6 Ways to Put Trust Into your Customer and Client Relationships
Many business professionals would not hesitate to state that they believe they are “trusted advisers” to their customers. It’s easy to proclaim this mantra, but it’s much more difficult to put this concept into practice.
A “trusted adviser” by definition is any person whose thoughts and actions are grounded in the principles of customer respect and mutual collaboration and who values customer relationships as part of his or her long-term business interests.
To foster a trusting relationship with your customers — from your first contact through on-going business dealings — follow these six principles that will help guide your personal interactions and lead to successful business dealings.
Communicate transparency. Never lie, stretch the truth or state false facts and circumstances that cannot be substantiated. Developing transparency through honest dialogue and being open at all times with customers is the best policy.
Share commonality. Discussing business conditions, personal interests — like hobbies, sports, passions or travel experiences — or views of the world is the fuel that starts a positive discussion and an emotional connection. Customers tend to choose to work with people when they feel you have something in common.
The more similarities shared with someone, the easier it is to develop trust. When you seek commonality, you immediately become more engaging. Your words and body language also communicate interest in the other person and curiosity.
Give respect. When you understand and value what makes another person unique, even if you have different opinions, you share one of the highest orders of respect with that person. Although we may have radically different views that the customer is expressing, responding by saying, “That’s an interesting point of view” or “Please say more about that,” fosters engagement and enhanced communications.
Demonstrate caring behavior. Finding out from customers what they care about and what success means to them is an important trust building interaction. Caring can be shown through nonverbal behavior, how you listen, and your facial expressions, taking a positive action, by a nod of the head or leaning forward to show interest and looking directly at the person. Caring is a rich emotional presence that when combined with respect, commonality and transparency adds the emotional context to a trust-building process.
Credibility. You build credibility by sharing “lessons learned” and “best practices” that have worked in specific situations and industries and within your own company. When you have a trust-based relationship, you speak freely and are not afraid to provide information that will benefit the other person’s decision-making process and thinking.
Reliability. Always commit to do what you say you are going to do, and follow through. No one likes people who say one thing but do something else, or who does not make any attempt to be reliable. Promises that are not intended to be kept should be avoided. When you believe in building trust with your customers and your employees, you establish a visible tract record of coming through for someone.
As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.