How trustworthy do you appear? Trust is one of the most important traits to have in a professional services relationship. If you don’t have trust people will not work with you, your clients will not continue to instruct you and your peers or fellow professional advisors will not refer work in your direction.
Responsible for filing someone’s company accounts on time? You must be trustworthy.
Fighting to get the best outcome in someone’s emotional divorce battle? You must be trustworthy.
Advising a family on the best investment for their hard-earned money? You must be trustworthy.
Composing an IT infrastructure that will hold key client information? You must be trustworthy.
Designing a building that will hold hundreds of people? You catch my drift.
So how can you get across that you are a trustworthy person, before working with a client and having the opportunity to show them?
It can be tricky to demonstrate traits such as being trustworthy, reliable and honest without having the ability to show this through your advice and work. However, there are a few things you can do to put this message across:
Getting real-time reviews from your clients on platforms such as Google Reviews and Trust Pilot is a great way of helping others to ‘hear it from the horse’s mouth’. It can also help boost your organic rankings for online searches. Make sure you are actively asking your happy clients to leave reviews, make it easy for them to do so by providing a link in your closing communications, website or email signatures. It is also important to respond to your reviews to show clients that you value their feedback.
Similar to reviews, this gives potential clients the opportunity to hear about how you work directly from the client’s that have worked with you. A testimonial can be a really powerful piece of content that you can include on your website and marketing materials. Testimonials tend to be longer and more specific to reviews, so you may only be able to ask for these from a select number of your clients.
Going one step further than a client testimonial, a case study allows you to have more control over the content and go into greater detail on the matters that you helped your client with. Case studies can take the form of written content, an infographic or a video. Powerful, useful content for your website and suite of marketing materials.
Position Yourself with Experts
Being connected with and collaborating with other highly trusted professionals can boost your reputation by association. Strive to make connections with key people, harbour good working relationships, look to partner with other professionals at events, podcasts, blogs etc.
Solidify Referral Relationships
Clients have a lot of trust in their accountant or solicitor, so if you are being recommended or referred to by them, then this can come with an already anticipated level of trust. This is why it is crucial to build long-lasting relationships with other professionals so that you can build a pipeline of referral work and equally, have someone to refer your clients to in return.
Write Expert Pieces
Another way to prove your trustworthy persona is to put together helpful whitepapers or articles to show your knowledge on particular subjects.
By association with other trusted and well-liked professionals in your industry or local area, potential clients or potential work referrers will regard you as trustworthy and professional.
Win Awards and Accolades
Winning key industry or local business awards will add to your armour of trustworthiness. But so will being nominated or shortlisted. There is often great press coverage and social media content that comes from being shortlisted or winning awards too. Having accolades that you can add to your website, bio, email signature or letterheads can help boost your reputation in your field.
In the professional services space, qualifications and post-nominals can be a very quick way to determine whether someone is suitably qualified to help. Make sure you list your accolades. Most professionals are continuously learning and developing, whether it is attending webinars and short courses to rack up your CPD points, or enrolling on more in-depth courses, listening to podcasts or reading. Shout about what you have learned.
Speaking at a key event, running a seminar, taking a column in your local newspaper or being the ‘go to expert’ for your local radio station can all help portray you as a trusted professional.
There are some small, subtle ways that you can convey trust and reliability when meeting someone for the first time. Maintaining good eye contact, smiling, gesturing with open palms, mirroring body language and using a firm but warm handshake are all top tips that body language experts state will demonstrate trust.