Have you ever been face to face in a room full of strangers with the task of selling them your products of services? Or what about on stage in an auditorium with 500 stranger’s faces looking back at you? You’re about to open your mouth and talk to these people, convincing them to buy what you’re selling, believe what you’re saying; well first they need to trust you. Trust is both a subconscious and conscious feeling towards someone that impacts your decisions, sometimes in a fraction of a second. So here are my tips on how to get those all important strangers to trust you…
GET THEM TO LIKE YOU FIRST:
I suppose this applies to life as well as business situations, we’re far more likely to trust someone if we like them, the two go hand in hand. So treat those strangers immediately like friends, greet them with a smile, find common ground as quickly as possible, show a genuine interest in them, or their company ethos or brand. If you’re in a position of power, such as a CEO on stage speaking to a room full of your employees, then using self deprecating humour is a great way to get people to like you, it humanises you and brings your audience closer, similarly tell them a secret, and make sure they know it’s a secret no one else knows (except for the other 499 people in the room), this will also bring them closer and build a subconscious warm relationship between you. Of course if all else fails, make them laugh… studies have proved that humour makes you more likeable, so get practising in making your jokes seem authentic and off the cuff.
If you feel listened to, you feel that the person you’re talking to both cares about you and understands what you’re saying. This is a powerful tool in building a sense of common interests and values and you haven’t even had to speak yet. Demonstrate you are listening to the person by letting them finish without interrupting, and by referencing what they have just said, applauding and validating their opinions. Try to focus entirely on listening to what the person is saying, and not to let your brain starting formulating your own responses whist they are still speaking. This one is of course less applicable if you’re talking to that auditorium of 500 people, it would be a rather quiet presentation.
LAND YOUR SENTENCES
You may find yourself in a position where you are representing your company, selling your services and positioning yourself as an expert. On the inside you’re a bag of nerves and trying to keep cool by checking your notes every now and again. There is no harm in that but be careful with your timing. Look at your notes in the middle of your sentence, and then look up, look them directly in the eye for the last 3 words; that is landing your sentence. This is incredibly important to demonstrate that you trust yourself and believe your own words, and if you don’t believe it yourself how would other people be able to. So land the last 3 words of your sentence slowly, boldly, with eye contact and with purpose.
PICK YOUR LANGUAGE CAREFULLY
When responding to questions and remarks on your presentation, make sure you use positive language, even if you don’t agree with what the person is saying.
For example: “It looks from your presentation that your services are expensive and possibly out of our budget, you seem at the top end of suppliers we have on our books.” Your response could be, “No we’re not that expensive actually you’ve got that wrong, we are one of the cheapest suppliers that offer this level of service, and whatsmore we offer you a first time buyers discount.” This reply tells your prospect client about your high service levels and about discounts you can offer them, but it starts with the word no and you’re telling them they are wrong, you are building negativity despite actually offering them what they may want.
How about something along the lines of: “Thank you so much for raising that point, you’ve reminded me about the first time buyer discount of 20% that we are currently offering if that interests you. Interestingly we recently did some market analysis, and we were found to be one the cheaper suppliers for the delivery of this type of service….”
This is just a hypothetical example how the selection of different words can communicate the same thing in a way that is much more likely to build trust between you and your customer. Apply the same notion to whatever set of circumstances you find yourself in where you require a sense of trust in the relationship.
Body language is also an underestimated tool in the art of guiding someone’s subconscious into trusting you. Opening of your chest, unfolding and opening your arms, signals that you’re open to that person, and encourages them to be open with you, and signifies trust and honesty. If you’re in a position of authority such as leading a business, your body language must represent strength and stability, balance your weight equally on both legs when you present, hold long stable poses if moving around rather than shuffling from one to another, and hold your head straight with direct eye contact when taking questions, this shows confidence in what you’re presenting.
On the other hand, at times when you want to appear more human and show vulnerability tilting your head signifies this. A slight tilt shows an openness to listen and learn, so in 1-1 conversations where the other person is opening up this technique is useful. There are reports of how Barack Obama famously used this technique in his political debates.
The oldest trick in the book is mirroring, in a 1-1 conversation mirroring the other person’s body language is proven to build a sense of trust between you. But by far the best trick in my book is the power of a big friendly smile, don’t underestimate the power of a smile.
Thanks for reading, if you want to hear more then follow me on socials or if you’d like some 1-1 coaching support with these elements then drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.