3 Ways to build rapport FAST!
If you’re a business owner or even an employee who finds that you can’t engage or retain clients or customers, then it might be time to check your rapport.
You know those people you meet, who you feel an instant sense of familiarity with, almost like you’ve known them for years? Well, that’s because you have rapport with them.
Likewise, there are people we come across who, haven’t done anything to us, and you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you just can’t gel with them? That’s because rapport is missing.
We all know about the crossed arms, the facial expressions and the stance, but did you know there are loads of other little body language and communication factors that subconsciously you’re scanning for, but consciously don’t even notice?
So, if you find that your customers aren’t buying from you, it may be easy to blame the economy, the approaching public holidays, parking meters, the full moon, Donald Trump or even the customers themselves but the real reason could simply be that your ability to build rapport needs attention.
I work with a lot of businesses who see other competitors raking in the dough (and the customers) but, instead of deciding to point the finger and assign blame, they step up and check their own contribution to their lack of success. Kudos to them!
So, what is rapport, and how do you get it?
Here’s three ways to get rapport fast!
1. Matching and Mirroring
This is all about copying a person’s body language, but NOT in a creepy, overt way.
Look out for a person’s head tilts, posture, breathing rate, voice tone and subtly mirror or match those. So, if you’re talking to a person who is bouncing their leg up and down, as many people do, consider tapping your finger on your arm in a subtle way that matches the rhythm of their movements. They may not consciously be aware that you’re doing it, but subconsciously you’ll make a connection and I wouldn’t be surprised if the leg jumping stops because they’re in rapport.
If a person talks loudly, softly, fast or slow, match it. Without realising, they’ll feel a lot more comfortable with you.
If they’re sitting upright with their arms crossed, you don’t need to mirror that back in an obvious way, you could simply sit up straight and cross your legs, this too will get the subconscious tick of rapport approval.
This is one of my favourite ways to fall in sync with someone.
By listening to the words they use, you can get a real glimpse into how they process information and, by matching that, you will find yourself in rapport quick smart.
Look out for these key things.
Visual – if a person processes information visually they’re going to say things like “Looks good”, “I see what you mean”, “can you see what I mean?” … notice the ‘look’ and ‘see’ references. Then mirror this back. If you ask them a question, say “How does that look to you?”, or “Can you see how that would work” etc.
If a person is an Auditory processor, they’re going to offer statements like “sounds good”, or “I hear what you’re saying” etc. You can respond with questions such as “how does that sound to you?”
If a person processes information kinesthetically, they’re going to drop statements like “I feel that you're …” or “feels good”. You can respond with “how do you feel about that?” or "would that be a good fit for you? In this last example, you don;t use the 'feel' reference, but 'fit' ticks the kinesthetic processor's language box.
If a person is an Auditory Digital processor, or in other words, they like to think about things before reaching a conclusion or decision, they’re going to say things like “that makes sense”, or “I think that’ll work”.
With this person you’ll throw in questions like “what do you think about that?” or statements such as “I’d like your thoughts on this”.
Once you get used to hearing these themes, you can incorporate them back into the conversation and you’ll see a noticeable change in rapport.
3. Common Ground
People love talking about themselves. Show an interest.
If someone shares some information with you, don’t immediately reply with your own experiences because it can appear dismissive. Ask them questions, then share your experiences.
Once you show an interest, people will naturally warm to you. If you have clients or customers, resist jumping straight into your sales pitch or asking if you can help them. Notice something positive about them and comment on it.
If you work in a book store and you have a customer browsing the aisle dedicated to pet care, ask them about their pet before you ask if you can help them. Once they start talking about their beloved dog, cat, horse, goldfish etc, they drop into a positive state which you can then share with them and extend. They'll subconsciously associate this positive state (or feeling) to you and your business.
If you see someone who has a cool shirt or a hair style you like, tell them and ask a question.
Statements are like brick walls to conversations where following these with a question gives your conversation momentum.
For example, if they’re wearing a shirt with a sporting team’s logo on it, and you know a little about that team, or past (positive) performance, you can refer to it anecdotally.
Once you show an interest in something that they are interested in, you’ll develop a subconscious level of trust and credibility.
Pacing and Leading
Once you feel that you’ve established rapport, you can then start pacing and leading the person. This reinforces the rapport without any kind of manipulation or control. It’s simply a great way to see how you’re doing.
Notice if the other person is returning the matching and mirroring or the language. If you start talking louder or faster, notice if they do too. If you lean forward and grab a glass of water or your coffee cup and they do too, then that’s a great sign the person feels comfortable with you.
If you lean back and cross your legs, and they follow suit or cross their arms then this is another nod to your rapport building skills.
Remember, don’t be creepy about it, make sure you keep it in the background. Don’t place so much attention on their body language or tone that you zone out of the conversation. Let it be a skill that develops over time, organically.
If you’re finding it hard to ‘gel’ with your clients, colleagues or others, let’s connect so I can give you some one on one support, and teach you how to start attracting the success you want instead of repelling it.
Founder - Reboot Mindset Coaching
Partnering with individuals and organisations wanting the absolute best out of themselves and their lives.