There is a saying that ‘Words are cheap’. When it comes to building trusted relationships with clients words can turn out to be very expensive.
What you say to clients is important but not as important as what you do. People pay more attention to your behaviour than what you say. Being authentic when selling will make building client accounts based on trust so much easier.
The ultimate goal with a client is to get to the status of ‘trusted adviser’ where the client takes your recommendations seriously and calls you when they want to talk through a problem or some planned expenditure. Getting to this stage means earning the clients trust from a very early stage in the relationship.
We can be very experienced and knowledgeable but if our client cannot trust what we say in other areas then they are unlikely to trust our advice. Setting expectations correctly is very important. We need to resist the urge to tell the client what they want to hear if we are uncertain of being able to follow through.
For example, lets say a client wants delivery in 1 week and sometimes it takes 2 weeks. It would be better to tell them that it may take 2 weeks but you will do what you can to get it there sooner. To promise 1 week and not deliver will have far deeper consequences. You may get away with such things once or twice but the more such incidents happen the more you will have trained the client that they cannot trust your words.
Another aspect of this is the matching of words and body language. Imagine a clients asks your opinion about something. You say ‘Fantastic’ but because you do that think it’s that great your voice tone sounds less than enthusiastic. What the client will hear is the voice tone and not the words. They will register that you are saying something you do not believe. How can they be sure that you believe the advice you give? From a trust point of view it’s better to say what you mean rather that say what you think they want to hear.
Making the effort to be authentic and to correctly manage expectations takes effort but really is worth it as it helps to make selling easier and will give you a big competitive advantage over your competitors.