They Trust Me, They Trust Me Not? A Client Relationship & Retention Discussion

Trust is one of the hardest things to give to another person in our personal lives let alone in business.  However when we do decide to give it, it’s because the person has portrayed themselves in an unquestionably, trustworthy manner or have at least projected some character attributes which tells us it’s worth the risk.  But before we ask a client to “ink the deal” they have to measure what’s said & done in dollars and cents and when 5 digits are on the line, they employ a vetting system like the DC Secret Service!  Can you blame them?

In website design and branding, gaining and maintaining the trust of a client is ÜBER important.  It’s a plastic surgery kinda trust-especially since a company’s website and branding materials are exactly that-their face to the world. If you’re on my side of the pitch table, here are some key points you might contemplate (or employ) before your next prospective or retained client meeting.

Don’t let your competency raise eyebrows!  You’ve heard the old cliché come with your “A” game. When you meet a client for the first time, I say come with as many letters between A to Z as possible! Don’t just dress for success but prep for it with research!  Know specifics about their industry and who their competitors are. Know about that company’s trends and how it has grown and/or morphed.  Know what’s out in worldwide media about them – the good or bad press.  Don’t be comfortable telling them what they already know but wow them with something they should know. You’ll have a better chance at gaining their professional trust and ultimately add more In God We Trust’s into your wallet.
Engage your client into a dynamic conversation – one that requires Q & A from the BOTH of you.  Questions FROM YOU TO your client conveys that their voice is important to you.  Not like you don’t know anything but like you want to glean or learn something from them.  For some, going in with a “wait till I show you what I can do for you” kind of arrogance can really be a turn off and leave prospective clients feeling less trustworthy of YOUR motivations with THEIR business.  Likewise, this applies to repeat customers as well.  It’s even more important to talk less and listen more for an ongoing, “worthy of their trust” relationship.

Plug into what’s up with the industry headliners!  Who are your clients’ competitors? What are the  industry trends of similar/competitor clients and how do you one up them?  Their trust of you and your abilities is not just tied to your portfolio of projects but also based on your ability to offer innovative solutions to move them ahead and become industry leaders as opposed to followers.

 Say I Do & Mean It!  When you give a client an expected date of completion or they’re the one giving you the deadline, MEET IT or DON’T COMMIT!  Nothing is worse for a budding business relationship or repeat business than not making it to the finish line.  Especially when it’s the first leg of the race!  Give reasonable timetables and make sure that if there are hiccups along the way that alter the timeline, communicate with the client before they have to call you.

What’s your rep?  Growing up my father continually emphasized that “what people think about you can hurt you”.  This has far worse consequences in the working world than the hallways of high school. If you’ve proven to be unreliable, gave shoddy work for good payment or burned professional bridges {or in some other manner} with clients, you might be the butt of a blog instead of the author.  Remember, word of mouth can be the best advertising or your worst adversary.  What a client thinks of you affects not just your relationship with them today but your future with all others too.

Want better customer retention and loyalty? Start earning it by giving them your best, prove your competency and follow-through with all commitments to show them you value their business and the relationship.

Call to Action: Shoot me a line and tell me – How Do You Measure Up?

2 replies
  1. Lady K
    Lady K says:

    ” Love the article, especially the part about ‘what’s your rep?’-a good relationship built on trust, means I’ll come back and get service from you and recommend you to others. Great post. thanks! “

    • ybarber
      ybarber says:

      Thanks Kamua – Indeed! I couldn’t agree more. In this market everyone is hungry for your business (and your clients) and you absolutely can’t stop at just producing a great end-product. Top-knotch service is a must to retain the customers you have. And when your service is as great as your product and the Word of Mouth on the street is stellar, you can bank on the ROI of good client relations.

Comments are closed.