"With rapport everything is possible, without it nothing is possible”
Rapport has been put on the pedestal of social skills. They’d be right as no one can debate the fact that people want to work with people they know like and trust. This all begins with rapport and making a genuine connection with a prospect or customer.
I've come to realise rapport is not just a skill but is also philosophy and approach that can be measured. Every interaction you have with your customers should be intentional.
There are two philosophies that shape my conversations with any customer or prospect I speak with.
The first is in every conversation I endeavour to leave that person better off than before they met me.
The second is whenever I’m in front of a customer I recognise that I’m in the greatest competitive position to deepen my relationship. I can influence, build trust and create sales success because my competitors want this privilege.
Both are focused on the other person and have a very specific goal that I can observe. Importantly it helps keep me focused on what matters most.
I want to share five proven ways to deepen rapport and connection I personally use today. Using these approaches will enable you to immediately increase your relationship success whether on the phone or in person.
Number one - Observe and do things only a friend would pay attention to
My former colleague Matt was a master at this. What people do, spend money on and talk about says something about what they value and do. If you can be someone who pays close attention to these things you’re on the road to becoming a powerful connector.
Matt had a client who was going on a trip she’d be looking forward to months. It was in his home town New York. He decided not only to map out an entire itinerary but gave them personal restaurant recommendations and advice. End result the client had a great time and more business was booked. Taking notice of the small things that your clients are excited about will separate you as someone they may be able to call friend.
Number two – Be present
When you hear the phrase ‘be present’ what does that mean to you? Being honest I didn’t really hear this word in sales until four years into my sales career. Since learning and practising the implications of it over the last six years I’ve come to greatly appreciate its impact.
To be present for your customer’s means to be completely focused on the other person without pre thinking, thinking ahead or making assumptions to what is being said.
Doing this isn’t always easy because we arrive at work and different stages of life with our own concerns, objectives and ideas. Practising being present enables you to listen at a deeper level so you not only hear what is being said but what emotions are being shared, you’ll hear more clearly the opportunities to help and you’ll be perceived as someone who genuinely cares about the other person.
The key thing to connection and rapport here is to think mind-set “powerful presence comes from being powerfully present” the more focused on the other person you are the deeper the rapport you’ll build.
Number three - Be adaptive
We’re all different with different personalities and behaviours. How we write emails, speak over the phone and respond to people in face to face situations are all expressions of who we are and how we respond to the world. Fortunately despite all this difference there are ways for us to make sense of the differences we have. There are a number of behavioural assessment tools built from the work of a psychologist named Carl Jung in the early 1900s that can give you great insight into your own personal behavioural style and others. If you haven’t tried one I’d strongly suggest you do as it will enrich your ability to understand yourself and others.
What does this all have to do with connection? The better you understand yourself, and the potential impact your behaviour may have on someone different to you, the more easily you can adapt to meet the needs of your clients. The science will tell you, mimic body language, breath the same way as them and they can be powerful tools. At its core all you need to do to make that connection is to slow down, ask questions, and show interest (Stephen covey 101). Take note of the words they use and use them in your conversation. All these things add up to strong connections that can build significant rapport.
Number four - Give credit where it’s due
We can often miss this simple word in business. “Thank You”. When you ask a client for something and they’ve come through take that moment to share that subtle but relationship changing phrase. In fact I’d say you could go even further. If you notice something your client or the business has done that is not about you offer sincere congratulations.
Self-less actions are some of the most powerful demonstrations of connection. Something as simple as asking them how the project went and appropriately commenting on this. Not to be too preachy with this but we see this in many examples throughout history where the self-less acts of others bring about greater commitment and trust from others around them. This causes action. It shows you care about what’s happening with them and their business without it being about you. When your clients see you care about them they’ll start to care more about those things you want to discuss.
Number five - Be positive
This may sound artificial and for some a no brainer! This isn’t about what some would consider excitement, energy or never being critical. This is a series of traits or characteristics you can learn and do to come across as someone who is more approachable and likeable. When I use the word positive it encapsulates smiling, being constructive, tone of voice, confidence, problem solving and much more. If you can cultivate a mind-set that is positive you’ll approach every person and situation with a view that things will go right.
With this your choice of language and the way you treat others will be different. I’ll always remember a technique taught to me called ‘Hello old friend’. The idea is to see each person you meet as meeting an old friend you haven’t seen in a very long time. The result of this is even in the most challenging of circumstances can change your thoughts and inner chemistry to positively look at situations and find solutions. Being positive benefits you and everyone around you.
- What are your thoughts of the list?
- What else would you add to building rapport with others?
Leave a comment below and connect intentionally this week
Jermaine – Your customer growth guide