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Great tips on building trust with clients

Jan 15, 2015

If you are reliant on client’s in your business mutual trust is essential for the relationship whether with new clients or long standing ones.
It is important for businesses to build trust quickly at the beginning of the client relationship, but also to maintain the same level of trust for longstanding customers.

Here are 10 ways to build and maintain trust within your growing client base.

1) Choose your clients carefully.
Don’t take on “just anyone”. This is difficult in a competitive environment but in the long run being more discerning in selecting a client is more profitable with fewer hours.

2) Discuss the fee structure upfront.
Explaining how your fees work immediately indicates that you are less likely to withhold information the client needs to know.

3) Feel confident about your fee structure.
Excellent work from you will benefit your client therefore covering your fees many times over.

4) Be clear about the terms of your engagement.
Formalize the terms and conditions of the services you will be providing to your client. This will include your client’s role as well as yours to ensure a successful relationship.

5) Establish a performance review structure.
At the end of the first consultation define the next steps and any agreed upon terms of the scope of work. Always speak in terms your client will understand.

6) Avoid speaking industry jargon.
While some clients may appreciate understanding some of your areas of expertise, trying to impress them with your technical competence can backfire. The client may nod in agreement as you speak but they may then tell their friends or family that they didn’t understand a word you were saying.

7) Get to know the culture of your client’s business.
It is important to understand the unique needs of their business and the personal dynamics driving it. With an owner-operated business, try to determine the location in the business cycle so you can anticipate challenges and solutions that will help to ensure its success.

8) Remember the iceberg analogy: one third is above the water and two-thirds below.
Working with families, the dynamics are complex so it is important to include everyone in discussions. If it is a new experience for a family member they could be outside their comfort zone therefore listening and patience are paramount.

9) Respect other advisers your clients look to for advice.
Draw on your own network of experts in related fields when appropriate to ensure your client receives the best advice possible. You add value and build trust when you show willingness to work as a team player.

10) Offer value that doesn’t involve a profit motive.
If you offer helpful information without seeking anything in return it reinforces your commitment to your clients. Maintaining a general or personal dialogue also builds trust
in both them and their business.

Courtesy The Globe and Mail