When I consider the relationship between an entrepreneur and a prospect, I relate it to dating in many ways.
Since I am a male, I will speak from the perspective of a man, but this can be used on the female approach too.
When we meet that woman for the first time, they will naturally be in a defensive mode.
It is our duty to use tried and true methods to first allow them to know us, and then methods to like us, followed by our abilities to gain their trust.
It works the same with prospects, and we may even use some of the same methods.
While you may not buy your prospect a dozen roses, you may consider a small gift.
Keep in mind that like that woman, your prospect may have been burned before.
You don’t know what has happened in the past that has built a wall of defense against entrepreneurs, so it is your duty to show that not all entrepreneurs are the same.
The process of gaining trust and friendship is really not that difficult.
I hope these methods help you and if they do, please share this post with others who may need the same help.
If you have some other tips, feel free to share them in the comment section at the end of this post.
These methods are in no particular order, so be sure and read them completely to help you have better responses from your prospects.
Let’s take a look.
1: Offer value
Upon the first meeting, it is important that the prospect knows that no matter what, there is value in the relationship you have.
One of the best ways to provide value is to supply awareness.
Educate the prospect on not only your product or service, but also on the subject matter your product or service entails.
Many entrepreneurs use a blog and also offer a free ebook or something similar to give value to potential prospects.
You can also provide value by making them aware of videos, webinars or even provide them with free literature.
2: Have genuine concern
So, a prospect tells you that they just found out that morning their spouse has cancer; which of these examples would you consider to be genuine.
- “Oh, I’m am sorry to hear that (prospect’s name). I will say a prayer for (prospect’s spouse). Now, about our business proposition…”
- “Oh my (prospect’s name)! Are you okay? Do you even think you should be here with me now? Maybe you should be with your spouse. We can schedule this for a different time and I am going to call my praying friends immediately on behalf of your spouse.”
Which of these entrepreneurs would you believe had genuine concern?
Which of these entrepreneurs would you like and trust?
Trust me, prospects can tell genuine from non-genuine.
I recently had a tragedy in which my daughter was killed and I witnessed genuine and non-genuine concern.
This is when I discovered the owner of this blog and my friend, Chuck Holmes has a genuine concern even when he is knee-deep in stress himself.
It is in times like those when prospects discover who they know, who they like and who they can trust.
3: Remember their names
This is ultra-important!
Just knowing that you as an entrepreneur that deals with many people takes the time and patience to remember their name will build great trust in you.
I know that it is difficult for some of us to remember names.
I suggest that when you first meet the person, say their name to yourself 10-20 times until it is ingrained in your brain.
4: Become an expert
This may take time, but if your prospect sees that you are going to all lengths to educate yourself on the niche you are in, they will gain more respect for you.
Read books, get a mentor and even take courses to learn as much as you possibly can about the subject.
Prospects want to work with experts, not amateurs.
5: Be welcoming
No matter how your prospect comes to you, it is important that you are welcoming.
If your prospect feels even the slightest non-welcoming tension, you probably won’t see or hear from them again.
So when you meet a new prospect, give them a smile and a huge welcome.
6: Let them know it is okay to say no
I would say this is one of the best tips on the page.
Many salespeople would probably debate this notion, but when you take the pressure off both the prospect and yourself by just telling them you will not be upset or hold it against them if they say no, you will have gained the like and trust parts immediately.
Other posts you may enjoy:
- How to Make a Good First Impression with Your Business Prospects
- How to Avoid Giving Your Prospects Information Overload
- How Many Exposures Do Most Prospects Need Before They Buy from You
- Mastering the Follow-up Process with Prospects: Tips from Other Marketers and Entrepreneurs
- What Should You Do With MLM Prospects Who Ignore You, Don’t Return Your Calls, or No Show You?
7: Keep eye contact
If you are meeting a prospect face to face or even on Skype or something similar, you will gain more trust if you maintain eye contact.
Most people assume that when a person cannot hold eye contact, they are lying.
This doesn’t mean to have a stare down, but just keep simple eye contact in a normal way.
8: Reach out often through multiple forms of media
Reach out with a hi, how are you on:
It doesn’t have to be a sales message or anything about the subject; just a simple hello, how are you?
It means a lot to people just to get a wave and a hi without any pressure to buy something.
9: Use good manners
No matter how you are in contact with your prospect, consider your manners.
