Earning Trust when there’s too little time
post # 399 — July 6, 2007 — a Client Relations post
Most of us want to be caring trusted advisors, showing an interest in our clients’ affairs and staying current on what’ on their mind.
But there are only so many hours in a day, and many of us have more than a handful of clients to take care of at once.
So what can you do to earn and deserve trust (and a relationship) if you only have a limited amount of time?
The first point I’d make is to ensure that, in the limited few interactions you can afford the time for, you succeed as coming across as sympathetic and understanding. I don’t necessarily want a lot more of my doctor’s time when I see him or her, I just want to be treated a certain way when we are together.
Second, Getting in contact before I’m needed. (“I’m going to be away: is there anything I can take care of for youbefore I go?”) This is one case where seeking permission (to be unavailable) is better than seeking forgiveness.
I don’t know if the metaphor applies, but the situation reminds me of struggling to be a good parent or marriage partner. You can’t always give the other person all the time they want from you, but there must be ways to maximize the impact of the time you do have.
I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on good practice, since I think building and sustaining relationships with limited time is a common challenge.
Jason Sanders said:
Another way to gain trust is to project confidence. Letting your client know that you will take care of them will build trust. Using your medical analogy, I would much rather have a doctor tell me everything will be alright than to discuss the details of my medical condition. A family illness has brought me in touch with far too many doctors. The best ones keep a lot of information to themselves while expressing confidence in their ability to heal. After a time, you begin to understand that the best ones hold information back purposefully, but you also begin to realize that it is sometimes better NOT to know the details. Their confidence, and ultimately the results build trust, which can become a very deep bond.
When you tell a client you will take care of them, you begin to calm any fears they might have and provide the foundation for trust. Now go deliver on that promise!
posted on July 6, 2007