No matter what industry you operate in, earning the trust of prospects and clients is essential if you want your business to be a success.
While most entrepreneurs focus on gaining a prospect's trust during the sales phase, it is even more important that you continue to build that trust after you have finished onboarding. As you build trust, you avoid miscommunications and improve retention, ensuring that those clients you worked so hard to gain will become a recurring source of income.
How you treat clients immediately after onboarding can make or break their relationship. Building trust quickly should become your top priority.
1. Respect their time.
Your clients are busy. That's probably why they hired you in the first place -- so they could have more time to focus on other tasks. One of the best ways to build trust is to respect their time so they can feel like their investment is paying off.
There are many simple ways you can do this. Don't schedule a lengthy video call when you can send an email instead. On the other hand, when the client reaches out to you with a question or concern, don't delay in responding to them. Similarly, when you do need to hold a phone call or in-person meeting, don't be late to dial.
Of course, this doesn't mean you have to drop everything the moment a new client contacts you. But by establishing clear expectations upfront (such as responding to emails within a day), you will keep them happy and ensure that their concerns don't slip through the cracks.
2. Never overpromise and underdeliver.
Overpromising and underdelivering are understandably frowned upon during the sales process. But it can be even more problematic if you do this after you've onboarded a client.
During a recent meeting I had with Dean Genge, CEO of Ascent Data, I saw this idea in action. With decades of experience in IT services and cloud computing, Genge has gone through the trust-building process countless times. Genge noted that being completely honest about your business's capabilities is especially important when clients may not fully understand your services or the need for them. Taking the time to explain what you can and cannot do establishes appropriate expectations.
Similarly, you shouldn't try to push additional services that clients don't actually need. Clients will eventually discover that the added cost isn't helping them, and you will lose their business.
3. Back up your work with quantifiable data.
In the digital age, we have more data available than ever and that can go a long way in earning a client's trust. For example, if you run a marketing agency, you should have no qualms in providing data showing the number of website visits or conversions associated with a particular social media campaign.
Sharing data ties into the principle of transparency. The data you share with your clients proves whether or not you are living up to the promises you made when first onboarding them. It shows the exact level of influence your business is having on their bottom line.
Even more important, the data you collect and share can help reveal new insights that allow you (and your client) to make additional improvements. Data doesn't just prove that you're doing what you said you will -- it can further enhance the value you offer to your new clients.
4. Be proactive.
Don't wait for your new clients to reach out to you. Be proactive by reaching out on a regular basis. If they are using SaaS software, ask if they are having any problems getting used to the program. If you are redesigning their website, send them an email with a quick status update.
This proactive outreach requires only a few minutes of your time, but it can go a long way in alleviating any lingering uncertainty your clients might be feeling by showing that you actually value them and their success.
Creating a strong relationship with your new clients should be approached with a similar mindset to how you approach relationships in your personal life. When you proactively work to build a relationship based on honesty and respect, you will earn the trust that is needed to maintain your partnership for the long haul.