Clients and prospects are precious to your company, after all they are what keep your business running, right? One way to keep them on your roster is by being transparent from the very start of your relationship.
For example, you're always expected to show your work and explain the purpose of every detail, but be cautious about sharing materials or files that are proprietary to your business. You don't want to risk these materials being released or shared with other companies your client may be working with.
When talking to a client about your personal life, feel free to share things like musical preferences, where you grew up, hobbies and so on. However, avoid talking about your political views. This may backfire if you have views that your client and their business don't agree with.
Once, a client was discussing the 2016 presidential election and asked me who I had planned to vote for. I played it safe and said, "I haven't decided, I'd like to research both parties and then make my decision."
There are many more instances where you can be fully transparent with your client or prospect. Here are four examples of transparency opportunities with your clientele and how it can be beneficial for both parties:
1. Expectation management
When talking to a prospect or client, you know what you can deliver and what you can't promise. Managing your client's expectations from the beginning will not only take the pressure off you, but will help them be more informed about your abilities so they know what to expect in the end.
Offering transparency when it comes to expectations versus reality will build trust between you and your client and will prove how much experience you have when it comes to your craft. For example, if at a launch meeting your client has an outrageous ask, explain that in your experience, the goal may be out of reach at this point in time. You will, of course, do everything you can to work towards it in an effort set them up for success in the future.
2. Service and billing
Many clients pay monthly or annual fees for services. The great thing about this (besides getting a big check in the mail) is that you get time to shine and show them exactly what they're paying for.
Having a report or summary of accomplishments your company has made for a client since their last pay period is a great way to show transparency on what their money is going to--and for them to see how hard you're working to deliver results. Such reports are sometimes kept internally to track success, but your clients would probably appreciate seeing them, too.
Whether its marketing, sales, or social media numbers you're hired to increase, be transparent. Even if figures are lower than you'd like, have your reports show what has increased and what needs work. This demonstrates that you're being transparent with the great results, and acknowledging the numbers you and your team are working to increase.
4. Challenges and solutions
It's always smart to check in with clients from time to time. Ask them to complete a survey or list any changes or complaints about your products and services.
Once you decide what you plan to improve on, tell clients what you're making upgrades to and they'll appreciate you taking the time to listen and act. This is a level of transparency that goes back and forth, clients are revealing what they'd like to see your company offer and you're being transparent with how you plan to make that happen.
Use these examples as a starting point to showing transparency with clients. You'll immediately see their trust in you and your company increase, making their loyalty to you even stronger.