“How do I build client trust?”
This is a common question that we’ve seen among the social media marketing community. With an industry based on acquiring clients, building trust among those clients is an important topic of discussion.
We spoke with different individuals from all areas of the marketing industry to get their advice. Every business has its own special way of creating trusting relationships with its clients. The past few years have been quite unique with client relationships because of the pandemic. Below we will explore how to build trust with client relationships locally and abroad, how the pandemic has changed the way you build client trust, and what tools help build that trust.
How do you build trust with clients?
The question may sound simple: How do you build trust with clients? It may sound simple, but it’s so much more complicated than we think! But, don’t worry! There are so many different ways to build client trust and we were lucky enough to talk to 5 industry professionals about how they do just that.
“Trust is built through accountability and transparency. Especially in consulting-based businesses, it’s necessary to be honest with your clients if they’re falling behind, or not holding up their end. Never be critical, but rather supportive. I’ve found that by acting as an authority figure of reason establishes a mutual level of respect and trust with my clientele.” –Isaac Mashman
Building trust with clients is a combination of building a friendship & showing credibility. For friendship, that doesn’t mean I need to be their best friend, but I do want to show I have their best interests in mind. I care about them, I want them to get what they want, and my goal is to solve their needs. Since we’ve shown we care, we also have to show that we know what we’re talking about as we give our suggestions. There has to be fruit on the tree. People trust you because you have fruit on the tree, and because they know you care. – Eric Chow
“Clients must trust that agencies understand their business and have the skills to meet their needs. This in part is done through building personal relationships. It’s not only about knowing about the brand. It’s knowing your client has a second grader and a 5th grader and they both play a sport. You learn about your client’s passions outside of work. The other thing to consider about building trust is to be honest when you mess up. It’s how you recover that matters. Do you admit your mistake and provide solutions to quickly right the mistake. Do you try to avoid talking about it? Or maybe you throw someone else under the bus? Admitting the mistake, dealing with any repercussions, and then fixing it aren’t easy steps, but they definitely build trust. “ Suzanne Brown
“Build trust by being honest. Come to the table with data and examples to back up your recommendation. Show that you care about the success of the brand as much as they do.” – Erika Manassis
“Focus on the goal behind the goal (what your skills help them to do, be a partner), decide important stuff on a call (not email, it shows you care enough to give real-time), and don’t be afraid to push back or question their opinion” Matt Saunders
How to build trust with clients abroad
Building trust with local clients may seem easier since clients are abroad, but it doesn’t have to be difficult! Check out how these industry professionals build trust with their clients who are abroad below.
“In order to maintain consistent communication, you have to structure your days differently to succeed. Between time zone differences and culture or language barriers, it takes more effort to build trust with colleagues abroad. The ability to meet face-to-face is also more challenging. Thanks to today’s technology, it’s becoming much easier with platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Google, WhatsApp, and other similar solutions. In fact, most video calls began out of necessity to see and speak with people globally. Our early international clients saw great value in platforms like Skype. They helped set a tone for building trust abroad early on.” – Simona Georgescu, President & Founder at Adduco Communications
“Building trust with clients who are abroad can be difficult as there will be no face-to-face meetings and cultural differences, subtle as some may be. However, if you communicate clearly, are honest, demonstrate your knowledge and deliver good results, the client will trust you as you are adding value to their business. To add to this, I find that making an effort to talk to them about something that is going on in their country can help. It could be about a national holiday, an election or a recent sports match. I once found myself chatting about a baseball game that normally, I never would have paid attention to, but I took the time to learn a little bit about it as I knew the client liked baseball and they really did appreciate it.” – Richard Kearns, Co-Founder of Thisisus.Digital
How has the pandemic impacted the way you build client trust?
The pandemic has definitely impacted many businesses all over the world. It’s been a huge adjustment and for many businesses, that adjustment had to happen very quickly. How has the pandemic impacted building client trust?
“Covid19 and the pandemic have only furthered the value of much of what we were already doing. Staying in touch with clients becomes even more important in times of stress and so the work we’ve done to create really valuable content as well as having myself and our account team individually reach out to clients on a regular basis has been critical during the last 18 months as everyone is navigating all-new circumstances – both with their business and generally in life. If nothing else, Covid19 only further proved what we knew to be true: focusing on the clients you have and helping them any way you can is just good business.” – Mike Jones, CEO and Managing Partner at Resound
“We’ve always been a fully remote company, and we work with large software companies. Pre-pandemic, most of our prospects spoke with us via Zoom from beautiful boardrooms, while we sat in our home offices. This definitely didn’t help with our credibility. The pandemic changed everyone’s perceptions around remote work and has put us all on a much more level playing field. Now prospects are completely unphased that we’re in our home offices so trust is easier to build.” – Emily Amos, Founder of Uplift Content Inc.
Tools that can help with client trust
When it comes to building trust with your clients, there are always tools behind it. The programs that are keeping their content organized, to-do lists prioritized, and more. Here is what industry professionals said are their favourite tools to build trust with their clients.
Now, we may be biased here, but we think HeyOrca is a great platform to use to build client trust. With our approval process, clients are able to check out content before it goes live to social with a shareable link. It’s that easy!
Laura Sutton, a freelancer who runs Laura Sutton Content says, “I use Calendly to make it super easy for prospects and clients to book calls with me then use Zoom or Microsoft Teams to take the call and meet ‘face-to-face’. This helps prospects can get an understanding of who I am and how I work. A clear call agenda also works well to build trust. For task management, I use ClickUp so I stay on top of project timings and progress to communicate to clients. If a client wants me to join their project task management tool, I’ll do that so I can work more efficiently with their broader marketing team. Canva has been a fantastic tool for designing documentation, like proposals and templates, that is easy to read so there are no crossed wires about my processes and our agreements.”
Brandon Schroth, Co-founder of Nomad SEO, says, “I like using a shared Trello workspace to make sure that the client and I are on the same page as far as work that needs to be done, expectations, and timelines. I also use TrackingTime to keep track of my working hours. Breaking this down by task in case the client would like that information. I think having the reports available add credibility as opposed to showing them an Excel sheet or other method.”
Amy Warrington, Communications Director at Epic Marketing Consultants Corp., says. “We use Avaza, a project management system that allows our clients access as well. At any time in the process, they are able to check in to see time spent, where, and what is left to do. But the real tools we use are the basic everyday communication tools such as phone, Gmail and Google Meet. Communication is the number one key to building trust with a client. If we see a problem or potential problem, we bring it to our client’s attention as soon as possible. If we make a mistake, we admit it and do our best to fix it.”
Building client trust is crucial for the success of your business. If your clients feel supported, they will turn into life-long partnerships for your business. With some of the advice and tools above, your business will accelerate its relationships and acquiring new ones!
Are you looking for guidance when it comes to creating a winning agency pitch deck? If you want to sign on more clients and increase sales (doesn’t everyone?!), check out our recent blog post here.