The Grooming Process
Before an assault happens, most predators "Groom" their victims.
"Grooming" is the way predators gain a victim's confidence and trust in order to assume a position of power. "Grooming" is very effective with young people and most victims do not disclose abusive situations. Some predators will simultaneously groom family members and parents to reinforce their position as a trusted member of a child's inner circle.
Grooming involves flattery, sometimes sympathy; other times offers of gifts, money or modeling jobs are used.
The grooming process can evolve over extended periods of time. That's why it's called "grooming". Experts say the short-term goal of these manipulators is for the victim to feel loved or just confortable enough to want to meet them in person, and these people know that sometimes takes time. "That's ok!", they'd say, because groomers tend to have a lot of patience, and they also tend to "work" on a number of targets at once, telling all of them they are "the only one for me." Imagine how well that can work with kids seeking sympathy, support, or validation online.
That's about as general as we can get, because grooming is carefully individualized. Groomers design what they say as they go along, tailoring their flattery or offers as they learn about the victim. These manipulators are self-taught experts in 1) getting kids to reveal their needs and desires; and 2) tailoring messages to those interests.