Many things, such as your appearance, language, or work habits, can either encourage trust or alienate your customers. The following tips are easy ways for women in business to gain client trust and confidence.
1. Be Courteous
Follow protocol and business etiquette. Above all, be professional. When you are speaking with your customers, say “please” and “thank you.” You will gain trust and respect with these simple words. Also, avoid business etiquette faux pas such as profanity and too much slang as these typecast you as having little to no class. The old adage “be personable, but not personal” is still particularly viable for women in business.
2. Be Positive
Encourage and build up your customers. Talk up your business. Say what is right about your business and all the great reasons to do business with you. Mention the benefits of working with you and how you can help your customers. Insert the “we” word in your conversations, as it makes your customers feel like they have something in common with you. For example, you could say “We are having amazing weather today, aren’t we?”
Be sure to use positive, proactive words and anecdotes, and steer away from sarcasm and cynicism. You don’t want to be pigeonholed as a complainer or a troublemaker. Keep your business body language positive, too. For example, avoid shaking your head no when you say yes or are agreeing with your customers. It sends the wrong message.
3. Be Dressed for Success
To ensure success, it’s essential that you dress in proper business attire. Wear clothes, shoes, accessories, and makeup that match your field of business, whether it’s business casual, business standard, or corporate business. After all, your appearance figures over anything else in first impressions. Use your common sense. When women dress inappropriately in business, they are labeled accordingly. For example, low-cut tops, short shorts, and spike heels will label you as cheap. The men and women you deal with won’t take you seriously and may actually treat you like the sex object you appear to be. In the corporate world, “tramp stamps” and body piercing, with the exception of pierced ears, may not be welcome.
When you dress in ways that are user-friendly and businesslike, you are much more accessible to your customers. Looking good also builds your inner confidence. Make sure your clothes are all clean and pressed, and wear solid colors rather than wild prints. One color you can always count on for your business wardrobe is blue. It’s the color of trust in business. A mainstay in business is the navy blue suit, with either slacks or a skirt. It’s the kind of outfit that instills trust. Navy blue is a more conservative hue, while royal or baby blue are bolder or softer statements in blue.
4. Be Consistent and Persistent
Do what you say when you say. Be good to your word and meet the deadlines that are agreed upon whenever possible. It’s important to promise only what you can deliver. The most successful businesswomen don’t give up. They persevere and are persistent, sometimes to a fault. It’s almost always a good idea to ask for something more than once, in a polite, creative way. Sometimes you may have to ask several times before you get a yes in business.
5. Be Smart
Working smart means always following up with your customers. Don’t leave them hanging. You never know when you might need that business connection in the future, so cultivate rather than neglect your customer base.
The easiest way to do this is to use index cards, computer files, or a simple notebook to keep track of customer information such as likes and dislikes, names of children, customer birthdays, bugaboos, and other relevant facts that will help you continue to do better business. Learn the 80/20 rule: Expend 80 percent of your efforts on the 20 percent of your customers who represent 80 percent of your profits and apply it 24/7.