Tuesday, 16 July 2019 18:26

How to Build Trust with Prospective Customers

Current customers are those who have purchased your company’s products or services and remain satisfied enough to do repeat business. Prospective customers, on the other hand, have no experience with your company, and it’s possible they’ve never even heard of you.

So how can you establish a foundation of trust that enables these individuals or businesses to feel comfortable enough to respond to your marketing efforts? DSC3520

Generally speaking, the best starting point is by having a customer-centric culture. As we’ve noted in the past, not every employee has direct contact with customers, but “they are all involved in one way or another in ensuring eventual customer satisfaction.” At Baillie Lumber, this encompasses everyone from the hardwood forester and lumber buyer to the fork lift driver and office receptionist, all of whom are dedicated to helping customers get the greatest value possible from using our products and services.

To build trust with other potential customers, keep these tips in mind:

Compile testimonials. In your marketing materials and on your business website, prominently displaying verified customer testimonials is a great way to start the trust-building process.

Approach your best customers and ask them to provide a brief description of a particular need or challenge, for which your business provided the best solution. The more customer endorsements people come across, the more likely they are to embark on a purchasing journey with your business.

Be honestly interested in the customer’s business. If you’ve scheduled a meeting with a prospect, don’t come to a first meeting expecting to “wing it,” or otherwise hope to impress them with your industry knowledge. Do all the research you can beforehand about their business, with special emphasis on perceived pain points and other issues relevant to your products or services.

As Shopify reminds us, a prospective customer is “entrusting you, someone they barely know, with a facet of their business,” and “your decisions can have serious implications on its success.”

For this reason, too much focus on a possible sale won’t help foster a relationship built on trust. Instead, come prepared with viable solutions unique to their concerns—a proven method of impressing someone that, in any relationship with your company, their needs will come first.

Follow through on your promises. One reason prospective customers are wary of businesses is that they’ve been “burned” in the past—given promises about delivery and/or quality of products and services that are never fulfilled. The worst thing a business can do is fail to keep a promise to a new customer; on the other hand, fulfilling promises (or over-delivering) may be the quickest route to establishing a foundation of trust.

Pass on a sale if conditions aren’t right. Prospective customers are understandably cautious about any provider who pushes hard for a sale, above all else. You’ll go a lot further towards cementing a long-term relationship if you avoid this approach.

And if the opportunity for a sale arises but you know internally that you lack the resources or materials to deliver on time, don’t hesitate to say so. Instead, offer a working alternative—one that clearly benefits the prospect, even if your own business doesn’t prosper. This is virtually guaranteed to demonstrate to the prospect that you will always place their interests first, and that you represent a business that’s determined to earn their trust.

Trust is one of the most important aspects of a functioning business relationship. We know that you need trust to guarantee that your orders are being cut to the specs that you desire, and your trust is something we always work hard to earn.

What ways have you found effective in building trust with prospective customers? Let us know, we would love to hear them!

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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