Trust and Warmth First

Here’s a lesson I learned about how establishing trust and warmth first, goes a long way towards positioning you for closing new business leads.


Beer for Breakfast?


I was on an early flight this morning, on route to our National RE/MAX Convention at Sun City.  Sunday mornings are supposed to be for sleeping in, but not this morning, as there aren’t too many flight options into Lanseria Airport at this time of the week.

I don’t know about you, but my first drink of the day is generally a coffee, so you can imagine my surprise when I hear the lady in the seat behind me ask the air hostess, “do you serve beers?”

It was 8:10am.  I know this, because it was one of those moments where you quickly check your watch to confirm you’re hearing correctly.  A beer?  For breakfast?  Each to their own I suppose…

As the beer-drinking women began to get into her conversation with her seat mate, she introduced herself as an estate agent.  Again, my first reaction was to cringe.  What a great way to introduce yourself, by cracking open a beer first thing on a Sunday morning?  “Cheers!”


Surely not the best way to introduce yourself as an estate agent, and make a good impression, right?


Well, wrong, apparently.  To my complete surprise, as soon as the beer-drinking estate agent announced her profession,  her seat mate’s first reaction was to hand over her business card.  “I have a property that I need assistance with, maybe you can help when you get back to the office…..”


Trust Versus Respect


I thought a lot about my reaction, as well as the reaction of the lady sitting next to the estate agent on the 2 hour drive from the airport to Sun City.   What I had completely failed to understand was that the two ladies had established a connection on the plane.   A connection based on warmth, and trust.

The estate agent hadn’t given the ‘client’ any explanation of her experience, her history of success, or any form of marketing pitch, but the client was comfortable enough to hand over her business card and ask for assistance.

I speak to so many people in my business coaching who feel that the most important thing that they have to convince a client on, is how much they know.  They feel the need to gain the respect of the client by first showing the client how competent they are, when ultimately, all the client really wants to know is:


  • Can I trust you?

  • Will you look after my interests?

  • Do you care?


Warmth versus Competence


Trust versus respect, is the same as warmth vs competence.  The estate agent on the plane, in that short space of time,  had done enough to establish a connection with her new client, because she was authentic, warm and friendly.  That was enough to lay a foundation of trust between the two.  Competence hadn’t even come into the conversation.

I was wrong.  I was associating her opening up a can of beer with her being in need of alcohol.  In hindsight, she was simply looking for a drink to calm her nerves of flying.  I know, because I heard the subsequent conversations before we were about to land!  In fact, the beer probably brought out the most authentic version of the estate agent, and her friendly and warm nature endeared her to her new client.

So the next time you’re about to meet a new client, or are due to deliver a pitch for a new account, remember this story, as well as the fact that your clients are looking to connect with you first and foremost as a human being that they would like to work with.


People do business with people.


Take the time to find out a little more about the person you’re trying to “pitch.”  Ask questions, find common ground and establish a connection first.   Make this the first 10-15 minutes of every presentation you make.

Once you’ve established that connection, then knock them out with your competence, by showing them how you can add value to their lives.

But most importantly, don’t ever hold back on making appointments with potential clients because you feel that you don’t know enough.  You overcome this by building trust first.


Good luck.


Grant Gavin is an award-winning entrepreneur, who coaches sales people to become better versions of themselves.  For more info visit his website, and make contact.

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