How To Build Trust in Client/Agency Relationships
How do you build trust? This is the connection that runs deep into your heart. The place that’s nestled in a spot that’s under the surface, beyond the small talk, and tapped into both individuals’ core values and feelings. This spot is tough to reach and takes time to build because well, we’re like onions; we have a lot of layers. Working through the layers to understand the individual is critical as we build relationships with clients to understand their visions, needs, and ultimately establish trust and mutual understanding of the core values we each hold. In the video below, Simon Sinek offers his observations on what needs to happen to unlock the two-way flow of trust:
Trust is daunting because it’s a two-way street. The first step is to be your authentic self. Communication, commitment, honesty, integrity, and transparency are all important parts of the equation, but authenticity is the uniqueness you bring to the table that no one else can.
In today’s society of perfect Instagram posts and crafted Facebook moments, authenticity has seemed to go by the wayside. This was even addressed in HP’s recent advertising campaign, created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners.
When it comes to client-agency relationships, what are the best practices for building trust? How do you keep relationships authentic, but still professional? Here are a few recommendations based on our own experiences:
- Be generous with yourself. Brenè Brown offers an acronym for the characteristics and actions which build trust. Check out this list and video (transcript provided) for reminders of the organic ways we earn and give trust.
- Treat each customer as an individual and work through their unique layers. As marketers an integral part of our job is to understand emotion and what makes folks tick. This should be second nature to us but we get busy and forget to go deep to get to the good stuff in our brands and our clients.
- Be transparent and expect transparency in your relationships. Integrity and honesty go hand in hand with transparency and nothing builds trust more than the comfort and security that goes with knowing and understanding where your money is being spent. We media buyers are intimately familiar with this concept and strive to give our clients as much information as possible for themselves and their leadership because as Sir Francis Bacon said “Knowledge is Power”.
YOU are the key element in building trust. Make the connection. Take time to treat people with dignity and respect and even if it’s hard, make your best self available and open in your relationships. You’ll find it’s the most natural thing you can do in our crazy and ever-changing world.