Grow Fed Biz

Open Your Calls with This Simple Method to Quickly Build Trust

virtual meeting business man meeting new federal buyer

This blog is a collaboration with guest contributors at the Hi-Q Group.

Have you ever felt anxious meeting a new Federal buyer or contractor?

Whether it’s a video call or a simply a coffee break, meeting anyone for the first time and stepping outside of your comfort zone can be exciting.

But sometimes, that excitement can shift into a feeling as uneasiness as you wait for them to join—even if you’re a seasoned professional. You might feel your heartbeat race and begin to wonder what you’re going to say to open the call. Maybe you pass the time by mentally rehearsing your greeting, or quickly scan their LinkedIn profile again for anything you could use to build a connection.

Two simple statements at the beginning of your call can quickly put everyone at ease.

And it only takes seconds to do this right.

Although success in GovCon comes down to relationships, the good news is developing trust and connecting with Federal buyers is easier than you might think.

For many, it can seem like an elusive club reserved only for a select group of people with social talents or special connections. But nothing could be further from the truth.

The reality is you don’t need to be smooth or an extrovert to win the hearts and minds of buyers or decision-makers. In fact, those outdated, pushy roles glamorized in movies have long outrun their course, as people crave genuine connection—just like you do.

But if you want to consistently connect and build trust, you need a repeatable method.

The Problem

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

People get interested in engaging with us when they know we’ve taken the time in advance to find out what’s important to them. Our Players and Layers Methodology® makes that easy. We are more effective, from the very first conversation, when we’ve researched the role of the person we’re calling. That way, we’ve got insightful, thoughtful, questions lined up to make the conversation valuable for them as well as for us.

Explore the Players and Layers Methodology®

But so many of us struggle to get the conversation started in the first place. It can be so much easier!

Once you have your PALM strategy in place and identified the relationships critical for your success, here’s the easy way to launch winning relationships.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “You’ll never get a second chance to make a great first impression.” and numerous studies assert people will form an opinion within the first 7-15 seconds of meeting you. (No pressure, really!)

If you know the opening of the call is critical, why would you choose to wing it?

Hi-Q Group has analyzed thousands of calls in their roleplay coaching sessions and find the opening is one of the biggest blind spots for junior and senior professionals alike.

Whether rushing through superficial connection questions or jumping into a “telling and selling” self-focused approach, the buildup of energy leading up to the call often throws people into a mindless frenzy that repels Federal buyers—regardless of their good intentions.

Lack of trust in a relationship is often the reason you’ll encounter early rejection, but it’s very rare for a Federal buyer to express this openly. You won’t hear them say, “The solution looks interesting, but I don’t trust you as all you’ve done since you arrived is talk about how great you are,” but you will hear the deafening sound of their avoidance.

The Solution

A very simple way to create a great first impression and build trust is to plan a purpose and permission statement you can use at the beginning of every call.

It sounds something like this:

“Michael, my purpose today is to better understand your needs in connection with __________. I don’t want to assume that you’re having any problems, but if you are let’s take some time to explore those. Is that okay?”

“Great, thank you. I’ve prepared several questions for this meeting to better understand your situation. Are you okay with me asking them?”

Let’s break down why this works to immediately build trust and put them at ease.

First, it’s focused on them.
When we’re communicating the goal for the call, we’re telling the Federal buyer what we’ll focus on. We’re sharing we’ll discuss their needs and only then decide if it makes sense to keep talking.

Next, we don’t assume they have any problems.
We’re there to discover if they have problems and until we find a problem, they don’t require a solution. Until you know what they are trying to solve, you have no idea if your solution can help. Forcing solution discussions at the beginning of a call will cause Federal buyers to think you don’t have their best interests at heart.

Finally, it ends with a question.
This stops the dead air situation where neither one knows who should talk next and is an easy way to gently move the conversation to your discovery questions you’ve prepared for the call.

Asking for permission is simply the polite thing to do, and manners are in short supply these days because people are more busy and self-focused than ever.

Small shift = big results. Try it today.
Write out your purpose and permission statement now and practice it a few times until it comes to you naturally. Then, have your guide by you before the call—in case you forget.

Try this in your next call and see how it shifts the tone of the conversation in seconds! Before you know it, this will come to you naturally and you’ll start off every call with clarity and pose.

View It In Action

See How to Put Federal Buyers at Ease

Your purpose and permission statements are a surprisingly easy way to create a great first impression, develop trust, and set up the call for success.

Why This Works

Purpose and permission statements are simple, but powerful.

It works because you’re quickly communicating the call is about them, not you. It sets the tone and changes the customer’s perception and willingness to share information with you.

It also communicates this will be different than other contractor calls.

Key Takeaway

Preparing for your meetings is the #1 key to alleviating anxiety and ensuring you have a productive call. If you simply schedule 10-15 minutes to plan for an upcoming meeting, it will make a significant difference for both you and the Federal buyer.

Using a repeatable engagement method like the example above and showing up as the authentic you will show buyers and stakeholders you have their best interests at heart.

That is what builds trust. No flashy suits or catchphrases needed!

Prepare for your meetings with your opening statements and thoughtful questions, express genuine curiosity, demonstrate empathy by listening more than you talk, and guide the customer to the best solution (not necessarily your solution).

Do this and you’ll stand out from most of your competitors who appear to be only concerned about making a sale.

You’re there to build a Winning Relationship.

Related Articles

It Starts With Creating Trust

About Hi-Q Group

Our friends at Hi-Q Group provided this guest blog for you! Hi-Q Group offers on-demand Federal business development training programs focused on creating Winning Relationships. Their methods leverage behavioral psychology and social intelligence best practices to connect with buyers and stakeholders to find competitive customer intel and build meaningful relationships needed to win.

If you’ve ever struggled to connect with Federal buyers, felt uncomfortable in your new role, or simply need a repeatable engagement method that delivers consistent results, check out their course, BD Essentials.

Learn more about BD Essentials

Scroll to Top