In every business, you should consistently aim at getting your prospects and clients to trust you and your business. Trust starts with building a healthy, stable relationship. And good relationships will then generate new leads.

So, how do you begin to build trust with prospective clients?

1. Ask for Referrals
If you’ve already ‘wowed’ a client with the work you have produced for them and it’s been a success, ask them for a referral. When you’ve done excellent work for a client they should be more than happy to recommend your work to people they know. When you receive a referral, remember to thank the client; and in some cases, you may want to offer a referral fee.

2. Attend Networking Events
Networking is an excellent way to meet prospective clients face to face. It’s more genuine when approaching potential leads not to sell yourself or your business straight off the bat; rather ask them about what they do and begin a discussion about their challenges. Not only could you gain a potential client, but you are able to interact with your business community and gain first-hand knowledge about their challenges. Collect business cards and ask for permission to keep in touch. Send a follow-up email. Later, if there is an opportunity to assist anyone, contact them again.

3. Share and Educate
Sometimes the best way to build trust and introduce yourself to prospective clients is to share what you can offer. By giving people information that is relevant or useful, you can showcase your expertise. There are so many ways to share information, from FAQs on your website to a newsletter with tips and advice, to ebooks, flyers, online tools and much more.

Here are some great examples:

  • Restaurant – share a recipe or tips on how to add extra flavour to a home cooked meal
  • Frame shop – publish DIY tips for hanging the perfect picture
  • Landscaper – seasonal advice about what to plant
  • Plumber – tips for unblocking a drain
  • Accountant – spreadsheet for calculating income & expenses
  • Nursery school teacher – educational games to play at home with your children
  • Estate agent – tips for styling your home before a show day

4. Collect Testimonials
Just as positive reviews of books or movies will entice you to read the book or watch the movie, testimonials can be particularly helpful in gaining new customers. Getting testimonials from clients will also make them feel more valued. And if their experience was a particularly successful one then your clients won’t mind you sharing their recommendation online.

After each project is over, ask clients to fill in a testimonial sheet or questionnaire. Add those testimonials to your company website and update your testimonials at least once every six months to keep them current (no one believes an outdated testimonial).

5. Use LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a respected online networking platform, mainly for working professionals, where you can connect with your current and past clients. Through those connections, you can then find and connect with potential new customers. Send a thank you note to those who accept the connection and introduce yourself and your business. Download the contact details of your connections and ask for their permission to put them in your database. Develop a customer journey via email with your LinkedIn prospects and keep them up to date on your latest news, events and specials that could be beneficial to them and their businesses.

These activities should be part of your weekly marketing routine. So be sure to allocate regular time in your diary to spend on this, to keep feeding a pipeline of potential customers into your marketing funnel.