Building trust with clients is more than a one-time process. A continuous commitment to effective client communication requires meeting preparation, authenticity, execution of your obligations, and timely responses. Here are some tips to build trust with clients:
Prepare for your meetings
We're all busy, and no client is going to be pleased if you waste their time. To make a good impression, it's vital that you run an organized process that is clear and to the point. Here is how to run an effective meeting:
Before your first meeting, research the client and their business beforehand to have an informed conversation with them. Look at their website, read reviews, and even speak with current customers to learn more about their business.
If it's your second meeting, make sure you understand the client's needs and follow-ups from the previous session. If you have a lot of clients or the meeting took place several months ago, an AI meeting assistant can help jog your memory with the meeting minutes or tasks from the last call.
You will need to create an agenda for the meeting, send out a confirmation email, and confirm the location of the meeting. Make sure you include information about yourself in the email.
Be on time, be personable, and pay attention to detail!
Identify the key players involved on the client-side and gain a sense of their role in the company.
Prepare materials for the meeting. These materials may include an agenda, visual guides that support your message, or a website demo.
Be professional; you want to show that you are serious about your work and ready to begin working on the project.
Be Authentic and have a strong opinion
No one wants to be sold. Clients are looking for consultative advice, no cheesy sales tactics.
Nomenclature matters. Start by avoiding buzzwords and marketing speak. Use words that convey your message effectively to clients. Try to rephrase your solution in their lexicon so your clients don't feel lost or confused. Speaking in acronyms and using technical terms doesn't make you an expert, it makes you less empathetic. If you aren't sure if something you want to say is too complicated or wordy, ask yourself if you could explain it to a 10-year-old. If you could, you probably have a simple and concise message.
Listening is vital. If you don't listen to your client, why should they listen to you? Listening is more than just hearing your client's voice. Pay attention to how the client responds to your message. If they truly understand what you are saying, they will be nodding along with you or asking relevant questions. If they aren't responding well, then find a different way to deliver your message.
Be honest about your skills and your offering's capabilities. Don't over-promise on what you can deliver. Be upfront and honest if a client asks you a question outside of your expertise. If the problem is out of your scope, refer them to someone who can help.
Clients are seeking guidance in your domain of expertise. Don't be afraid to have a strong opinion, even if it's negative. If a part of the product doesn't meet their expectations, be upfront about the results or let them know that you'll relay this information to the product team.
Illustrate the value proposition clearly with subject matter expertise
It goes without saying that you'll need to know your subject matter. Your ability to articulate clear answers to basic questions about your product or industry is a must. A well-defined value-prop and an understanding of your positioning are equally as critical. What is your company's expertise? What sets you apart from other companies in your industry? How do you compare to the competition, and why is your solution better?
Don't be afraid to challenge the customer! Ask more profound questions, get to the root cause of their problem, and align it with your solution. If the client challenges you, be ready to defend your position with more than just a "trust me." You'll want to prove what you can do and validate it with a demo or data.
Track your commitments and follow-through
Building client trust is just as much about delivering on what you promise as it is about communicating. When you commit to doing something for a client, tell them when you expect to deliver on the commitment and when you'll follow up with them. If you're having trouble meeting your responsibility, let them know as soon as possible. This honesty will help build trust with your clients because they know you're not afraid to have challenging discussions.
It can be hard to stay on top of all your commitments, especially if you have a large client base or competing tasks. Staying organized and using the right tools will help you manage your task list.
Recording your calls is one way to ensure you don't miss a commitment or misinterpret a client's expectations. Using an AI Meeting Assistant to record meetings by having a Voice AI bot that automatically joins a call on your calendar relieves you from remembering to record. Once you've got the recorded and transcribed conversation in your database, use conversational intelligence tools to extract the next steps and follow-ups mentioned on the call. Push these into your CRM, a task board, or any other task tracking tool your company may use.
You can also use AI to review the meeting minutes of the last meeting before your next client call; this will help you meet your commitments and deliver next-level customer service.
Create a communication plan
A communication plan provides a clear outline of what you expect from your clients and what they can expect from you. This tool is also helpful in establishing a set of service level agreements for your clients. SLA's ensure that you are working within the parameters you and your client have agreed upon; the SLA can help you manage their expectations better.
Define a standard response time for your business. For example, your business can provide customers with an email response within five business days. This expectation would help clients understand how soon they can expect to hear back from you.
Define the type of response you will provide to the client. For example, if the client has a simple question, the response may be a short email that answers their question. However, if the client has a more significant concern, your business can schedule a call or meeting for the client.
Create a method for communicating the service level agreement to the client. For example, you can place it on your website or include it in your proposal materials.
Improve your communication skills
Client-facing reps should constantly be striving to improve how they communicate and ensure they are clear and concise. The key to improving your communication skills is practice and hard work.
Practice active listening techniques; you can leverage conversational AI tools to track your total talk time in a client meeting.
Review your calls and your co-worker's calls that you recorded with an AI Voice Bot and analyze how they articulated a response to a common question. Compare notes!
Use a conversational intelligence tool to analyze the most frequently asked questions and write your "ideal answer." Then role-play the interaction in a mock meeting; this will allow you to practice delivering the key messages and will help you develop your communication skills.
Practice makes perfect! Keep practicing, and you will see significant improvements in your communication skills.
A good reputation can take you a long way, but it takes constant work to maintain your reputation and build trust with your clients. Use the tips in this article to help you improve your communication skills and build trust with your clients.