Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Rapport as, “having a friendly relationship.”
As an influencer this is a good place to start!
Is it a necessary place? No
But, it is a much easier place to begin with a prospect.
Because people prefer to do business with people they like and to maximize our likelihood of achieving a positive result we want to make things as easy for ourselves as possible. Let’s face it, our job is hard enough without doing anything to make it unnecessarily more so.
Now that we’ve established the -why?- let’s move on to the how…
Three Steps To Lightning-Fast Rapport!
1. Mirror Your Prospect Physically
When we match our prospect’s body language, posture, and gestures we help them to relax. By matching their physical stance and responses we signal them, at a nonverbal level, that we are the same.
In the “us” and “them” dichotomy “same” equals “us,” and we trust “us!”
PROTIP: If they have “closed” body language (crossed arms, compressed posture, etc.) then start off by mirroring them, but slowly (SLOWLY!) open your body language as you interact with them. Often, they will unconsciously follow your lead and that opening of their body language will positively impact their mood and make them more mentally “open” to you!
2. Speak THEIR Language
The more we speak like our prospect matching their:
- Rate of speech
- Level of formality
- Word usage (technical or non-technical, business or casual, etc.)
- Jargon (I have written about this topic at length before: Here!)
The more we key them that we are an “us” and not a “them,” and we trust “us!”
3. Keep The Focus On THEM
This is an obvious one but, surprisingly, a neglected one. It is very common, in our excitement to share our story, product, or service with a prospect to dominate the conversation without even noticing.
Guess how much prospects like that?
We’ve ALL been their. An excited salesperson talks AT us about their company, product, service, awards, expertise, etc.
How did that make you feel?
Don’t be that guy/girl!
- Filter your message through a “what’s in it for them” lens. The more you keep your dialogue laser-focused on their wants/needs the more they have an interest in what you have to say. The quickest path to disengagement is to talk about what YOU want/need from them.
- Remember, this is a new relationship. They don’t care about you yet so stay focused on that they DO care about: Themselves.
- Ask questions about them, their team, their company, their goals, their desired outcome. In short, ask questions about THEM! The best salespeople ask a ton of questions. In part because they know that they need to learn as much as possible about their prospect, but also because they want to keep their prospect ENGAGED in the conversation.
- Don’t MONOLOGUE! If you catch yourself stringing together 5 statements without asking a question you are MONOLOGUING. You are talking AT them, not with them (everyone hates this!).
- It’s ok to pay a compliment, but don’t flatter. Remember that a compliment created tension. Many people are unaccustomed to getting overt compliments and if you deliver too many of them they will become increasingly uncomfortable. Keep any compliments appropriate, deserved, and sincere.
PROTIP: Make sure you are LISTENING to understand not just listening to prepare your response! 😉
For this week’s challenge I want you to examine your interactions with people who you either have not met before or meet infrequently. See if they naturally mirror you. Experiment with mirroring them. Observe their reactions and “tweak” your technique. Like any other skill, this takes practice!
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