Also as an expat myself, always consider your prospect’s culture, because what you may think are good manners may not be in their culture.
Always consider your words before blurting them out.
10: Be a problem solver
Everybody has some type of problem.
When you meet someone that has a possible way to solve that problem, we immediately put trust in that person.
That is my point!
Have a way to solve their problems and you WILL gain their trust. The key is listening because people will tell you their problems.
You may not be able to solve every problem, but even a referral to someone who may have the answer will gain you trust and respect from the prospect.
11: Engage them
Find ways to engage your prospect.
Ask their opinions on unrelated subjects.
Ask about their life.
Ask them nearly anything to get them engaged.
And allow them to ask you so they can know you better.
Engage them everywhere you can; on social media, via email and in person.
12: Handwritten notes or postcards
People are inundated with emails and many will not even open them.
One think people are not used to is getting a handwritten note or postcard in the mail.
Think about it…
We all read our mail and yes, most of us even read the junk mail.
When an entrepreneur is willing to hand write a note, how can we not like them and trust them?
I get very few handwritten notes from entrepreneurs, but the ones I do get, the entrepreneur has gained my total respect.
13: Be willing to discuss bad experiences
Many prospects have had bad experiences with other entrepreneurs or businesses.
You can gain a lot of trust if you are willing to discuss those experiences and help alleviate any distrust they have in the system.
The prospect will gain respect for you because you don’t “skirt” away from the subject.
14: Be consistent
Consistency with everything dealing with prospects is important.
If they see any type of inconsistency, they may wonder how many other inconsistencies you have.
Sometimes as entrepreneurs or salespeople, we tend to talk more than we listen.
It has been said that our maker gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason.
If we listen to the prospect more, they will tend to give us the answers to solving their problems and we can also solve our problems too.
Listen twice as much as you talk.
16: Protect them
You need to guarantee that you will protect your prospect from their personal information being released to other people.
If possible, show them all the protections you have in place to guarantee their safety.
This is a very important tip in these days of high identity theft.
17: Ask how they are
Every time you converse with your prospect be it:
- or in person
ask how they are.
This is a great way to see their immediate attitude and do not neglect to converse about their answer to that question.
18: Put faith and trust in them
The best way to get faith and trust is to give faith and trust.
When your prospect recognizes that you have faith and trust in them, they will normally respond with the same.
One of the best ways to get people to know you and like you is to ask them questions.
I hit on this earlier, but people naturally like to talk about themselves.
Ask them questions and listen.
They will often provide the means for you to solve their problems.
20: Reward them
Find a way to give your prospect a reward.
Everyone loves to win prizes, so use a small item to reward them for a job well done.
By doing so, you will gain like and trust.
21: Be spontaneous
Just like a date loves spontaneity, so do prospects.
So you normally meet at a local fast food restaurant, all of a sudden invite the prospect to a free dinner at a steakhouse.
Be spontaneous; it works!
Try smiling all the time.
After all, who cannot like someone with a smile on their face?
And remember, it is actually harder to frown than it is to smile.
23: Always thank them
No matter the outcome of any meeting or any other contact, always thank your prospect.
This goes right along with the good manners tip.
By thanking them, even if you received a no, they will remember and you may have a future customer or team member.
24: Do good deeds
No good deed goes unrewarded.
We may not always see the reward, but it will come.
Even doing good deeds to non-prospects may be noticed by current or future prospects.
No matter what, doing good deeds is just good for our own well-being and it will reflect in our attitudes.
You need to try and put yourself in the shoes of your prospect.
By doing so, you will have the right words to say.
I often tell people to find common ground with the prospect.
This can help them begin to trust you more.
If the prospects Mother is sick, maybe your Father was sick with something similar.
Just converse with the prospect and find common ground.
It’s easy if you try.
By following these 25 tips, you will have your prospects knowing you, liking you and trusting you.
What are your thoughts?
Do you have any added tips you would share?
Getting your prospects to know you, like you and trust you is really not that difficult.
The main key is to be yourself and do not try to be someone you are not.
I believe that people who are experts in dating say the same thing.
Please leave your comments, questions or tips below.
And also, if you found this post helpful, please share it.
About the Author
Greg Boudonck is a freelance writer and the author of over 50 books. He writes on many different topics, but business subjects are one of his primary areas of writing expertise. See Greg’s biography here.