Build Strong Client Relationships
With The Power of Trust
Strong client relationships are built on trust. Because without trust we miss out on unlocking true success in our businesses.
We’re all in business to sell something. If we didn’t make sales we wouldn’t be able to keep our doors open. But when we view a potential client as merely a paycheck, rather than as someone we can help, we’re doing a disservice to that individual and, ultimately, to ourselves.
Strong client relationships are based on much more than money swapping hands. And it all begins with trust.
We have a service to provide to our audience. An expertise that makes us a go-to person in our industry. The service we offer brings us the income we desire, but it comes with a good deal of responsibility. A responsibility to do what’s right by both our current clients and potential clients.
We are the service provider. And we need to thus vet the client to ensure our product or service is a good fit for their needs. This act of openness and honesty is the first step of trust. And it’s the foundational stone on which we build strong client relationships.
It’s up to us to ask the hard questions and then provide information and feedback to our potential client. This helps them determine if what we offer can help them or not.
A potential client may come to us thinking they need help with a specific thing. But after talking to them, we discover they need something completely different than what they initially thought. And because we took the time to find that information out, we saved both the client and ourselves time. And, we’re doing a huge service to the client by not offering them something they don’t actually want or need.
I’ve seen many business owners take on clients because they measured the success of their business in dollar signs versus in matching their services to fit the needs of their client. The “ka-ching” became the focus because the fulfillment of the clients’ needs and success were not at the forefront. This is not how we build strong client relationships. Sure, you may "get" the client but will they come back to you year after year after year? Will they refer others to you? Likely not.
When our business is struggling, or when it’s just getting off the ground, it’s easy to enter into a client relationship with the thought, “Wow! They've got money to spend and I hope I can get them into my biggest package.” But a better approach would be, “Wow! I really want to help them get to XYZ!” or “I really want to help them achieve ABC in their business, life, health, marriage, etc.”
So then, how do we ensure we are using trust to build strong client relationships?
Here are a few ideas to help you ensure you are selling from a position of trust:
1. Before all else, build trust and connection with the client.
It’s crucial that we take the time to find out what the client actually needs. Not what the client thinks they need. And not what we want to sell them. We can do this by putting the money aspect aside and really talking with the client. Find out what they know and don't know, and ask what their goals are. Gaining this clarity is a valuable perk for the client as we help them determine what it is they truly need and want to be able to achieve their business goals.
2. Have guidelines in writing.
This puts all expectations up-front, both for us and for the client. It clearly spells out what’s included in the service we provide and what we can and can’t do for the client. If something goes wrong in the project, we have a written record of what was said or agreed upon at the outset that we can turn to for reference.
3. If we can’t help the client, be honest.
We’re not all experts in every area. If a prospective client needs something that we just can’t (or don’t) offer, refer them to someone who does. Building strong client relationships on trust is so important to both the client’s success and our success.
Approaching a new client relationship from a financial perspective often leads to an unhealthy client relationship. And none of us want that. If a new client is just a dollar sign, we’re not really getting to the root of what they need. And we’re not really doing our job as the “expert.”
We’re simply collecting a check and giving them what they think they want or need. And the problem they came to us with doesn’t get resolved, as a result. This mindset leads not only to upset clients but to business owners who now feel overwhelmed with self-doubt, anger, and resentment toward their own clients.
It leads to fewer return clients, fewer referrals, and ultimately a lower income. Which means our business isn’t growing and thriving as we’d like it to.
What can you do in your business to build strong relationships by using the power of trust?
Hello! & Welcome
I'm Coach Erin. I help new and emerging business owners
↣ organize ideas
↣ design authentic brands
↣ systematize business
↣ create and implement strategies
↣ improve productivity
If you want to start, grow and manage your online service business with more confidence, consistency, and control, let's meet.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erin Garcia, Business Coach
Coach Erin has been guiding new business owners through the process of starting, growing, and managing a service business since 2003. Between coaching, brand design, and website development you might catch her strolling the beaches of Western Washington, visiting family in Arizona, or enjoying a glass of iced tea creekside on her back patio.