In the ever changing world of digital and social media you have to "keep it real". Agencies are made up of human beings as are our clients, and the content we produce has to connect with another human being. Nailing the human touch is key to building trust, alongside being authentic.
Trust is built over time for sure, but often in marketing we have only a few seconds to build a bond of trust with a new client or a new connection digitally when replying to a post. We believe trust starts with the companies values being seen in action through their employees behaviours. It's a personable value to display; by taking the time to really understand our clients, their business and their future path, helps build trust quickly.
One of the programmes we deliver here for clients is LinkedIn management. We look after accounts for very senior VP’s and CEO’s of business. We become their online voice and we have to be able to respond to messages without the recipient knowing the message is from someone else. Trust and flexibility to evolve is key.
One of our clients recently said that ".....we are good at outlining the client objectives upfront. We grasp what they want to achieve and adapt the strategy very quickly if it's not meeting these objectives. After just 3 months into our contract, the strategy was quickly adapted to be more targeted: based on their increased knowledge of the business. SM2C weren't afraid to throw in new ideas sooner rather than later, because they invest in the relationship. They put in the extra effort that makes each client feel valued and trust is grown."
<Thank you Anthony Coyle-Dowling for your kind words!>
Trust is a personal thing, but it doesn't stand alone as there are other elements that make a person trust someone: accountability, adding value by going the extra mile in non-contractual areas, and above all honesty.
We work alongside many other business, both for our clients and ourselves. We love the work of Cat Kipling and Abi Wright. Over coffee we asked these two inspiring speakers to tell us how they quickly gain trust with their clients: were there any similarities?
Abi said: "Trust is such an integral part of any relationship and being that I'm working very closely with my clients on their posture and physicality I have to gain that trust immediately. For me I would say the most important thing when first building the relationship and trust is listening. As for my social media and online reach I do my best to always be honest and open in my communication and posts, reflecting what you said about your companies values being seen, so hopefully people have a sense of already knowing me before becoming a client."
Cat without hearing what Abi had said, pretty much had a similar message:"I find that opening a conversation with a smile is a 'quick win' for building trust. It may sound flippant, but your smile puts the other person instantly at ease. They will (hopefully!) reciprocate and their system will be flooded with 'feel good' neurotransmitters. What better way to start a conversation? If you underpin this with engaging eye contact and gestures that are congruent with your message you will draw them in to wanting to hear more. That said, for me the foundation of building trust is getting under the skin of what your client needs and to find this out you need to listen - properly: listening to understand, not just to respond. The balance of the conversation should be firmly weighted towards them speaking and you listening. Also, it can often be valuable to 'give something of yourself', as by being open with the other person you make it easier for them to be open with you and to trust you."
So across all industries and professions the message is pretty clear, listening is a key skill to gaining trust quickly. Wouldn't you agree?
Thank you to our fabulous clients (you know who you are!) who helped provide quotes, thoughts and words to use within this post. You guys rock!