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Four ways to build customer confidence in a new consultancy

Learn four tips for building customer confidence in a new consultancy and get an expert's opinion on prospecting for new customers in this expert tip.

As a new consultancy, what can we do to build customer confidence in our services, with no previous customers to vouch for us?
If you are worried that prospects won't trust you because you have no business history, or won't believe you are competent enough to do business with, then one way to dispel that doubt is to provide references from the personal work histories of you and the other consultants at your business, prior to starting this new business. It would help, of course, if one of your clients from this previous work history could provide a reference.

However, with or without such a reference, I still think it is possible to instill confidence in your capabilities with a thoughtful and deliberate set of initiatives based on exhibiting your expertise. My philosophy has always been based on the idea that even when prospecting for new customers, you should try to show good will and value, so that prospects can visualize what it would be like to work with you. So, for instance, as a consultancy you could do the following to build customer confidence:

  • Author reports or white papers on relevant topics, based on your reputation or your expertise and tilted to the problems or difficulties facing the prospect clients you are trying to solicit.

  • Conduct a survey or other research and make the findings available in advance to these prospects. You could even release the results to news media and generate some publicity for your new company.

  • Host a seminar or webinar and invite prospects to participate.

  • Devise an inexpensive, one-day "check up" or "gap assessment" or some other service that would be attractive to prospective clients.

    Whatever you choose to do, the underlying philosophy should be that you are investing in your prospects so they can realize some kind of immediate value from your interest in their business. In other words, your prospects should benefit from your sales process itself. This will ensure that a good number of them will welcome your prospecting efforts, rather than resisting them. In addition, sooner or later a few of these prospects may even feel guilty about receiving benefits without having paid any fees.

    This is a philosophy of doing business and not just a sales tactic for winning accounts. The philosophy is based on the idea that in every client or prospect interaction it is always best to be sure that the interaction itself has some intrinsic value to the prospect, whether or not they do business with you.

    Hear more in Creating Customer Value, a SearchCRM.com monthly podcast series with Peppers and Rogers.

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