A client was on a call recently with a big brand Fortune 500 company, scoping the parameters for a series of quick turn-around commercials.
She quickly realized that the preliminary budget was out of whack with where the client team was headed, so she stopped the conversation to reset their expectations.
She explained her concern and did a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation that was almost 50% above their planned budget.
Her lead client said “OK—we can do that, just let us know what you think the final number is going to be in a few days” and the meeting went back to its original focus.
While you can argue that this is a client with deep pockets and a must-get-done project, plenty of those same marquee clients push back on fees. Hard.
In this case, they’d built up a huge cache of trust in their consultant, molded over a few joint skirmishes in the battlefield that is commercial production in the COVID era.
But it got me thinking about some other ways clients demonstrate they trust you:
They tell you they’re uncomfortable with one of your recommendations, knowing you’ll hear them out and guide them to the best course of action.
You’re the first one they reach for when they get a win from the work you’ve done together.
They share inside, confidential information on their organization, knowing you’ll know when and how to use it.
They ask you to start work for them without establishing a budget first, trusting you to have their best interests at heart (although you have the appropriate fee discussion anyway).
They take you into their confidence about personal and professional challenges that make them vulnerable.
They insist on you being part of their solution and will move mountains to make sure you’re a member of their team.
They provide running unsolicited testimonials to you and the quality of their transformations.
How have your clients let you know they trust you?