You may have been hired, but are you trusted?
We believe that one of the most important tasks of a marketing company is to consistently win the trust of those who invest their marketing dollars in your hands. Earn the trust of your clients, and you’ll have the permission to execute comprehensive (even bold) campaigns that drive results for your clients. Lose that trust, and you’re dead in the waters.
For those of us who work to create and employ digital marketing strategies on behalf of businesses and brands, earning and keeping the trust of our clients must be one of our most important priorities.
With this in mind, here are our 5 proven steps to earn and keep your client’s trust:
1) Be thoughtful, not reactionary.
Sometimes, good marketing requires acting on a hunch in the moment. Always, great marketing requires a well thought-out and educated strategy. Do your homework, define the strategy, document it, and hold yourself accountable to each deliverable along the way.
Own It: Provide written documentation of your strategy and deliverables to your client. Putting it in writing will ensure accountability, which builds trust over time.
2) Be realistic.
When we set unrealistic timelines, we rush projects and present less-than-desirable work. That work is easily questioned and rightfully so. Producing beautiful work requires time – there’s simply no way around it. Be honest and reasonable when discussing project timelines with your clients. If you need more time than they are asking for, communicate the necessity of the extended lead time.
Own It: Rather than simply setting dates, communicate about timelines with your clients. Educate them on the necessity of the lead time you’ve allotted, and set up a touch-base in the interim to communicate about the project and ensure that you’re on the right track.
3) Minimalize hype.
It’s no secret that those of us in the marketing business tend to lean toward the type-A personality type.
As such, we can easily fall into the trap of over-promising at every point of contact. It’s just our nature to think aggressively. However, lofty thinking can quickly sour the relationship with clients if we struggle to deliver on our own hype.
Own It: Rather than focusing on large goals, dedicate yourself to the sequential smaller goals that will build momentum toward the outcome you’ve communicated. For each large goal, set three to four small goals that you can use to communicate momentum to your client.
4) Listen more.
Negative feedback is a bruise to the ego. When a client returns our work with less than satisfactory comments, it can be tough to pull yourself together. However, smart marketers use negative feedback as a listening device – hearing beyond the words to further understand the values and priorities of the client and what matters most to them.
Own it: Move beyond negative feedback to identify constructive steps for improvement. Ask the client what they specifically didn’t like with the project, and use those answers to build your approach moving forward. The client will respect your attention to their concerns.
5) Always follow up.
The absolute quickest way to earn a client’s allegiance is through a tenacious commitment to following up. Following up shows that you’re attentive to the details, and exudes confidence that you’ll effectively tackle the next steps desired by the client.
Own It: After each meeting, follow up with a summary of the discussion and clearly outlined next steps complete with realistic timelines for delivery.
Trust takes time to build, and only a moment to destroy.
Be tenacious in your commitment to earn your client’s trust. Communicate effectively about realistic goals and timelines, listen aggressively, and always follow up with meaningful summaries and clear next steps. Beautiful and compelling work starts with building trust.