The Three Areas To Build Trust With Clients

author
By Alexa Ward

What's On My Mind

I trust you'll like this four-part series on trust!

My friend Glen Jackson, who founded and massively grew the Jackson Spalding agency, has an interesting take on trust. He says...

Trust is a peculiar resource. The more you use it, the more you get.

​Mic drop.

​I hadn't thought of trust that way until Glen shared it with me in our power-packed interview HERE.

​(It's worth checking out.)

​Many people view the world as a zero-sum game—like there’s a fixed amount of everything.

The more you have, the less I have.

I like to focus on making the pie bigger for all.

The more we create together, the more we all have.

Trust is like that.

​Foster more trust now, and you win in the short term.

That trust now creates even more trust in the long-term.

What's most amazing about trust is that it travels quickly.

​Trust with one person quickly travels to another. Then to groups. Then to entire organizations.

But you have to foster trust.

And to foster it, you need to focus on it.

Trust is so important that it’s worth a longer series.

Four parts.

This week, we'll start with an overview of the three levels of trust you can foster.

​Then I’ll do a deep dive into each level in each of the three weeks.

Our guide through this entire process will be a thought piece we released last fall, High Impact Relationship Deepeners.

This document summarizes the seven ways we’ve found that deepen relationships in—get this—five minutes or less.

Little things you can do consistently to build trust.

Again, you can download it HERE.

When done over and over, with frequency, these little acts make a big impact.

And even better yet, since they're all about being proactively helpful, they're fun to implement.

More on how to use this and the three levels of trust below…

What We Just Created

Loved my guests the last two weeks on the podcast!

​John Tigh is one of the most creative relationship deepeners I know.

​Jane Allen is one of the most successful entrepreneurs I know.

Are you looking for some inspiration today?

Here's a story where John had to face his own inner critic to focus on being helpful to a client.

And here's Jane's story of how she viewed risk-taking to create the largest legal service provider in the world, creating a new category of an organization practicing law.

​Are you looking for practical tips you can implement right away?

​​Here's Jane on her favorite methods to scale up BD for a person or team.

​​And here's John on how he designs great questions before client meetings.

I had several clients this week tell me they love these short 10- to 15-minute videos like the ones above.

And I'm loving creating them for you!

What's Worth Lingering On

OK, back to trust.

​There are three levels your clients are evaluating you on.

​Three questions clients are asking themselves, whether you know it or not.

Level One Trust: Do I trust you?

Going deeper: Do you have my best interests in mind or yours?

Practical trust-building ideas for this level:

  • Guide clients to purchase your services that are the best for them, not you, and be clear about it.
  • Provide little “delight and surprise” extras in your work and deliver on your promises before they're due.
  • Invest in the personal relationship when there’s nothing for you to gain.
  • Stay in touch during times when there’s nothing to buy, showing you're interested in them as a person, not as a budgeting line item.​

Level Two Trust: Do I trust your team?

Going deeper: Do I trust your team can deliver on what’s being promised?

Practical trust-building ideas for this level:

  • Introduce potential team members earlier than necessary.​
  • Prepare your team members to know the business and culture of the client, which will show up in the questions they ask the client.
  • Orchestrate commonality and expertise bonds between your team and the client’s team.
  • Create a system to nudge your internal experts and team members to stay in touch, even when they aren't directly working with your client.

Level Three Trust: Do I trust your organization?

Going deeper: Do I trust that your organization will make me look good and save the day if things get tough?

Practical trust-building ideas for this level:

  • Include the client in your strategic initiatives like client councils, ask for feedback on new offerings, and introduce your client to other clients of yours when they can gain from knowing each other.​
  • Connect the dots between your team and the client team across the entire business—show your client that using your organization is a competitive advantage because you can help them across the work you do. Show your sum is greater than your parts.​
  • Find ways to help the client grow their business.​
  • Schedule regular (at least annual) top to top leadership conversations conveying the importance of the relationship, sharing strategic perspectives, and getting feedback on how things are going. This is a good time to recap the work and value you've created for the client in an annual, written document.

Whew!

There’s a lot here.

Trust me, we're just getting started.

Next week we’ll go DEEP on building personal trust: how you do it and how you can do it quickly.

​​Don't forget to download and read the High Impact Relationship Deepeners document.

​I'll be leveraging it throughout this series.

BIG IDEA: This series is going to be great on its own, but even better to discuss as a team.

​Feel free to share this and the upcoming three emails with your team. I already know a lot of teams are going to talk about this content in their client and reporting group team meetings.

Those types of meetings can bias towards "updates," so adding some skill development like this series can elevate their value.​

I'll be adding a set of discussion questions to each of the following three emails to make the content easy for you to use.

​So let me close with this.

​There are many ways to accelerate your pipeline and grow your book of business.

​But one thing and one thing only governs the overall speed of business development.

It’s the speed of trust.

Mo