People like to work with people they know, like and trust. This may seem obvious, but it’s not always clear how to build the know/like/trust relationship with new clients.
The key to creating this connection with hiring managers is communication. It’s estimated that 80% of professional problems are the result of poor communication. Too much communication, not enough communication, missed communication, or communication that does not create feelings of being trusted can all sabotage the connection you try to build with new clients.
Here are some tips for communicating with new hiring managers that lead to a strong, trusting bond:
Eliminate the word “should” from your vocabulary. Phrases containing the word “should” trigger defensiveness and hostility in many people. “Should” phrases are a quick way to erode the know/like/trust relationship that you’re trying to build.
To replace “should,” you can use phrases like “I would suggest” or “I would recommend” or “I’ve seen success when…”
Confident communication is an essential ingredient in creating a trusting relationship. Many professionals sabotage their perceived confidence by using apologetic language. Eliminate “sorry” from your professional vocabulary. If you need to apologize, try a more confident approach. Either use the phrase “I apologize” instead of “I’m sorry” or use the situation as a way to compliment the other person rather than tearing yourself down. “Thank you for your understanding” or “thank you for your flexibility” are easy ways to still communicate an apology while building someone else up instead of diminishing the importance of your own communication.
“I think” is a phrase used often in business, but it’s a dangerous one and can quickly evaporate trust. People generally perceive statements that follow “I think” in one of two ways: a) this is actually what the speaker thinks or b) the speaker is unsure of what they are stating. Therefore, a phrase like “I think we’ll be a good fit” will be received by about half of listeners as a statement of the speaker’s truth and the other half will hear a lack of strength and confidence. Replace powerless “I think” language with confidence; literally. Say “I’m confident that we will be a good fit,” and all listeners will receive the same, powerful message.
Engage in reflective listening. Nothing makes people feel respected and appreciated more than taking the time to listen to them. If you really want to build trust with potential clients, make it abundantly clear that you are hearing and understanding them. Research indicates that one of the deepest human needs is to be understood. If you can communicate understanding to a prospective client, you are building a solid foundation for the know/like/trust bond. Use statements like “If I understand you correctly, you’re saying…” then paraphrase back what has been said. Use your own words, but mirror some of the key words the speaker used to demonstrate true understanding.
Words have tremendous power. And the language we choose to use can be a key to establishing a trusted relationship with clients. By losing words that communicate a lack of confidence and adopting powerful reflective listening skills, you’ll be well on your way to becoming someone a hiring manager knows, likes and trusts.