One of the underpinning facts of sales is that people like to do business with people they like. This makes it extremely important for a sales person to develop rapport with the prospect or the customer, from the very first meeting. Rapport is a way of harmonizing energies and natural rhythms that creates a sense of acknowledgement. Once these energies are harmonized, the feeling of ‘liking’ arises. This happens because when people are like each other, they like each other!
Rapport is established by matching and mirroring
The major elements of rapport are words, physiology and tonality
Listen to your customer. The words they use and sentence construction will give a good indication of their preferred language. Tailor your conversation, response and even proposal to give your customer the feeling that you are like them, and thus you will be liked by them.
Some of us use visual words such as: see, looks; picture this, and other colorful and illustrative words. A visual may say “Can you see what I mean?” Those who prefer auditory words, such as: listen or hear, sounds like, would rephrase the sentence as: “Can you hear what I’m saying?” Finally, the use of kinesthetic phrasing, which focuses on how we feel about something, would result in something more like: “Do you get a feel for this?”
Once you identify your customer’s preferred style, respond to them using their preferred language of words. It is unconsciously flattering to the receiver and they will also have a better understanding of the content. The benefit to any sales process is that rapport is built much faster a solid foundation for any sale.
The same goes with the physiology and tonality. On the physiology part, notice the gesture, posture, breathing and facial expression of the client. The worst you can do for yourself as a sales person is to recline on the chair that you are sitting on when the customer is sitting erect and is leaning forward towards you suggesting that he is paying attention to you.
On the tonality part, listen out for the customer’s pitch, speed, timbre and volume. It does not help much when the customer is a slow pacer while you are trying to fit in as many words you can in a minute. Match the speed, slow down if you have to and you are on the same page.
Understanding the importance of harmonizing such energies and rhythms can go a long way in cementing strong bonds with the customer guaranteeing achievement of results. Thus rapport building enhances the effectiveness of communication.