Trust is a foundational element in our society. It’s even been proven to correlate with better health outcomes against COVID-19.
At Vanguard, we take pride in the trust that we build with our clients — we’ve worked with some for more than 20 years! So, what’s our secret?
Be proactive. It’s important to think steps ahead of your client’s needs whether or not they have explicitly asked you to do so. You will always have to be reactive and respond to situations as they present themselves, but anticipating a potential issue before it becomes a problem can give you a leg up in providing exceptional service to your client.
Stay updated. It’s crucial to stay on top of trends, news and research that impacts or informs your client’s organization. Sharing information and insights with your client and immersing yourself in industry issues will allow you to gain valuable subject matter expertise that will help you become a trusted partner.
Be the expert. Clients hire you for your expertise and ability to problem-solve, so you should feel free to push back when you don’t agree with something in order to offer sound advice. Clients will trust you when they know that you’re looking out for their best interests, even if they’re hesitant to listen.
Listen carefully. Active listening is critical for a successful client relationship. Clients want to feel safe having difficult conversations, so sometimes it is best to put your own agenda on the backburner to listen effectively. This could mean asking questions to ensure you understand or waiting to offer your advice or solutions to effectively hear everything your client has to say.
Be transparent. Nothing ends a relationship faster than a breach of trust. You’ll inevitably have to break bad news to your client one day — we are all human and will make mistakes! But if you have a solid working relationship in which you have given them no reason to question your integrity, difficult news will be easier to deliver and will be more easily accepted.
Commitment to practicing these behaviors is crucial in establishing a trusted relationship with your clients — whether you’re working with them for a day-long event or a year-long campaign.