Building Long-term Trusted Business Relationships - Be Trusted. Instil Confidence. Drive Success.
Successful businesses are dependent upon a number of things, including a network of positive relationships. Business relationships that have been built on combined success and trust have a distinct competitive advantage because trust with clients or suppliers is so valuable - just because it takes time to build.
Furthermore, in a world of rapid change, most clients are honestly looking to keep risk at a minimum, often by staying with one trusted provider. Customers often stick with known and preferred suppliers to keep transactions smooth, more efficient and in the knowledge that they know what to expect in terms of delivery.
At BuyingTime we’ve always found that the best way to deliver maximum ROI to our clients is working with them seamlessly as an extension of their team, as opposed to a separate entity. This can only be done through having open and honest communication to build trust and confidence with one another. Below are some of the most effective ways we’ve uncovered to build trust with our clients.
4 WAYS YOU CAN BUILD TRUST IN BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS
1. Know your stuff, be a thought leader/industry expert
Fully understanding your industry as well as having a strong knowledge of its challenges, along with the sectors and businesses you want to work with is invaluable when starting to build trusted business relationships. An in-depth understanding and knowledge of the industry will mean you’re better equipped to relieve any troubles or pressure points in your clients’ business and create bespoke solutions to deal with them. Our advice? Do your homework.
2. Be honest and challenge where necessary
By no means are we suggesting you be so direct that you come across blunt, appear rude or that you want to takeover or change your valued clients business’ - that would be really bad advice! But, having firm account management techniques married with excellent interpersonal skills and honest conversations are essential elements in building strong business relationships, as well as honesty.
Make sure you’re brave! It can be easy to fall into the trap of telling your clients what they want to hear or even agreeing to actions that don’t benefit the overall project. If your client can see that you’re being honest and challenging things, even if it isn’t always good news or what they want to hear, you’ll gain their respect. What goes hand-in-hand with respect? You guessed it - trust.
3. Don’t be afraid to push to get the best results
We’ve always been keen to work in partnership with our clients as an extension of their business as opposed to the traditional client/supplier relationship. This way we’re able to truly represent the client throughout the project and deliver their messaging effectively, driving successful interactions with their top targets. Our onboarding process for new clients or when we start a new project reflects this and is very in-depth.
However, in some instances, you may not have enough information from the client to begin a campaign successfully. It’s difficult to represent them properly without a comprehensive knowledge of their business and products. So, if it ever feels like you don’t have the right information you need to get the absolute best results, then talk with your customer and make sure you get what you need. There’s no point muddling through a campaign or project and hoping for the best.
Push back and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to ensure the campaign is a success - your customer will thank you for it and that builds further trust.
4. Meet with your clients every once in a while
The digital era we’re now in has made it a lot easier to stay in touch with our colleagues, clients and business contacts. It’s so easy to send a quick email from your phone, instant message a colleague, or have a short video conference to save valuable time. They’re all great ways of staying in contact and making sure things get done efficiently, but nothing can really replace face-to-face interaction and spending time with your customers. Making sure you take the time to visit clients in real life is the absolute best way to build strong rapport and form further trust. It’s worth the investment of the time and effort and you can be sure they’ll appreciate it too, whether you go to them, they come to you, or you meet halfway.
All of the above can be used to help build and sustain long-term business relationships, so much so that we’ve had some clients stay with us for years on end because of our ability to deliver success alongside the trust we’ve instilled in them.
TRUST IS A TWO-WAY THING
Lastly - but by no means any less important - remember trust works both ways, so why not ask your existing customers to be references and advocates for your business & services. Show your current or ex-clients that you trust and value their opinion by asking for references or testimonials. After all, what better way to sell your business than through the people who have worked with you?
Your customers may surprise you with how willing they are in offering a video or written testimonial, just ask nicely and make sure you get full approval before you publish or share it. Rob Smith did us the courtesy of a case-study to explore the work and relationship between IndigoBlue and BuyingTime over more than 10 years.