The thing that really separates a fantastic salesperson from an average salesperson is building rapport — their ability to persuade, inspire, and motivate a prospect to take action. Often when prospects come to us for help, they know what they want to accomplish. Unfortunately, fear sometimes sets in along the way, and they need us to help move them through this fear in order to achieve their goal.
In our highly-competitive markets, sellers and buyers are conducting multiple interviews and talking to many different agents. Sometimes, they’re not even sure of what they’re looking for, and confusion sets in during the process. This means that now more than ever, you need to find ways to differentiate yourself in the minds of your prospects so that they clearly see the value in choosing you.
Building Rapport with the Mirror and Match Method
There are some great methods you can use to build rapport with your prospects. Let’s start with “mirror and match.” Mirror and match is one of the most basic methods for beginning to establish rapport. If you haven’t quite mastered your understanding of the DISC, then this should be your go-to.
Mirror and match their rate of speech, their tonality, and their body language. If they talk fast, you talk fast because fast talkers think slow talkers aren’t as intelligent, and slow talkers get anxious when dealing with a fast talker.
Consider their tonality — are they loud or soft-spoken?
Consider their speech pattern. For example, if they speak broken English, you should match their speech pattern while using less slang. You should also give them more time to process and communicate.
When mirroring and matching body language, remember it’s a mirror (not a mimic). Wait for 5–15 seconds before assuming a physical position that mirrors their own. That way, you will not be doing exactly what they are doing (just close to it).
Building Rapport by Making it All About Them
Make it all about them! Easier said than done because we all love to talk about ourselves. In fact, in Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” it’s stated that “95% of what we all think about all day long is ourselves.”
There is also a hilarious YouTube video called “The Me Monster” where the comedian does a whole sketch on the human tendency to make everything about ourselves. Let’s be honest, even our friends and family who love us would rather talk about themselves versus listening to us talk about ourselves. Prospects and clients certainly have very little real interest in us, so remember to keep it all about them.
Here’s a quick and funny story. The other day, one of our great clients said, “You know Debbie, with all of these great skills that you have provided, I have improved my closing ratio dramatically. But there is just one problem now — I clearly see just how annoying I can sometimes be!” If you don’t think you are ever annoying to others or have any bad communication habits, just ask the people closest to you — I’m sure they can’t point out a few!
Building Rapport by Asking Questions
Salespeople typically do not ask enough questions! And yet, questions can help you determine one’s level of motivation, help you identify needs and hot button issues, and help others realize what you want them to discover. If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t fully developed your skill of constructing and asking the right kinds of questions that will allow you to dig in deep and find out all you need to know in order to help someone discover their own answers.
It’s said that the average 3–4 year old asks anywhere from 300–400 questions a week, yet the average college student asks only one. Why does this happen? I don’t know exactly — maybe our mothers told us to stop asking so many questions when we were young and broke us of the habit? Or maybe we become more self-focused as we get older? Whatever the reason, asking questions is something we need to work hard to recommit to.
Being a more question-based presenter and communicator is not always an easy skill to master, but we need to keep regularly working on it. To more effectively prepare for any meeting, important call, or presentation, start by writing down 3–5 key questions you can ask. It’s perfectly fine to carry those questions into the meeting with you — remember, clients love it when you care enough to prepare. Also, as you’re coming up with the questions, strategically stack them to help gently lead the client where you need to lead them in order to help them self-realize and self-discover.
Building Rapport by Acknowledging and Approving
Don’t we all just love approval? And on any given day, we don’t get much of it…do we? As you work with your clients and prospects, give them the acknowledgment and approval they long for and watch them bloom. They will open up and pour their hearts out when you ask great questions and then acknowledge and approve of their answers. Questions combined with acknowledgment and approval are magical for getting into their hearts and into their heads.
If they love you, they will tell a friend. And if they don’t, they will tell all of their friends on social media. That’s exactly why you want to take good care of them. I hope you will take more time to prepare for each appointment and customize your approach and materials to fit each client.