Do you consistently build or derail client trust in you?
What you say to clients, from meeting to meeting, spoken, and written, matters. Because what you communicate, and how you communicate, either constructs or erodes why customers do business with you.
One of my mentoring clients regarded each appointment as something to cross off her To-Do list. For purposes of this blog post (and with her permission) I will refer to her as “Cynthia.”
Like many of you, Cynthia was yet another over-programmed professional who found herself constantly run hard under continuous pressure from management. Sound familiar? Consequently, each appointment or meeting became an item to cross off her never-ending To-Do list; then it was on to the next “thing” on her list. She was exhausted.
I asked Cynthia to replay her last three client meetings inside her head, like a memory video. Next, I requested that she describe each meeting to me in words, focusing on her body language, words, and actions. Then, I had my mentoring client replay the scenario, focusing on the clients seated around the table, taking the emphasis off her.
Immediately, these visualized vignettes revealed that Cynthia’s clients took their meetings with her very seriously. They did not regard those individual encounters as “something Cynthia herself needed to execute in order to get to what was next on her professional To-Do List.”
She was completely misreading and misinterpreting the significance of client meetings. Cynthia’s clients were not at this meeting for her sake. Then again, Cynthia was not fully engaged in attending that meeting for the sake of her clients. As a result, neither her clients nor Cynthia were fully present at the meeting on behalf of building trust with and for each other.
With this epiphany, Cynthia took another one millimeter step forward. She realized how inconsistent in content, behavior, and intention she was from meeting to meeting. Rather, she came across like a talking head, spewing the latest company-wide initiatives, regardless of whether she was fully invested in these.
As a result, this extremely talented professional limited herself: she came across to clients as superficial rather than trustworthy. Moreover, the superficiality her clients perceived was due to three key factors:
- For starters, she did not work hard to retain what she said from meeting to meeting.
- Also, she conceded that the quality of her post-meeting notes was sub-par, with lots of gaps and poor details.
- Most importantly, Cynthia overlooked the subtle significance of focusing on developing her own identify, phraseology, and purpose when speaking with clients. If she was not fully committed to the solutions she proposed to clients, then why ask her clients to trust those solutions and trust her?
The best way to acquire and retain internal and external clients is purpose-driven. When building client trust in you, focus on consistently delivering purpose-driven ethics, principles, and values to their tables. Time after time. A tall order, right? Not really. Especially when your core values reflect why clients trust you to get them to where they really need to go, together. One millimeter at a time. Let’s work on retaining what you say to clients, so you promote client trust. Together. Contact me here to start collaborating today.
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