You’ve likely read about or been in a sales training session when the concept of “building a rapport” with your client(s) comes up. For me, the term “rapport” is thrown around as loosely as “I love you.”
Creating and maintaining rapport with your client base, is more than a general TLC call (this was the term that was used for “tender, loving, care” calls to clients at a company I previously worked for). The TLC call is your standard check-in to make sure they seem satisfied or if there’s anything they need; same ‘ole, same ‘ole.
Building a strong rapport demands more. It requires self awareness to recognize the way you communicate – which is not just about the words you are saying and the way you are saying them, but the way you are listening as well. It also requires sharing additional verbal and non-verbal expression of emotion and interpersonal connection.
Strangely, this topic came to mind as I was watching a documentary a couple of weeks ago called, “The Vow.” If you haven’t seen it – whoa! It’s not something I’m going to get into here, but in a nutshell it’s another guy who creates a business but it’s really just a dangerous, manipulative cult.
I am certainly not encouraging anyone to use the interpersonal tactic of rapport building to be used unethically, but the point here is that when you are able to master rapport, you may notice a nice little increase in those sales numbers.
I’m going to circle back to the point of inspiration for this article – the documentary. In fact, I have provided the clip where Nancy (the business partner of business/cult leader, Keith Raniere) articulates this concept and breaks down why mirroring works.
Again, while the use of mirroring in this circumstance is highly unethical, it can be used with your prospects and/or current client base as a highly effective non-verbal strategy to increase sales and buy-in to other products or services.
The first step is knowing how you communicate. Ironically right before I saw this episode of The Vow, a client of mine asked me if I was an extrovert or an introvert. I told him, I actually think I’m an introvert, but nobody would know that because I’m naturally very good at mirroring others. So when I’m in a social situation, my mirroring skills kick in and it appears that I am an extrovert.
If you can become self aware of your communication style and reflect on your client interactions, you can start to consciously mirror. Then once you make a habit of mirroring, it will become like muscle memory and you will employ it subconsciously.
So if a client leans in, you lean in; or if somebody is a little standoffish, give them some space. You are creating an environment where they feel comfortable and they don’t even realize you’re establishing a subconscious connection.
Bottom line – when your clients or prospective clients feel connected, they feel trust; and ultimately anyone who trusts you are more inclined to sign the dotted line.
Thoughts? Questions? Email Me!
-Sarah Breymeier: beheard@podiatrymeetings.com