To say that “trust” is the be-all and end-all of everything is probably not that far-fetched! Well, at least in human relationships, it surely is not. It forms the basis of everything we do, takes time to build, and is the number one source of happiness as well as contention.
The glue that holds all relationships together, including the relationship between the leader and the led, is trust. – Brian Tracy
In the education and migration industry, agencies can make or break their businesses, based on the relationship with clients. It is time for you to establish yourself as a trusted advisor to clients, than just an agent or agency. We have put together five major steps how you can transform yourself into a trusted advisor:
Be in it for the long run, not short term gains
As an education or migration consultant, you should focus on building a business that inculcates long-lasting values. Seeking short-term gains or offering misleading services have very limited lifespans. Furthermore, it creates a negative reputation that will haunt you for the rest of your career.
Instead, use your experience and expertise in the industry to add value to your agency business, eventually becoming a trusted advisor. Become a friend to your clients, give honest advice, thank or apologize when needed, and gain their trust. There is no greater value in business than gaining a client’s trust, loyalty and referrals.
Go above and beyond your call of duty
Many consider client relationships as limiting themselves to the basic requirements of your job profile. However, that is not enough to gain their trust! You must always be willing to give them something more than they expect. Here are some tips on how to do so:
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Take action on client feedback instantly
As client interactions with your education or migration agency increase every day, so will feedbacks on your service. Although it is inadvisable to take action on feedback without examining it thoroughly, waiting too long to respond is also not the answer.
Your quick and appropriate response to client feedback or queries is one of the most proven ways to win a client’s trust and improve client experience. For instance, if a client says he/she is unhappy with a particular aspect of your service, examine it quickly and once it is fixed, update the client immediately.
Anticipate client needs beforehand
While it may seem impossible to read someone’s mind, there are many ways to identify trends and act accordingly. Start by looking into the requirements of your previous or current clients, which will give you plenty of hints to create client relationship management strategies.
Once you have a list of the most sought-after needs, you will be able to foresee the same for new clients. Use these insights to make relevant offers, which match client expectations.
For example, trends show that many clients expect study packages, which include everything – from college offers and air travel to food and accommodation. In such cases, create your own unique packages and promote it among the clients.
Be humane and empathetic as an advisor
Studying abroad or migrating to another country takes a huge financial and emotional toll on people. It accounts for one of their most important life decisions. Sensitive issues like key factors influencing students’ decision to study abroad require a sympathetic yet practical approach.
While it is great to fulfill your agency responsibilities, sometimes it is even better to take that extra step. Hear them out! Go beyond the fact that they need your expert advice. Sometimes, it is more essential to listen to their stories about personal journeys.
You can also say these things to your clients:
- You are right
- I understand your situation
- Thank you for being so positive
- I appreciate your patience
- Is there anything else I can do for you?
Always do what you say!
Fairly straightforward and easy to do, make it a point to practice what you preach. As the owner of your business, you are obviously aware of all your roles and responsibilities. You are in the perfect position to be mindful of the following things:
- Be honest with your clients.
- Do not overpromise or under-promise anything to clients.
- Do not tell them things or make claims that are out of your reach or not part of the agency’s protocol.
- If you say you will revert to their queries within 24 hours, make sure it happens.
- If you allocate a certain time for client applications to be complete, follow up and see whether it is happening or not. This is relevant to the situations that are in your control, excluding other factors like changes in immigration policies.
- If you tell a client that you will call him/her within a certain time, make it happen.
- If you tell employees that they should be on time, make sure you do it too.
Credibility goes a long way
Clients are more likely to trust people who are qualified in their professions. It is perfectly all right if you became an education or migration consultant, based on sheer experience. However, adding academic knowledge to it will take you even further.
If you do not have time to attend full-time courses, there are plenty of other, more flexible options available. Here are some things you can do to boost your credibility among prospects and clients:
- Take up an online course on education or migration.
- Make it a habit to read industry news, articles, blogs, and updates, including relevant magazines and books.
- Attend and conduct seminars and workshops about the education and migration industry.
- Write articles and blogs about your industry experience.
Be yourself, as much as you can
Oscar Wilde said it best, “be yourself, everybody else is taken”. Gaining the client’s trust comes from being who you are, instead of trying to be like someone else. As a service provider, clients will appreciate you more, if you let your own good personality shine.
Here are some ways to do so:
- Smile, as much as you can.
- Focus on your positive attributes.
- Live a healthy lifestyle.
- Find time to pursue your hobbies and passions.
Advising people is a major responsibility. It takes a lot of sincerity, transparency, and professionalism to get it right. Becoming a trusted advisor to your clients is worth all the effort. Go for it!