Have you ever heard a song on the radio, and it instantly takes you back to a moment in time?

Or, perhaps you use “Post-its” to keep you on track with your to-do list.

What about catching a whiff of a “signature fragrance”? The Shangri-la hotel has a distinct and delightful perfume that is featured at all of their hotels around the world. (Did you know that smell is the strongest trigger of them all?)

Whether the trigger is done through sight, sound, smell, taste or touch – they are very powerful driving forces that are embedded in our subconscious.

In marketing and in sales, our goal is to lead someone through the sales funnel; from awareness to interest to desire to action. Generating awareness is often one of the trickiest areas because your brand has to be at the right place, at the right time and have been repeated frequently enough for your message to resonate and generate brand equity.

So, how can you effectively use triggers to become the de facto “go-to” person when your prospects and clients?

The answer is quite simple: BUILD TRUST.

Think about it for a moment. Whenever YOU have a problem, the first thing you probably do is reach out to the person you think will be most qualified to provide you with the answer. Or, they are the person you think will have the right person to connect you with if they don’t immediately know the answer, right?

Trust is built incrementally; it’s often successful when you come from a mindset of “giving first” and being “of service”.

9 ways you can leverage LinkedIn to build trust:

  1. Feature a smiling, confident, professional photo of yourself. I can’t stress enough about how important this is. Your first impression speaks VOLUMES.
  2. Send a personalized connection request EVERY time you reach out to someone new. Let them know why you want to connect, or refresh their memory as to how you met them.
  3. Ask your new connection about their goals, target audience and/or objectives and see if you can help them to connect with the right person in your network.
  4. Look at their profile to see if there are any commonalities or “icebreakers” that you can leverage to breed familiarity. (Did they attend the same school? Do you have a connection in common? Do you know someone they may have worked with? Do you share any hobbies?)
  5. Send your prospect or client a relevant article you think they might be interested in reading. (Never do this by email blast. Sending personalized messages are much more meaningful!)
  6. Ensure you have testimonials on your LinkedIn profile. Nothing builds trust like a recommendation from someone who is staking their professional reputation on you!
  7. Click “LIKE”, comment on, or share some of their LinkedIn posts. By promoting THEIR agenda, you’re letting them know you care.
  8. Watch for changes in their role. Congratulate them when they have been promoted or have moved to a new job.
  9. Publish relevant status updates or blog posts. (Note the word RELEVANT. It has to be relevant so that it will resonate.) You really only need to update your status 2x- 3x per week to stay top-of-mind.

Remember: building trust takes time; it doesn’t happen overnight. Each and every touchpoint must be consistent and (gently) persistent.

I absolutely LOVE this quote from speaker and author of “Book Yourself Solid”, Michael Port:

…we only receive what is in direct proportion to the amount of trust we have gained.”

You have to build trust BEFORE people will buy from you, and the amount people will invest with you, your products or your services is directly proportionate to the amount they trust you.

Let your clients and prospects know that you genuinely care about their business – and you’ll naturally be the resource they turn to as the industry thought leader who is top-of-mind.

Now it’s YOUR turn: What triggers or examples have you used (or seen used) that has helped you build trust and convert clients? I’d love to hear about it!


Leslie Hughes is a LinkedIn Optimization Specialist, Professor of Social Media, Corporate Trainer, Principal of PUNCH!media and author of the book “CREATE. CONNECT. CONVERT.”

Leslie was called a “Social Media Guru” by CBC Radio and was featured on CTV’s “The Social” discussing how to manage your digital identity. Leslie has been working in digital marketing since 1997 and founded PUNCH!media in 2009.

PUNCH!media clients include Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, Investment Planning Counsel, and RBC.

Whether it’s through LinkedIn training or profile optimization, PUNCH!media’s goal is to empower executives with a powerful online presence so they can brand their business properly and convert higher-paying clients.


Get your free LinkedIn Time Management tip sheet at www.punchmedia.ca