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The 'Know You, Like You, Trust You' Rule - Bob Burg



Bob Burg

When I write and speak about business Networking, I refer to what I call the golden rule of networking, which is:

All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like and trust.

Nowadays, technology has leveled the playing field of price and quality. Other factors aside, it's the salesperson involved in the transaction that the consumer buys from or refers business to.

The "Know You, Like You, Trust You" rule also holds true in Network Marketing. If you encounter someone you've never met before who would make a great prospect for your business, you have mere seconds to bring these feelings out and about. Right off the bat, if you can, elicit those particular feelings for yourself from the other person-- you'll be more than halfway home.

If that person does not feel good about you, if they don't feel as though they know you, like you and trust you, almost anything that can stand in the way will stand in the way of getting the opportunity to share your products or business.

But how can you inspire people to know you, like you and trust you? In the rest of this article, you will learn a few techniques that will help establish these positive and productive feelings in a prospect quickly and effectively.


Building Rapport

People generally respond well to people who are like them, and if you master the skill of building rapport, you will find that your pool of prospects will increase dramatically-- everyone you cross paths with will be a realistic prospect for you! Having similarities with another person increases your chances of persuading her to go along with your ideas. Often, however, you are nothing like that other person. The two of you have less in common than a Hatfield and a McCoy.

In those cases, you need to really stretch: What might you have in common with that person? Are you both married? Do you both have kids? Do you both have kids about the same age? Are you weekend athletes? Sports fans? Do you have similar hobbies, pleasures, recreation? Find out through questions.

Geographical connections can be determined fairly easily, and that's a good start. Ask where she lives. Ask where she grew up. If you both live in Massachusetts and are originally from Boston, that's a great starting point. You can bring up areas she's also familiar with. If you live in Florida, and she lives in Louisiana, but you both grew up in Massachusetts, "Hey, I'm originally from Massachusetts myself!" That's something you can build on in establishing rapport with that person.

Let's say you live in Florida, she lives in California. You grew up in Massachusetts, and she grew up in New Jersey, "Hey, I'm from the East Coast, too."

This technique can pretty much be used until you get to the point of, "Hey, I'm from that planet, too." Geographic origins and location, as well as other similarities, can be used as excellent rapport builders by anyone.


Smiling Equals Success

Read any good book on people skills and there will be at least a mention of the power of a smile. It's the easiest technique for inspiring people to like you and trust you.

Believe it or not, for some people smiling
takes a bit of practice. Hey, for some it takes a lot of practice! We're not talking about a smile just to be positive, but to win without intimidation. Regarding the positive aspect, though, it's been said, "You don't smile because you're happy, you're happy because you smile."

That's true! It's a physiological fact. When you smile, there is a chemical response within the body that actually compels you to feel happy.

Do this: Smile really big, right now, and feel sad. . . .

Can't do it-- won't work. When you smile, you make yourself happy, improve your attitude, and also improve the other person's attitude and expectations of you.

John Mason, author of Let Go of Whatever Makes You Stop, says, "One of the single most powerful things you can do to influence others is to smile at them." Dale Carnegie devoted an entire segment of his great book, How To Win Friends & Influence People, to this single fact.

Very few people smile without a particular
reason. By smiling, you give yourself a distinct advantage over everyone who is not smiling. Get that sincere smile on your face and do it before you deal with anybody-- the service person, government worker, your boss, the waitperson, everyone. Get ready for that person to like you and smile back at you!

I employ this simple tactic all the time and every day with incredible results, and I know others who regularly do the same. Many more opportunities for Networking will come your way just for being the person smiling.

Practice your smile all the time-- and it must be genuine (we've all known the difference when we see a manipulative smile). Greet people cheerfully. Recently I crossed paths with a person, and as our eyes met, it was obvious he wasn't very happy. I flashed a big grin and said, "Good morning!" You should have seen his face brighten as he greeted me in return!

There were two rewards: One was the good feeling we both got from giving the greeting, and the other was the practice at internalizing greeting someone the right way. This will come in handy in the future, I guarantee it.


How You Ask is More Important Than What You Say

Sitting at the Denny's restaurant counter for breakfast, I noticed the waitress possessed one of the most unusual accents I'd ever heard. It was very nice, just different. When the waitress came back to our general area, I said, "Excuse me, that's a lovely accent you have. Where are you originally from?" With a big smile, she thanked me and mentioned that a lot of people seem to enjoy her accent.

You can imagine the special service, attention and smiles I received from the waitress for the remainder of the meal.

Here's a little game I learned from Zig Ziglar which demonstrates how the way you say something can drastically alter what you mean to say. In this exercise, I want you to accentuate the one word in the sentences below which appears in italics. Just put an extra emphasis on that one word as you read out loud. Each sentence is exactly the same, but watch what happens when you place emphasis on the different words:

I didn't say she stole the money.

I didn't say she stole the money.

I didn't say she stole the money.

