the inspiration blog

“No, I don’t want your free consultation” – 7 keys to help potential clients know, like and trust you

Posted on: May 10, 2019

Let’s face it: choosing to be on LinkedIn – and on many other social media platforms – means you’re going to be frequently solicited by people you don’t know well or at all. No matter how they phrase it, someone who messages you out of the blue basically is asking, “Do you want to be my client?”

It shouldn’t shock me anymore. I even recently wrote a poem about it. But I’m still stunned when someone connects with me, and the first thing they do is talk about their services, with no effort to connect otherwise. This is not only ineffective: it creates bad will with people who may otherwise actually be great clients.

And, it demonstrates a basic lack of awareness around building the “know, like, trust” factor. While it may already be obvious to you, let’s briefly describe each of these:

  • Know. Potential clients need to actually know who you are. Even if you’ve been in the business for decades or make 7-8 figures doesn’t mean you’re a household name. Perhaps, if you’ve clearly niched yourself, and you connect with those in your niche, many will generally know you – but not all – so don’t assume that messaging someone out of the blue will have them assume you’re an expert worth hiring.
  • Like. Sorry, but just knowing you isn’t enough – and neither is having a great offer that solves some distinct problem I may have. Most potential customers need to actually like you to hire you. And yet, trying too hard to be “likable” may trap you into acting fake.
  • Trust. This is actually the hardest one: getting people to trust you enough to give you their money in exchanged for promised services. We’ll get to ways to do this below, but first it may be helpful to reflect: how do you earn people’s trust in your life? And what causes you to trust others?

While there are many ways to do this, here’s my 2 cents. I’ve been coaching public speaking for over 20 years, with a specific focus on authenticity and presence. This means I help people to show up not just with technique and skill, but also as themselves. I do this with everything from their body language to their messaging and their presentations.

Unfortunately, many approaches to both speaking as well as marketing rely on formula, which will eventually fail (see below). So what can you do instead?

Here are 7 keys to help people know, like and trust you:

  1. Forgo formula. So many experts declare you have to follow their 5-step formula to get clients. That may work for a little while. But eventually, if many others follow the same approach, they’ll see what’s coming and get turned off. Sure, it can be helpful to look at the underlying principles you may have learned (e.g., follow up with them, ask questions, see if you can be of service), but templates ultimately have you sound tacky and take away your real voice.
  2. Be yourself and be real. That is, act like you do with real friends. Bring out your personality. And if you’re afraid they won’t like you… well, not everyone will. And that’s okay. Why in the world would you want to do business with people who don’t? Trust that you’ll magnetize those to you with whom you resonate. And, by truly being you, you will earn more trust.
  3. Connect. Please oh please, don’t start a connection by seeing if they want your services. Instead, ask your new connections about themselves. If you’re not sure what to say, ask them about what they wrote on their profile. Like, how did they get into what they do? What do they love about it? What’s hard for them? And, be vulnerable: share about who you really are; not that you have to tell them everything, but try to share a bit more than what’s “professional.” Be human! Most importantly, respond to what they say organically rather than manipulatively seeking out “pain points” to force them into your sales funnel.
  4. Care. Here’s the deal: if your potential client thinks you’re just out for their money, you’ll lose most of them. If you’re looking for those “pain points” instead of realizing that people are actually suffering, or have true needs, you may want to take a long and hard look at your priorities.
  5. Share. Write articles and put out videos. Give people time to know you. I can’t tell you how many clients over the years said they went to my web site multiple times, sometimes for years, before moving forward. Sure, some of them delayed because of putting off confronting their fear around public speaking (a big part of my work), but having ways to get to know me helped them know, like and trust me more. While there are other free offerings you can provide, videos as well as more informally written articles establish more of the “know” and “like” factors than a more formal report or “blueprint.”
  6. Be trustworthy. Be transparent. Keep your word. Provide what you offer, and don’t exaggerate claims. And practice the other elements named above to create more trust .
  7. Take your time. Sorry, but even if you have bills to pay yesterday, forcing the sales cycle (how long it takes not just your average client, but this specific person to decide to move forward) will likely backfire. So give the relationship time to grow, and think long-term: just because they don’t move forward now doesn’t mean they won’t later – especially if you treat them really well.

Finally, here’s one last tip that sums up much of the above: relax. A nonverbal signal (be it through your body language or your writing) that causes others to not trust you is to be tight or forced. Instead, relax your body, and relax your mind. Let go of what you think you have to do to get the client. Trust the process. Get to know them, and offer from your heart.

If much of the above sounds daunting, the likelihood is that you need to find your voice… not the one you think you should use to be successful. This is your authentic charisma, which will cause others to like you, to really know you (since otherwise they wouldn’t know who you are anyway), and to trust you.

To do so means you have confidence in yourself, not just in a formula you learned. And what my public speaking clients continually realize is this: when you have confidence in not just your services, but in your actual presence, you may be surprised at how easy you’ll attract those who’d love to work with you, and to make a bigger impact.


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