50,000 years ago, the world was filled with dangers, fatal dangers. The weather could kill humans or the tigers would. The sheer survival instincts evolved human beings into social animals, where they lived and worked together in collaborative safety of tribes that grew into communities and villages. When humans felt safe within such groups, the natural reaction was trust and cooperation. The benefits were enormous. It meant you can fall asleep at night and trust that someone from within your tribe will watch for danger. If you did not trust others, that meant they won’t watch for your dangers.
Modern day is exactly the same! The world is filled with danger, with things that are trying to frustrate your lives or reduce your success, reduce your opportunity for success. These are a constant, and they’re not going away.
And your clients feel the same fears when they work with you. Are you making your clients feel safe?…..
In his inspiring Ted Talk, celebrity author Simon Sinek compares Paleolithic era with modern era and suggests that the world is still filled with dangers and a true leader is someone who makes their employees feel secure, who draws staffers into a circle of trust. But creating trust and safety — especially in an uneven economy — means taking on big responsibility.
Clients too, like employees, look up-to you to be that leader who makes them feel safe.
They trust you and expect that you will protect them from worldly dangers that surround their businesses, which has a direct impact on their personal lives. Take example of the emotional havoc that followed a near collapse of Wall Street. No one ever bothered about exorbitant CEO salaries till then. But when the safety of their lives was endangered, people revolted. They had trusted these CEOs to protect the savings of their lives.
What About You and Your Clients?
Dictionary, amongst other meanings, defines “client” as “one that depends on the protection of another”. By very definition, your clients trust you to keep them safe.
How You Can Make Your Clients Feel Safe?
Have you suddenly lost a client? We all have. And while several “symptoms” can be identified as reasons for the clients leaving, the underlying root-cause behind those symptoms is that the client could not trust you any more to keep him/her (his/her business) safe.
You can make clients feel safe if you can build trust.
How do you build trust?
It simply needs to be demonstrated.
How do you demonstrate trust?
- Recognize that feeling safe is a human emotion: It is not sufficient to “do what you are supposed to do”. Clients need to FEEL safe. They need to BELIEVE that they are safe. And transference of emotions does not take place through machines and technology. The “medium” can be technology but remember the “human touch” always.
- Hear them out: Don’t brush away their concerns even if you are the best in the industry. “Getting heard” is one of the most satisfying fear-busters out there.
- Anticipate: You need to be able to anticipate their fears. The more accurately you identify their fears and articulate them in their own words, the more the clients will trust you. Research has proven that when restaurant servers repeat verbatim the order placed by the guest, they get tipped more. Why? Because it takes away the fear from the diner’s mind that his/her order has not been misunderstood.
- Social proof: Independently verifiable and relevant testimonials from your clients are a huge help in building trust. Why do you look up Yelp for restaurant ratings or check how many stars show up against a product on Amazon?
- Reverse the risk: Offer performance guarantees. It is a tough thing to do but if you set expectations in precisely measurable way through your engagement letters, this is easy to do. Anything that becomes subjective and judgmental is prone to creating fears. Remember, the client is taking a risk on your promise and hence there is a fear in his mind. Reverse that risk by offering a guarantee. Free trials make clients “experience” that it is not so much of a risk that they fear in their minds. It simply gives the client an assurance that they will not waste their hard earned money with your service and it will all work out.
- Demonstrate your competencies: Your certifications, your successfully completing your continued professional education, any new qualification you add, any new short course (related to the service your client takes from you) you complete – all of these reinforce a sense of trust in your client’s mind. No wonder people say “you are in safe hands” when they trust someone.
- Be accessible: When someone wants to run away with your money, they are not reachable. They don’t answer their phones, they don’t return calls and voicemails, they don’t respond to emails. People have this experience and if you become not accessible for any reason, it will create fears in the minds of your clients. Reach out frequently, not only when client demands.