Build Trust When First Meeting a Prospect

BY Jessica Helinski

In sales, it’s important to build trust quickly, preferably during the first meeting with a prospect. Unfortunately, many of these first conversations fall flat, which is a missed opportunity for a potentially lucrative relationship. “Recovering from a bad first meeting is hard to do but there are several easy ways to avoid fumbling and instead create a positive first impression,” writes Craig Wortmann in an article for SalesEngine.

Before going into best practices for first meetings, Wortman first advises salespeople about what they should not do: Treat the meeting like a round of speed dating. This is not the time to try to win over the prospect by rattling off your accomplishments and selling points. The first meeting isn’t a time to “sell” but rather establish rapport and start building trust. You can accomplish this, according to Wortmann, by:

  • Arriving prepared. Research the prospect and his or her business before the meeting. Select two or three standout facts that impress you and bring them up during the conversation.
  • Showcasing your dependability. Before the meeting, take time to confirm the time and place with the prospect. This simple gesture will show that you are not only looking forward to the meeting but also organized and reliable. Also, if you make any promises during the meeting, follow through and deliver within 24 hours.
  • Being authentically self-​effacing. If the moment presents itself, fess up to any past mistakes or foibles. It’s common to think doing so will scare away a prospect but it actually reveals your honesty and ability to learn from past stumbles. “Sharing concerns or mistakes you’ve made along your professional career is one of the quickest ways to build trust,” Wortmann explains. “It shows you’re authentic and not only showing your best face.”

Check out Wortmann’s entire article for all of his first-​meeting tips. This is a vital time to establish yourself as a valuable, trustworthy provider!