People do business with people they like. As a sales professional, this makes it crucial to be able to build rapport with prospects. If you don’t connect with someone at the first meeting, you run the risk of losing the prospect to someone they find more relatable.

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to establish meaningful connections right from the start. Igor Smirnov, founder of KeytoVictory, says there are four ways to instantly connect with people. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Smirnov’s tips.

1. Show your best face. Animals use body language to show they are friendly. For example, when your cat purrs in your presence, it’s showing affection. People also have ways to show their intentions. Smirnov says that when you meet a new person, always remember to show your best face by smiling. This is the perfect way to communicate your friendly intentions.

2. Remember the person’s name. Dale Carnegie says that your name is the most beautiful sound that you can ever hear. Yet most people have a difficult time remembering the name of a person they’ve just met. Smirnov says that, as with most things in learning, repetition is the key and brings confidence. If you repeat the person’s name enough times, it will go deeply into your mind. When someone is introduced to you, Smirnov suggests using their name right away. The new person will feel honored that you remembered their name and you will commit their name to memory.

3. Practice the art of listening. Have you ever felt the urgent need to speak and share your experiences when someone else is talking? Sometimes people just wait for their turn to speak their minds and, instead of listening, they are just rehearsing in their mind what they are going to say. Because of that, we don’t listen to what the other person is talking about and the result is two people having two parallel conversations. Smirnov reminds professionals to be attentive and ask questions. Instead of waiting for your turn, really listen and ask questions to clarify what the other person is saying.

4. Pay a compliment. People love receiving compliments but giving one is no easy task. You need to use the right tone, be honest and say something that really highlights the other person’s strengths, says Smirnov. Most people say trivial and superficial things like complimenting a nice haircut or someone’s eye color. Instead, compliment one of the person’s strengths—and say it sincerely.

Sales professionals are always meeting new people. To make a good first impression and connect with others immediately, consider how you can apply the advice above.

Source: Igor Smirnov is a chess grandmaster and founder of KeytoVictory, a self-improvement blog.