget good employees are paid to think, and are not inclined to follow instructions blindly. Do not fall into the trap of expecting subordinates to respond as robots. Make sure your comments are compelling – on both a rational and emotional level. Talk about results and benefits. Be specific at all times because employees rarely pay attention to generalities. Also, if you think the audience might overlook certain crucial points, highlight the relevance of such points. That is a part of your job. Even a leader should be prepared to substantiate an argument. Seniority does not automatically allow you to speak with unquestioned authority, so you need relevant facts and figures to prove any point. You can also use stories, case studies, visual aids or anecdotal evidence. Since people tend to be sceptical, especially when faced with impending change, there is...

Closing a Client Meeting

Closing a client meeting effectively means more than just summarising key talking points and committing to next steps. The good closing is also a time demonstrate your focus and interest in what the client has been saying to you – both verbally and non-verbally. If you are able to reflect back to the client your deeper understanding of their needs, you will improve your client’s commitment and greatly increase rapport. Leaving Time If you have checked with the client and have an hour-long meeting, be sure to leave 15 to 20 minutes to cover anything important and to close the meeting effectively. After you have built trust, ascertained and confirmed a client’s situation you need to make sure there is time to explore a suitable way forward and seek commitment. It is not the time to launch a hard sell. Rather, it is about motivating commitment and acknowledging that clients buy on their own schedule, when they are ready. This is not about your sales process, but about their buying process. Stop Thinking, and Listen “To listen well is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation” Chinese Proverb When approaching the close of a meeting, you will need to summarise key elements of what was covered and the way forward. This requires effective listening on your part to ensure you have the data you need to wrap up effectively. Besides lack of interest, the biggest barrier to effective listening is thinking. No one can listen – really listen – and think at the same time. Many things may...