1. Seek out a common interest. People want others to be like them. Establishing that you and a client root for the same baseball team or volunteer at the same charity goes a long way in making you relevant in his or her eyes.

2. Don’t work from a script. Try to scrap the memorized pitch in favor of a more natural conversation. You seem more at ease and authentic — and your prospect is less tempted to think you’re fluffing up the facts.

3. Remember the life philosophy of Mary Kay Ash, the cosmetics mogul. Pretend every person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that reads, “Make me feel important.” Her genuine concern for others catapulted her out of poverty and was the secret to her success.

4.Remember the remarkable. Entrepreneur Susan Bates makes a point to identify and write down what stands out to her in every conversation. She then references those statements in future interactions — and has been amazed by the reactions she has received when others realize she paid attention to and valued what they said.

5.Cultivate curiosity. According to Lee Iacocca, former Chrysler CEO, “A leader has to show curiosity. He has to listen to people outside of the ‘Yes, sir’ crowd in his inner circle. Businesspeople need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions.”

Excerpted from The Connectors: How the World’s Most Successful Businesspeople Build Relationships and Win Clients for Life by author, entrepreneur and president of Red Zone Marketing, Maribeth Kuzmeski. Find out more about Kuzmeski and her marketing strategies at www.redzonemarketing.com.