Wouldn’t it be nice to get strangers to instantly like you? It is possible to do just that. This is what is known as rapport.
Rapport is defined as connection, especially harmonious or sympathetic relation. A good relationship.
As network marketers we do not always get a lot of time to get to know someone when we first meet. In fact, that first meeting may be the only time that you will ever see them. We need a way to build rapport quickly.
Why do we need to build rapport? What are the benefits to building rapport quickly?
The basic goal of marketing are to get someone to know you, like you and trust you. Once you have achieved that goal, the person is more likely to do business with you. The goal of building rapport is just the same. To allow someone to get to know you, like you and trust you.
The big difference is that when marketing to someone, you can have a lot of time to build rapport and cultivate the relationship. When you meet someone you probably have a very few minutes in which to build rapport with them.
Is this even possible?
Of course it is.
We’ve all had the experience of meeting someone for the first time and you start a conversation and you become fast friends. You just hit it off right away. You may walk away from them thinking, “Wow, I was really lucky to have run into them.”
At first, this may seem like luck and in a lot of ways it is. But there can be a formula to this. You can actually develop a way to make “fast friends” or building rapport with nearly anyone.
Some of the benefits of having rapport with someone are that you can influence them easier. I’m not talking about manipulating them. I’m talking about offering them suggestions or advice that could help them.
Here’s an example of that.
You might not feel comfortable walking up to a complete stranger and telling them that the plaid pants they are wearing don’t go with their striped shirt. If you have rapport with that person you could offer up that same observation and suggest that they change their striped shirt to a white shirt. And they might not want to wear plaid at all.
Another benefit to having rapport with someone is that you can learn from them. You could ask them for advice or suggestions.
Now for the nuts and bolts of how to build rapport.
Exactly, how do you build rapport quickly?
First off, you need to talk directly to the person that you are trying to get to know. There are some differences in the approach depending on whether you are talking face to face or talking to them on a phone.
Obviously, there will be more visual cues when you are talking to someone face to face. I don’t think that one is better than another. You can build rapport over the phone as easily as you can face to face.
The most critical thing that you need to have when building rapport is a caring attitude. If you don’t truly care about other people, you will find it very difficult to build rapport, quickly. You may be able to build rapport but it will take much longer.
Do you have a caring attitude?
When you talk to someone new, do you find your mind wandering or thinking about what you will say next? If this is you, then you are in trouble with this.
The second key to building rapport quickly, is to have the heart of an explorer. What does that mean? It means that you will be asking questions try to discover something that you have in common with the other person.
This is pretty easy to do and this is why it is possible to build rapport in such a short amount of time.
Whether you are talking on the phone or face to face with someone, the following strategies are suggested.
When you get started talking to someone, my advice is to ask better questions. Asking better questions gets you better answers.
Nearly everyone’s initial question is, “How are you?” or “How you doing?” That’s a very bad question to ask. First, it so typical that no one is going to notice you. Second, it gets such a short reply. You’ll hear things like “Fine,” “I’m okay,” “Can’t complain,” or “Good.”
When we ask questions, we are trying to get people to talk to us. We are trying to get to know them. We are ultimately, trying to show them that we care about them, as a person.
A better question might be, “What’s been the best part of your day so far?” or “What do you have planned for the rest of the day?” Not only will you get noticed, as your question is way out of the norm but you will usually get a longer answer. The longer the answer, the more things you will have to work with to continue the conversation.
The more someone talks to you the easier it will be to find that something that you have in common with them.
The 7 main things that you can talk about are:
Keep in mind that you don’t, necessarily, need to go through all of these areas of questioning. You are an explorer. You just need to find that one thing that you have in common. Then you base the rest of the conversation around sharing stories about that thing that you have in common.
There are any number of questions that you can ask about all of those subjects. I would start at the top and work my way down until I find something I have in common with the person. The thing that you find that you have in common may be something that would be considered happy but it could be something sad.
The thing in common could be that you both just bought a new home. Or you both could have just had a baby. Maybe both of you have a child who just graduated from college. All of those would be happy things.
But you may find that you both have a sick relative who is in the hospital. Or you both need to have some major repair done to your home. Those would be sad things.
Some typical questions that can be asked about Home.
What type of home do you live in?
Do you like the neighborhood?
What does your dream house look like?
Things you might ask about Family
Are you married?
Do you have children?
Boys or girls?
How old are they?
Questions to ask about School
Where do your children go to school?
Where did you go to school?
Asking about Friends can be tough. If you live near the person, you might ask if you have any friends in common.
The most common thing that people talk about is their Work. That is why I put it toward the bottom of the list. Again you won’t stand out if you start by asking them about their work. If you haven’t found anything in common with them up to this point, work is a good thing to ask about. We’ve all had good jobs and bad jobs. Or good bosses and bad bosses. We all have stories that we share and can relate to.
You can always fall back on finding about the types of Entertainment they enjoy.
Have they read any good books lately?
Who is your favorite actor?
What TV shows do you recommend?
Asking about Their Future doesn’t have to be a weird conversation. You can ask them where they see themselves in 5 years but it could be as simple as, “What do you have planned for your next vacation?”
You should be able to come up with 10 or more questions about each of these categories. That would give you a nice arsenal of over 70 questions that you can choose from.
The third key to building rapport is listening. You need to listen with your full attention.
You should be an active listener.
An active listener acknowledges that they are really listening by nodding in agreement when something is said that they agree with. They answer questions that are asked but they give short answers to allow the person to continue talking to you. You should, occasionally, repeat back to them person speaking, the same words they are using. This shows that you, not only heard what they said but, that you understand what they are saying.
They might tell you that they wrecked their car over the weekend. You would repeat back to them, “You wrecked your car? That’s terrible. Are you alright?”
All of the suggestions and strategies described to this point can be used in person or over the phone.
If you use these strategies successfully, you should be able to build rapport with someone that you just met, in a matter of minutes. Then, after you finish your conversation, they will thanking you for speaking with them.
To sum it up, you’ll need to care about people, you need to be able to discover things that you have in common with whomever you are talking to, make sure you ask better questions and listen intently!
With enough practice, you will have them thinking that you are their long lost sorority sister or their high school pal.
I have left out the visual cues that go along with building rapport when you are face to face with someone. There is actually some new and interesting science that goes along with that discussion. Look for that in my next post, tomorrow. Building rapport part 2.
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