Building a meaningful rapport and really connecting with someone is the key to any successful business. Whether you are meeting someone at an event, having lunch with a potential client, or presenting a proposal to the hiring board of a big firm, you need to connect with your audience.
We were recently hired by a mid-sized and very reputable firm after going head to head with some competitors. After we were awarded the job, we asked the hiring individual why we were chosen over our competitors. The answer was simple: she connected with us better.
That being said, here are my top tips on how to connect with your audience and build that solid relationship.
1. Really know your stuff by knowing their stuff. Really know your audience and the industry. If going into a proposal meeting, do your homework. Study the firm website. Google the partners. This will speak volumes for you if you are prepared with all your facts.
2. Be personable. Don't just know your facts and spit them out. Be conversational. Really get to know the person in front of you. Smile!
3. Listen. Don't be the person who rambles through a presentation. Ask key questions. Listening will help you know how to respond and what to emphasize in your presentation. The more you listen, the more successful you will be.
4. Once you've landed the job, focus on making the client look good and stay 10 steps ahead of your client at all times. Your client will appreciate it when you are proactive.
5. Lastly, when things die down, and they will, stay in the loop with your client. Forward articles, send a note. Bring up an interesting trend in their industry.
If you keep these basic tips in mind, you will notice yourself acting more relaxed and you will be more confident. Good luck!