5 Simple Ways To Build Trust In Business Relationships
Since the founding of SAKS Health, learning to build and earn trust has been a cornerstone for our company. As a fully remote organization from day one, we have been hyper-focused on cultivating trust between colleagues and clients virtually. From our own experience and learnings, we have arrived at five simple ways to build trust.
While some of these trust tactics may seem obvious, it can be amazing how easily they are overlooked or put to the side in order to complete tasks and projects that come up. We encourage you to think about not only these five ways to build trust but also other ways you currently build your clients’ trust and ways you’d like to expand that trust.
1. Be prepared
Your clients are very busy people. Don’t waste their time with meetings you are not fully prepared for.
Come with an agenda made and a deck ready to go so that when you have a meeting with them you can get the most out of it
Be willing to ask your clients if there is anything else they would like to add to the agenda so that they feel ownership and can get their questions answered
Be sure to send your clients a follow up email after with your notes to summarize what was accomplished in the meeting. This can help set expectations on next steps and who will do what to prepare for your next meeting with the client
2. Articulate what you feel your client is feeling
While this may sound too personal, it is not. If you are noticing your client seems off or distracted, articulate that. Maybe the deck you are helping them build isn’t what they thought it would be. So ask your clients.
One way to do this would be to stop and simply state “I’m feeling like there might be something on your mind, would you like us to chat about that?”
Your comments should not be confrontational but rather provide a space in the client meeting to hear their feedback and understand where they might be landing
3. Be available
As best you can, try to stay on top of all the emails and any calls you receive.
Having your client know they can contact you and get a quick response is one of the easiest ways to gain trust
Respond to your clients within 24 hours at the latest, but the sooner the better
Being available to your clients lets them know when they have a question or issues you will be there promptly to help
4. Listen to everything
Being an attentive listener means being able to absorb the information your client is providing you. Maybe it’s technical comments on a piece that they want to see or a recap of their weekend, but whatever it is...
Be sure to take in that information so you can implement it. Whether that means incorporating the comments into the piece or following up next week with a comment that lets your client know you heard last weekend's plans and care enough to know more about them
If you’re not the best at remembering specific details, be sure to capture them in your personal notes so that you can refresh before client calls
The point here is to show you care enough to really listen to all they have to say, so use remembering tactics that best suit your style to accomplish this.
5. Learn to focus on the client
As human beings, we instinctually focus our thoughts on ourselves and how we will navigate situations we find ourselves in. It takes deliberate thought and practice to place the needs and concerns of others ahead of ourselves especially in stressful situations, such as a client meeting.
Remember that just like us, our clients find themselves in highly stressful situations and have the same worries as we do
Be mindful of how you organize your meetings and communications with clients and take the time to place yourself in their shoes
Is the way you’re phrasing something going to undermine a point you’re making?
Could your client be stressed about something other than what you think are the most stressful elements?
This can be a challenging exercise especially since you obviously won’t know everything that is going on in your client’s life
Be open to thinking through what could be affecting your client and potentially ask your client as well. While you might think the launch of a new product is their main stress point, there could be some other aspect in their job affecting them more so and maybe you can help
While this is a short list of some of the ways you can easily build trust with your colleagues and clients, little things like these can go a long way to articulate that you not only care about them but also want the best for them. At SAKS Health we recently launched an internal book club with monthly discussions that allow for team member engagements outside of project related meetings. It was here we started a larger conversation about trust in the workplace specifically when it comes to client relationships. If you’re hoping to learn more techniques we recommend the book The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford. Should you like more information about SAKS Health trust tactics please reach out to us today.
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