To influence a customer, you need to build a relationship on trust. If clients trust you, they’ll be open to your feedback and get a better result.
How often have you suggested a design or functionality, only for it to be shot down, and then end up building something you believe is sub-standard without that input from yourself? If you’ve had these situations (and trust me, nearly all of us have), then it’s very likely that your client relationship wasn’t built on trust.
So how do you go about building this elusive trust with clients? Here are 6 simple steps; follow them all, and you’ll certainly develop better relationships with your customers, which means more influence and greater results.
I don’t mean calling them Madam or Sir; I’m talking genuine respect. Don’t be late to appointments, dress appropriately, don’t duck blame and be polite. Share their vision and understand their reasoning for decisions.
I mean genuine, not just marketing speak naturally. Next time you talk to your client, be down to earth, shake off that corporate speak and treat them like a valued friend.
Justify Your Work
Don’t just send through a design concept or a dot-point list of functionality without explaining your thought processes. Sure, you can explain to them technically, but give them statistics, case studies, reasons you chose that colour or why you suggest against that 320-field-long contact form. Do the research and arm yourself with statistics, and back up every claim.
We all make mistakes, well, the humans amongst us anyway. I’m sure you’ve made a fair amount of errors on client time like all of us have. How you deal with them makes you better – own up to them, let the client know, and either share or wear the costs of your mistake.
What may work wonders for your client? Share it with them – don’t be afraid of rejection, let them know it’s an idea, and make sure they understand you were thinking of them last night or over the weekend – this proves you are passionate and not just a 9 to 5 thinker.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? It’s true, though; nobody wants a supplier who will do whatever they ask, even when the supplier knows it’s a bad move. If your client asks you to do something you know won’t work, then let them know – politely, of course, and explain your reasons in detail.
If you build a trusting relationship, you will end up with a longer one that goes far beyond this present project. You’ll build influence with your customer and have a loyal client who wants to return and keep working with you.
We all know working with a previous client is cheaper and easier. They know your processes and systems, they don’t need every dollar justified, and they’ll ask for your input, which makes for a better and more fulfilling project.
Building a relationship of trust with clients is essential for effective collaboration and better outcomes. You can foster trust and strengthen client relationships by following six simple steps – showing respect, being genuine, justifying your work, admitting mistakes, sharing ideas, and respectfully disagreeing.
Demonstrating real concern, understanding their vision, and explaining your thought processes help establish trust. Admitting mistakes and taking responsibility shows accountability and integrity. Sharing ideas and respectfully expressing disagreement demonstrate your passion and expertise. When trust is established, it leads to longer and more fruitful relationships, loyalty, and increased influence with clients. Working with returning clients is more cost-effective, as they are familiar with your processes and value your input, resulting in more successful and fulfilling projects.
CWS Technology is a trusted partner in building client relationships based on trust. They strive to understand client visions, justify their work, and share innovative ideas. Their passion for delivering quality results makes them ideal for fostering relationships with clients.