I didn't say she stole the money.

I didn't say she stole the money.

I didn't say she stole the money.

Aren't the differences interesting? All because you merely accentuate a different word in the exact same sentence!

Often, it isn't what we say, but how we say it that makes an impression. Our pets know what we mean by the way, tone and manner with which we talk to them. So do our children. It's safe to say your prospects can sense the very same thing.


Treat Everyone with R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Treat every person-- in every job, position or station in life-- the same way, and with the same respect as you would, say, a millionaire CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Not only is it the right thing to do, but you never know who could be a prospect for your business or who could provide you with endless referrals.

It happens by way of habit-- when the action is so ingrained you do it without thinking. Do you show respect to the man or woman at the toll-gate? How about the waitperson? The person at the cash register? The custodian? Make a habit of treating people respectfully all the time.


Be Consistent in Your Actions

Consistency in our actions is one of the best techniques for establishing trust-- it should become an important part of our lives. We all know people who run hot and cold. They are this way one day and that way the next.

Maybe I'm simply describing their personality. One minute he is the nicest person in the world, the next, a virtual monster. She says one thing one minute, and the next moment seems to have totally changed her mind. These types are-- at best-- annoying, and-- at worst-- nearly impossible to relate to and work for or with. You never know where you stand with these people.

On the other hand, what about the rocks? Those consistently consistent people who have been, are, and will always be exactly the same. Seems they never change. There is a comfort with those people, isn't there?

Negotiating authority Roger Dawson suggests that's exactly what made Ronald Reagan so popular and successful as a politician. He was consistent. You could count on him. People knew where he would stand on any issue that came up. Regardless of whether they agreed with his view or not, people felt secure in their knowledge of him as a leader. What he stood for yesterday was what he stood for today and what he would stand for tomorrow.

I was watching a news report showing speeches that he made when he was running for governor of California some 20 years earlier. His words were nearly exactly the same then as they were during his campaign for presidency. People laughed at that, as though he were "found out."

But that's exactly what made him so successful! People of any political belief always knew where Ronald Reagan stood. It's the same as the young child who can have only one piece of chocolate for dessert or can watch only 30 minutes of television per evening. He might not agree with your decision, but he feels very secure in the fact that he knows his limits with you. He's secure with your sense of consistency in decision making-- and prospects will look for the same thing in you when considering getting involved in your business.


Be The Host, Not The Guest

In Endless Referrals, I hit upon the technique of positioning yourself as one of the "big people on campus," or "playing the host, not the guest."

When you're in a situation where you can introduce people to each other, by all means do so. A person may attend an event and be too bashful to go right up and introduce herself to people she doesn't know. Go out of your way to introduce people to each other. Tell each person what the other does for a living and highlight a couple of his interests.

Once, after receiving a referral from someone I had met only once, I asked why he thought of me. He replied that he had attended a meeting of an association to which I belong. It was his first time there, and while everyone else practically ignored him, I made him feel like part of the crowd, introducing him around and making sure he was always involved in the conversation.

Little things like that get noticed and definitely help establish you as someone to know, who people can like and trust.



To edify, according to one of the meanings in Webster's, is to build. When you edify a person, you literally build them up in the minds of other people and, perhaps most importantly, in their own mind, too.

Edify a person, to others and to themselves, even for the things you wish they would do. They'll soon begin to "believe their own press," and start adopting the traits and behaviors for which they are being edified.

"Mary, I love how you always handle people with such perfect tact."

"Dave, one thing about you-- you may be direct, but you are always fair."

"My spouse is the most supportive partner in the world."

Edifying someone to a third party plays on the old saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." You can always say something nice about someone, and you can always find a reason to do so.

Even the most miserable people out there have something about them that we can discover and edify to someone else. This accomplishes two things: Number one, it will probably get back to that person you are edifying, which can only have positive results. Number two, you'll establish yourself in the mind of the person you're speaking to as someone who only has nice things to say about other people.

People enjoy people like that-- much more than those who speak negatively of others. Even if they are the kind who speaks negatively about people, they'll respect you for your edification of others. By making a habit of edifying others, you'll be a more effective prospector, and the example you'll be setting for your organization will make it all the stronger. You'll be a person others can easily know, like and trust.

We can't change the "Know You, Like You, Trust You" rule, so why not use it to our advantage! By practicing these principles, Networking-- and the rewards for your business if you're an effective Networker-- will come naturally to you.

BOB BURG is the author of Winning Without Intimidation: How To Master The Art of Positive Persuasion, from which this article has been adapted. He is also the author of Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts Into Sales. Bob is a popular speaker at major sales, corporate and Network Marketing company events, and has shared the platform with Zig Ziglar, Tom Hopkins, Les Brown, Dr. Denis Waitley, and others. He is a member of the National Speakers Association and the founder of Burg Communications in Jupiter, FL.

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, Burg Feature - October 1998, 888-UPLINE-1,