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Guest Post by CA4IT
Fostering credibility and trust with new clients is a vital aspect of a consultant's job. It's up to you to establish this bond and create an environment where positive business -- and interpersonal -- relationships can grow and evolve into a valued and lasting relationship.
Let's take a look below at three important facets of building trust in a consultant-client relationship and how to improve business practices and outcomes in the process.
#1 -- Listen and Connect
It's always important to show empathy and try to understand what's going on in the mind of your client. Show that you really care. You don't necessarily need to talk their ear off about every little thing. Simply answer client questions succinctly and with enough detail to convey your knowledge and point of view. Spend more time listening -- and hearing -- then try to show how much you know.
Respect their time, conform to their work preferences/style, be prompt and adhere to set scheduling, and work toward solving their lingering business-related problems. Delve beneath the surface -- by listening closely -- to find potential root causes of issues potentially blocking client progress. Get all the facts -- past project failures and successes and their future priorities, for instance -- in order to glean a better understanding of your clients' needs and gain their trust to move toward a positive business outcome.
#2 -- Help Your Potential Client Spend Their Money Wisely
Don't worry about the immediate sale -- and the potential for large returns right off the bat -- and instead work toward helping the client spend their money in an effective manner on what they actually need (and something that would truly assist their company). As well, look to provide time and resources with an expectation of nothing in return. Basically, show a desire to serve others through your generosity and be ready to lend a helping hand without the thought of remuneration at the forefront of your mind.
It's also okay to let customers know you're a real human being: there's a certain vulnerability about you and, like the rest of us, you have shortcomings you're working to overcome. Be real with the client and let them see you as a real person.
#3 -- Make It a Total Strategy
Change the way you approach business as building trust should be a total business operation. Start with being helpful and kind, follow through to closing the deal and interacting with your client in a way that makes them feel special. If need be, hire the right people to make it a full scale operation with everyone on the same page and all workers focused on the same goal.
In the end, it comes down to doing a great job on the project in order to build credibility and trust with your new client. It also helps to give the client something unexpected -- over and above what was initially promised -- in order to impress them, earn their trust and respect, and create a lifelong client/friend in the process.
CA4IT/Wall & Associates P.C. has 30 years' of experience dealing with and supporting independent IT professionals. Over this period of time, they have developed a suite of resources and financial services based on hands-on experience with over 10,000 clients. CA4IT provides consulting advice on financial and tax planning strategies designed to maximize after-tax income and to minimize personal and corporate taxes for incorporated consultants and sole proprietors, project managers and service based small businesses. CA4IT concentrates on maximizing the financial rewards of being an independent contractor. They have been an active member of NACCB (National Association of Computer Consulting Businesses) since its inception and a primary goal is to work with professional firms like Eagle to add value to the Knowledge Worker industry.