This week we are talking about the third step in communicating more persuasively. At this point you’ve made a good enough first impression and gotten whomever you’re talking to interested in what you have to say. You’ve also qualified them as someone who will be a fit for your product/idea.
Now, you need to build rapport with this person. Which, in essence, is building trust. The amount of rapport or trust built will directly affect the speed of the remaining steps and if you will be able to go back to this person again.
My dad, who is insurance, has a client that he didn’t sell anything to for almost 4 years. The first time he approached this client, he discovered that he wasn’t going to be able to sell anything. He did, however, discover that the client hated insurance and dealing with the necessary evil of getting it bid on each year.
So, my dad offered to be his consultant and handle all the information and bids for him. The client loved the idea, hired him, and used him in that role for 3 years. During that 3 years, he built rapport and trust by getting to know the client, his business, and even his family.
I’m not saying it will take you 3-4 years to get a “yes” to what you’re pitching, but don’t short this part of the process. So, let’s look at 3 ways you can effectively build rapport.
1. Be Relatable (Kenneth Burke)
Communication scholar, Kenneth Burke, advocated that persuasion occurs primarily through identification. Meaning, if the person you’re talking to can find similarities with you, then you have increased the odds that they will be persuaded by what you’re saying. You can quickly point similarities by looking at a person’s office or desk and spotting photos of interests, family, or achievements.
2. Be Authentic
Nobody likes a fake! Especially now when we can know what almost anyone is doing by checking Facebook or Twitter. However, there is no substitute for a good “BS” reader. Most people have a good sense when someone isn’t being genuine or only cares about what they can get. Be different! Give a hoot about the person to whom you’re pitching!
3. Be Consistent
One thing I’ve learned over the past year is that consistency accounts for success more that talent or skill. Consistency in words and behavior will breed authenticity. This also means that you’re never truly done building rapport. In fact, this should be done all throughout the process. When people know to expect from you, they are more likely to trust you.
Think of a time when building (or not building) rapport was the key to getting a “yes”. Which of the 3 keys did you do well or could you have done more of? You can leave a comment below.
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