Have you ever been to Glacier National Park? Our family had the opportunity to visit the park this summer as part of a 10-day RV trip from Minnesota to Washington State – a trip that could have provided me with enough content to write another book. (The scene: A 38ft RV, a spouse, two six-foot-tall teenage boys and two dogs – one of which is the size of a pony but thinks he’s the size of a cat.)
Back to the point of my story. One of the most popular things to do in Glacier is to travel on Going to the Sun Road. This 49-mile road weaves its way throughout the park and gives tourists the opportunity to see the best that Glacier has to offer.
Here are a couple of pictures taken from inside our Jeep!
When we started on Going to the Sun Road there seemed to be lots of room on the road which gave us ample opportunity to check out the turquoise, glacier-fed lakes and the snow-peaked mountaintops. However, shortly thereafter, we started up to 6,646 feet and the road narrowed substantially. In fact, at some points, there was barely enough room for two vehicles to pass and we saw trucks pulling in their mirrors so they didn’t scrape oncoming vehicles. Let me just say, if you are afraid of heights, this is not the trip for you (unless you take a couple of valium and keep your eyes closed most of the time).
Fortunately for me as the front-seat passenger, I was closest to the mountains on the way up, which was awesome. However, on the way back down, this was not the case. As we came around tight corners there was nothing but small boulders (which were maybe two feet tall) to keep us and our Jeep from plunging 6,000+ feet to our final resting place. I began to panic and my stomach spent the majority of the trip in my throat. At one point, my husband noticed that I was leaning into him every time we went around a corner and said, “I’m glad I’m not in your shoes. I’d have a hard time trusting someone else’s driving while I’m sitting in the passenger seat.”
I began to think more about what he said. Trust truly is one of the most important components of any relationship. Even though I was nervous, I trusted my husband to get us back safely. If I didn’t trust him, I would have climbed out and walked back instead (probably an even more dangerous situation with all the gawkers and distracted drivers).
According to the dictionary, the word “trust” is defined as a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Pretty powerful, huh? Trust is central to any personal or professional relationship. A relationship without trust will not last. Trust is not automatic but something that is built over time.
The word “trust” comes up a lot in our conversations with potential clients. Oftentimes, they have worked with other marketing companies who either promised them the world and delivered nothing or simply didn’t uphold their part in the relationship. The result in these situations is that most clients end up with a strong sense of distrust when it comes to working with other marketing companies, making our job challenging.
So how do you build trust with prospective clients?
Here are some important ways:
Be client-focused: Take time to listen and ask relevant questions. Also, focus on your prospective clients’ unique needs. No two clients will come to you with the identical challenge so don’t offer a cookie-cutter solution. Also, show your clients that you’re more concerned about finding the best solutions to their problems than you are about securing their business. If you don’t feel like your product or service is a good fit, be honest about it. This is an excellent way to build rapport and lay a solid foundation for any future interactions.
Be knowledgeable: Know your product or service inside and out and spend time researching your prospects and their industries. Anticipate their needs and the types of questions they might ask. When your prospects realize that you did your homework and know your stuff, they’ll trust that you have their best interest in mind.
Be optimistic: Prospects are much more willing to place their trust in positive and dedicated problem-solvers.
Be collaborate: Maybe you’ve heard the African Proverb, If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. This couldn’t be truer when you’re working to build trust with prospective clients. Approach your prospects’ challenges as collaborative efforts and approach them through a long-term lens. Let them know that you see their unique personalities, perspectives and point points and that you want to work together to accomplish their goals. This is a great approach to building trust and investing in those relationships.
Be honest and transparent: Don’t have all the answers? Say so. Did you mess up? Admit it. No individual is perfect and no business is perfect. Instead of trying to smooth it over or hide it, be honest with your prospects. Then let them know that, even though you don’t have the answer to their question, you’re going to track it down. Or let them know how you’re going to put safeguards in place to avoid a similar mess-up in the future. Honestly is always the best policy and will put a deposit in the “trust” account.
Be consistent: Be consistent in every aspect of your business.
- Make sure your sales team is on the same page so prospects hear a consistent message.
- Stay the course with consistent products, services and processes.
- Provide consistent service and deliver consistent results.
- Prospects will equate consistency with dependability which furthers their trust in your brand.
And seriously, don’t bad-mouth your competitors. It’s a low blow that will reduce your credibility…and clients will trust you less. If you’re client-focused, collaborative and transparent, you don’t need to put others down to elevate yourself. You will be a diamond in the rough.
If I didn’t trust my husband on Going to the Sun Road, I would have missed one spectacular view. If you work to build trust with your prospects, they will get in on the best your business has to offer…and you will grow a loyal customer base and a stellar brand image.
Stay tuned for more of my crazy adventures!