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While this may sound cold, relationships are made or broken by manipulating someone’s perception of you. The moment your mark enters the room you should be making judgements about them based on their appearance. Harsh, right? What they’re wearing and their age should be the biggest contributors in how you speak to them. Mirroring and matching is great technique for building trust. The trick is to tell them the way they want to hear, not what they want to hear. This can be done through body language, voice manipulation, self promotion and owning space. Here are some tips on how to treat business like a con.

1. Body Language- Your confidence can be detected the moment you walk into a room. Here are some things to pay attention to:

Posture: Slouching is simply unacceptable among associates. You can check your posture by moving your shoulders first- up, then back, then let them drop. You will instantly look more confident.
Wandering: When you walk into a room, pick a spot. Cross to that spot however you need to and then hold it. Don’t move unless necessary. If you must, do it the same way you did before- by picking one, new spot.
Eye Contact: A great tip is to look into someone’s eyes and come up with one adjective to go with the color. Throughout the conversation, check to see if you remember it. If you don’t, it’s time to look again. If that messes with your focus, try making eye contact every 6-7 seconds for several seconds- especially if you’re saying someone’s name.
How to Sit: Leaning forward indicates interest, back indicates disinterest, as most people know. If you want someone to trust you, be aware of the ‘barriers’ between you. Crossed arms or legs could be signaling guardedness.
2. Your Voice: Even if you look like the most confident person in the world, your voice could be giving you away. Be wary of your voice going up in pitch or speed, both of which signify anxiety. There’s a reason men, women and children love the voice of Barry White and, hell, he could sell me anything he wanted. Deep, steady annunciation is key.
3. Self Promotion: Even if you don’t believe in yourself, you better pretend like hell. The more you talk about success the more success will follow. Making excuses hurts your perception of yourself more than others’. Make sure people know your name. This could involve going to the favorite hangouts of heavy-hitters or handing out business cards like candy- but don’t look desperate. Try to find your own personal balance between making people think you don’t need them and making people feel wanted.
4. Own Your Space: Volume is a great tool of manipulation. Lowering your volume causes people to come to you, pulling them in. Also, whether in sales or business, law or medicine, be the shepherd. You should be the one leading the movements and the conversations without stepping on any toes. A good shepherd doesn’t care what his flock do in the fields, but he’s the one that takes them to and from home.