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The 4 Keys to Effortless RapportThe 4 Keys to Effortless Rapport

August 01, 20235 min read

"By setting an agreeable expectation at the beginning and frequently throughout your call, referring back to that agreement often, you can rest assured that both your prospect and you will be marching toward the same goal."

This is an excerpt from my sales course, but I thought someone here on LinkedIn might be able to benefit from it.

“There is no such thing as a second first impression.”

Definition of rapport : a friendly, harmonious relationship especially : a relationship characterized by agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy. (Merriem-Webster English Dictionary)

Knowing that empathy is one of your greatest allies, we can assume rapport is, too, one of your greatest allies.

So how then can you create this mysterious force and use it to help you move easily through a sales conversation?

First, it is important to know that rapport is not exclusive to the beginning of your conversation, but something you must maintain and compound as your relationship with the lead carries on.

Use the following framework to effortlessly connect with your prospect or lead EVERY single time.

1. Expectations - we know by the definition above that rapport is characterized by “agreement.” If this is true, we need to get on the same page with our lead and we need to do it FAST!

By setting an agreeable expectation at the beginning and frequently throughout your call, referring back to that agreement often, you can rest assured that both your prospect and you will be marching toward the same goal.

2. Empathy - It is true that your lead may have their own expectations based on their own experiences; let them know early that you are here to understand the context for their interest in this conversation.

If you remember from earlier in these modules, “Unsolicited advice is rarely taken.” Should you be willing to truly hear the situation your lead has found themselves in, you will have a better picture of what solution and more importantly why they may be in search of that solution.

Knowing this will put you in the right position to guide and facilitate a conversation from the leader or “doctor” stand point.

3. Sincerity - This one is on you...the best salespeople stand out, not because they are skilled, but because they genuinely care about the need of their lead.

Your sincerity can be heard, felt, and seen by your lead and while they may continue through the conversation with you, should there be resistance at any point in the conversation...and there will be resistance...your sincerity is the thing that will allow you to effortlessly assist your lead in overcoming their limiting beliefs.

4. Gentle - Keeping the three guides above in mind, you’ll want to progress slowly. If you jump right in and ask your lead something invasive like, “How much money did you make last year?” Likely you will break trust and have a really hard time recovering. This harmonious relationship must develop at an appropriate pace.

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Types of rapport!

Personal - Each lead is an individual and therefore will have their own interests. Without digging, it can be difficult to find a relatable interest or topic. If we were to examine Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, starting from the bottom, widest section we would find basic necessities like food, water, air, shelter, and etc… if we were to jump right into someone’s deepest needs without first earning their trust, well I’m sure you’ve all met someone who asks seemingly inappropriate questions.

This is why so often we see people discussing the weather, sports teams, or possibly a favorite vacation spot. These, despite what other experts may tell you, are perfectly allowable early in the conversation so long as they develop organically. Prying for even the most innocent of information can come off as disingenuous.

One guaranteed way to relate to your lead is to discuss their need first. There was some level of expectation when the conversation started, go back to the marketing and check what steps your leads went through prior to this conversation. You may have to explore a bit, but after a handful of conversations you should have an understanding and a great starting point.

As your conversation progresses you’ll find it important and easier to relate to their deeper needs. You’ll notice that the next level in the pyramid below shows personal security, employment, resources, health, and property. Followed by friendship, intimacy, family, sense of connection.

As we move through the sales process, you will find Deep Dive and Uncover. During those modules you will learn about the different levels of questions and how they progress us towards breakthroughs and eventually buying decisions.

Business - The above statements remain true for business owners, but the needs change to a bit more business focus. For this reason, you’ll find that rapport for B2B sales comes in two parts, business and personal, and careful attention must be paid to both. Again, start with the conversation they are likely having in their head. If they made it to a conversation with you, it is likely that your marketing or prospecting message resonated on some level. Whether this person or business needs more leads, fears a lawsuit, is trying to find a software like yours, or whatever the case may be, meet them at that understanding.

This is the best way that I have found, to date, to get into a conversation with a business. At the end of the day, though, you are not speaking to a robot. The crossover between business and personal rapport is real.

“Buying decisions are made on the golf course.”

The above quote is true, but depends greatly on the lead’s perceived authority within their company. If the individual fears the decision to do business with your company could result in them looking bad and possibly losing their job, where do you believe this fits into Maslow’s pyramid?

It could be Esteem and it could be Safety Needs...will this decision make them look like a rock star to their boss? Will it help them get a promotion? Does it create or reduce the security or their position within their company?

Keep these things in mind as you navigate your conversations and you'll find yourself much more likable.

Happy selling!

Yours truly,

Robert A. Posey

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