7 Areas for Building Trust with Prospects and Clients


Why is establishing trust important to your client relationships?

Establishing trust is essential to your client relationships because it is the foundation for any strong relationship. Trust is what clients want from you and want to give back to you. If you can establish trust with your clients, they will be more likely to work with you again.

Trust can be established through honesty, transparency, and reliability. These three things are essential for business relationships because if a company can’t be honest or reliable, there’s no reason for a client to continue working with them.

Listen first and do more of what they ask for.

This technique is helpful for people who have difficulty expressing their feelings and emotions.

It is also suitable for more introverted people who struggle to express themselves.

This technique can be applied by:

  • Listening first before speaking
  • Doing more of what they ask for
  • Letting them talk about their problems without interruption or judgment
  • Encouraging them to share how they feel

Establish rapport by focusing on shared values.

This process is all about building rapport with a sphere of influence. It involves establishing connections by focusing on shared values and interests. This process can be done by following these steps:

  1. Establish the purpose of your meeting and make sure that everyone present is on the same page
  2. Start with the easy questions and work your way up to the more difficult ones
  3. Ask for feedback from people who are in disagreement with you
  4. Ask for a break if you need it

Consider yourself a consultant – not a salesperson.

Give prospects a reason to find out what you are talking about without sounding too pushy. This process keeps your prospect’s attention and interest at the forefront of your mind. It also helps them feel they control the conversation and are not being pushed into a sale.

You can ask questions that pique their curiosity, allow them to opt-in for more information, or provide a solution to their problem without being too pushy.

Understand their Business Issues. What are they trying to solve?

Understanding the business issues is a process that will help any consultant to solve their customer’s challenges. It will help them better understand the target audience and improve their consulting skills.

A consultant should be able to understand their client’s business issue and help them solve it. They should be able to research and create content that solves the problem. They should also know how to present it in a way that will resonate with their target audience.

This effort will help consultants serve their clients better by understanding what they need and how they want it delivered. It will make them more valuable for the company because they are helping them grow in a specific direction or niche, which can lead to higher sales for both parties involved.

Focus on problem resolution without pitching products.

Problem resolution involves resolving customers’ problems or with the business issue in mind. Some companies use the focus of problem resolution to generate leads, and some use it as a service for their customers.

The most common way to generate a resolution is by actively listening to the customer’s problem. The consultant has to offer a solution for the customer’s problem without pitching their product or service. According to HubSpot, “a good customer-facing strategy should be based on solving your customer’s problems first and then pitching your products or services second.” I would argue that pitching anything is self-serving. Stay away from the pitch. Focus on the resolution. If your solution organically fits, it will undergo a series of sufficient Open, Probe, and Confirm questions.

The second focus is differentiating based on a mutually agreeable resolution to the customer’s problem. The process of “differentiating” can be done through conversations concentrated on the problems your customer is trying to solve while uniquely aligning your unique capabilities to solve. It must be mutual in resolution – Pushing “your solution” isn’t mutual.

Identify differentiated solutions.

Understanding your unique solutions and how they align with a customer’s problems are used to generate a list of problems and then identify possible solutions to those problems. It is an effective way of developing ideas and strategies to solve problems.

This process can be used at all stages of the brainstorming process (Problems, Solutions, and Value focused) but is often used as part of the first stage to generate ideas for potential solutions.

Strategies for generating solution-oriented engagement:

  • Identify the problem
  • Generate a list of potential problems
  • Identify possible solutions for each problem on the list
  • Select one or two most promising solutions for further consideration

Build a Mutual Plan with realized Value in mind.

This process is about building a mutual plan which includes the realized Value. This process aims to get the other party to see what they are getting and what they are giving up. The mutual plan also ensures the client can see a path forward while removing the potential risk of not meeting the expected Value.

To build a mutual plan, one should be able to articulate their goals and how one will achieve them. Both parties must understand the benefits that they will derive from the negotiation. It must be mutual in effort with Value delivered as the end in mind.

Bryan Gregory is a seasoned leader with a deep understanding of the ValueSelling methodology, mentoring and leadership. He has a track record of driving growth and innovation by focusing on the needs of his customers and building high-performing teams, and has leveraged and managed to the ValueSelling Framework® for more than ten years across several large organizations.