Trust can be one of the hardest things to give and develop with a client. Trust in your business relationships is integral if you wish to see your clientele numbers and your own company’s revenues grow. The level of trust in your business relationships—especially client relationships—is a one of the greatest determinants of a business’ success. Therefore,building your book of business is intrinsically tied to the trustworthy relationship you have with your clients and developing the long term relationships with them.
The Personal Touch – Consistent communication with clients, and building mutual trust and respect, often leads to repeat business for your company. Try to find ways to show clients how much they are valued, which contradicts the typical deli line “NEXT,” limited attention given to clientele by many business. Equally as important to the attention you give them is setting reasonable and attainable goals centered on ways to solve their problems with your product or service. Most client’s want you to set specific goals to be attained, reflecting that you are as equally invested in their success as you are in the ROI. These personal touches create brand loyalty with your clients and will cause them to stay with your company even if a competitor offers what appears to be a “better” deal.
Get in Their Head – Knowing your clients is just as important as servicing them. Small talk during a business meeting is a great way to asses a business’s operational structure and culture, and this intel is critical to reflect your knowledge of their needs. Gain respect and trust by sincerely asking clients what’s important to them and listening intently makes clients feel heard. Try to elicit the critical issues that are most meaningful to the to them. If appropriate, take a little time and diligence to discover not just the clients’ needs for your product of service, but also their personal hobbies, family dynamics and even biggest pet peeves to develop a more personalized relationship. If they trust you with personal information, they will undoubtedly trust you with their business.
Make it Happen – Trust me, if you don’t return phone calls in a timely manner, are consistently late for appointments or miss deadlines, it will be disastrous for both the relationship and your bottom line. For example, when you give a client an expected date of completion – its simple, MEET IT! Nothing is worse for a budding business relationship or repeat business than failing to meet deadlines. To keep the fire smoldering and the business coming your way, give reasonable timetables for projects and deliverables. If something unexpected does come up, make sure to communicate that with the client before the actual deadline date. When it comes to this issue, it’s always better that you call them than they call you!
Earners Keepers/Lackeys Weepers – To keep your client’s trust and respect, it must be maintained over time by doing the things you did to earn it in the first place. You do not have to be perfect – just trustworthy in both words and actions ,and ensuring that they are complementary of one another. Trust can be easily earned by someone with upstanding character and integrity, but hard to dispense if you lack those critical qualities.
Crystal Clear – Transparency is critical to the provider/client relationship. In this day when contracts with fine print have replaced the nobleman’s handshake, there’s a tremendous need for honesty and not camouflaging crucial facts. If there’s some aspect of your product or service that a client wants, but you know you can’t provide, tell the truth. There’s nothing wrong with stating that you can’t do something or haven’t yet developed a particular service or product. You can still win them over or keep a current client happy by letting them know that you are innovative enough to work on a solution thereby reflecting your commitment to them and their business.
In Summary – Begin or continue earning your clients trust by giving them your best, proving your competency and following through with all commitments to show them you value their business and the relationship. Remember, word of mouth can be your best advertising or your worst adversary.
In today’s online arena, businesses of every size are engaging their audience and potential clients through social media. Even the term social media is bigger now than a year or two ago. Whether you like it or not, it’s a medium you’re going to have to deal with if you want to grow your business. For us, our best reasoning to our clients is “It’s better that you use it and expand your brand to your community, or your competitor will.”
This is probably the main reason why social media costs so much. I know there’s plenty of people who tell you that you can do it in just a few minutes a day and never have to think about it for the rest of the day. Not entirely true. Scheduling posts is a great way to leverage your time, but what happens when your posts get a bunch of responses and some of them are viable leads? Do you then respond the following day when the trail is cold? I hope not. You respond while they’re engaged and lead them to a meeting, phone call, or call to action on your website, or better yet to BUY SOMETHING! This isn’t possible if you’re not available to respond when things are happening.
There are quite a few social media companies out there. You don’t have to search hard before you find one either locally or via a quick Google search. What may be hard to find is what they charge, hourly or monthly rates, and what your ROI may be. (we’ll get into ROI shortly). Lets go the hourly route for now. Signing on to each of your accounts doesn’t take long right? Then thinking of a good post that is NOT the same for all your accounts may take 5-7 minutes each to come up with something clever and original. Using Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule your posts could take about 2-3 minutes each to post a message and a short link. Reading back your feeds, wall posts, timelines, etc could take about 5-10 minutes each here depending on all the people you follow, and save or read posts. Then of course you have to respond to their posts, blog articles, at-replies, direct messages, wall comments. I’d say another 4-5 minutes. Did I lose you? Add all that up for all your separate accounts and you’ll easily be over an hour’s worth of your morning coffee.
ROI – Return On Investment
There’s a couple of ways to look at this. For the business owner trying to do this on their own, you’re immediate ROI is the money you may save by doing your marketing on your own. However, you also have to invest in a LOT of constant research to stay up on all the latest updates and improvements in order to ensure you’re social profiles and accounts are the best that they can be. Honestly that’s a daily task that isn’t done in under an hour.
Using a marketing firm probably won’t give you back 2-1 for each dollar you spend either. Chances are you’ll spend a lot more than you stand to make. Of course this rather depends on your website, products, and or services. There are ways to gauge the effectiveness of their services though:
- New fan page Likes
- New Twitter followers (real users, not spammers)
- Improved views on your customized YouTube page
- More connections and recommendations on Linked In
- Improved +1’s on Google Plus
Unique Identity and Personality
You can’t fool people. Well some maybe, but its pretty easy to discover social accounts that are poorly managed. You’ve seen them, the big goose egg for a Twitter avatar instead of a nice head-shot. The overstretched fan page cover art that was never created specifically for the cover art but instead chosen by Facebook automatically. The Linked In profile picture that is of a family pet or worse the person in a swimsuit. (I’d post actual pictures, but I don’t want to get hate mail). My favorite are the ones that got started, got heavy into it, then suddenly stopped and never returned. They most likely got frustrated with the lack of engagement for many reasons both valid and some unbeknownst to them.
Each of your social profiles should be a little bit different because of the audience of that platform. For example, your Twitter avatar and profile may be a bit more casual, where your Linked In profile will and should be more business professional. One major point about each of your profiles though is that they’re optimized fully. Meaning a great bio, edited profile or avatar picture, links back to your website, phone numbers, and if possible location and email address for quick contact.
I hope that this was informal to you. If you have any accounts that may need a bit more attention, please take a few minutes and adjust them now. If you believe you can take on your companies social media accounts, be encouraged that you can do so and be effective so long as you keep up with your audience in whatever way or medium they’re most active. For those of you who don’t mind sharing please comment below in how much time you spend daily or weekly in your social efforts.