Connect and build trust with your customers (Part 1)

Whatever the size of your business, you know that success depends on building relationships with customers. But how can you build trust in an authentic way? Here are four strategies.


1.  Find ways to make yourself relevant to them.

You need something to talk about, and even more important to talk about what they want to talk about. All it takes is a bit of research and thinking and writing down a few pointers to help you remember. Use Google or some search engine to learn about your customer (search their name directly). Get info (any info) about them or things that are relevant for them.

Example: You are a small business that sells custom diesel engines or even life insurance to customers. When your customer visits you or calls you about something, take an extra minute to make them feel at ease and to learn a little bit more. Build a small rapport and demonstrate an authentic willingness to understand where they are coming from. Do they love engines the way you do? Do they have kids or family members they are supporting? How has the pandemic treated their personal life? And so on…

As you talk to them, throw in small ideas to help, or ask them why. Why do they like living in this city? What made them power through the tough year during COVID? Why do they feel when they drive that awesome car they are driving or when they see their kids play little league or do ballet?

All these little things tell them a lot about you and tell you a lot about them… and all this in a genuine way. Sometimes even making a joke about yourself will put them at ease. The more you put them at ease and the more interest you show in them, the more they will tell you about themselves.

Remember, it is not the best product or service or pricing that wins customers. It is their trust in you and their belief in what they learn from you that wins customers!

2.  Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.

Say your new customer loves football (who doesn’t?!). Instead of hurriedly talking to them about yesterday’s NCAA game, or talking about Tom Brady (because you like him) or that you went to a game last weekend — in hopes of passing yourself off as a fellow expert – consider expressing your interest in learning more about what they like about it. Placing yourself in the role of student and the other person in the role of teacher can be a great way to build a genuine bond.

Further, even if the customer does talk about custom car engines and how they are rebuilding their own transmission, do not show them what they missed or that they should do this and that to make it better. They may or may not be technical experts, and chances are that they are calling you or talking to you because they think you are someone they can turn to, in their need. So, help them. Tell them what you will do to help and do it (assuming it is something you can realistically and genuinely do). While you are at it, also find something else that might help them from what you learnt from them.

Importantly, if you do NOT know something or that you CANNOT DO something, be open and honest about it.

They are not going to think less of you because you couldn’t be of help. Rather, you could even tell them that the thing you CAN’T help them with can be avoided if they considered your suggestion or your product/ service. You could even ask if they’d wait for a day or two for you to go get it or order it for them. By not pretending, you demonstrate personal authenticity. And the funny thing is that they will see that as authenticity in your product and in your business!

  Friday, October 15, 2021       Blog