How I have reinvented my role and title to ensure I’m being conscious of building relationships before a direct sale and how it has helped me build client trust in an industry driven by digital transformation.
How often are we bombarded on LinkedIn when you have a C-level title? Or from a persistent salesperson who peddles his next-level Software as a service (SaaS) or solution before even asking how you are? What ever happened to the good old days when the lessons of F2F engagement were at the forefront of building a customer relationship?
If you are interested in realising the value in approaching social selling with a human first mindset, in my almost 12 years in sales, I have learnt what it takes to create long-lasting client relationships that can immediately assist with your social selling role.
I began this journey over 12 years ago by managing a high-performance team within the Australian Insurance space. This specialised role entailed assisting the public with new and existing sales, cross-selling existing clients, and navigating communication.
After gaining experience in this realm, I was eager for a new opportunity to harness my interpersonal skills and experience in a digital environment, so I pivoted towards a career that combined social with sales. Why you may ask? Observing a function being transformed by digital made me interested in how we can start to scale sales and the rise of the digital marketing world.
I started to collaborate with The Social Craft in 2021, as the Sales Development Manager, in between servicing my role as Relationship Manager at Turn Left Media, initially facilitating traditional sales and client account management tasks like audience builds, forecasts, and assisting with building client proposals. But, as I developed my skills and advanced in my client relationships, I started playing a more strategic role with the client involving renewing business once legacy media was finished.
As of September 2022, I became a permanent part of this team and my role has transitioned to Head of Client Engagement, a new title that I believe combines my love for solution strategy, client happiness, account management and sales function. It has been an opportunity to combine backend operations knowledge with digital solutions and more practical executions like campaign launches. I can effectively manage our current client book and facilitate client-facing responsibilities with the support of our campaign management team. This unique role positions me as the middleman between the creative space all the way through to client meetings, offering a holistic approach to client conversations Ultimately, this makes having “sales” conversations easier, as I am solving for a problem with key solutions as opposed to just closing a deal.
With the digital world taking over how we engage with clients, creating a shift in communication strategies as well as how brands portray themselves online, I have seen LinkedIn become an integral component in the way people effectively transform social into sales. Especially as a result of the pandemic, our industry pressed pause on F2F engagements and we, as sales professionals, account managers, and client service specialists had to adapt and innovate to remain relevant. Nevertheless, I have also come to realise that, with sales, there needs to be a balance between traditional and digital communication to succeed.
It takes more than simply delivering a top-notch product or service to build client trust. Nowadays, we also need to create relationships and get enough time with decision makers to have an informed conversation about products and services. In an industry driven by digital, being conscious of building relationships before a direct sale holds greater power when it comes to client trust.
4 Tactics I Use to Improve Client Trust and Drive a Stronger Conversion:
Manage expectations with honesty
Much like interpersonal connections, trust is the cornerstone on which a positive client experience is established. That's because honesty underpins all relationships. Openness, managing expectations, and being forthright with new any developments (good and bad) can help you gain people's confidence and pave the way for a long and fulfilling relationship.
Leverage tech to break barriers
Tech can either build walls up or be used to tear them down. Ahead of any client call, I use LinkedIn to learn more about our stakeholders and find common ground with them. Connecting on professional platforms, finding similar interests, learning about their educational background and work experience can be used to form the basis for meaningful conversations. This opens channels of deeper communication and strong connections.
Build internal trust
From an internal perspective, people are more inclined to honestly share their work progress or setbacks and contribute ideas when they may do so without fear of mockery or backlash. In my position as a facilitator between the creative and client spaces, fostering an environment where people can speak up is essential. Having a voice is crucial to admitting mistakes so that you can make room for innovation, learning and creativity that can, in turn, produce better outcomes for clients – especially within a digital space that requires continuous growth.
Listen and add value
Being an effective communicator is not just about conversing it also requires being a good listener. I enjoy meaningful conversations that afford me the opportunity to listen, learn and extract value that can benefit both parties. I aim to leave every conversation confident in the knowledge that I have done everything in my capacity to ensure the other person feels understood.
In the digital age, what are you doing in your sales role to weave the lessons of F2F engagement into the way you build client trust?