8 replies
What do you usually do to develop rapport with a prospect?

I think I can avoid the major landmines but
I must admit that I am not extremely good at this.

How can you show people that you care on a cold call (even if you might only really care about the money)?
#developping #rapport
  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    I don't know how expert I am at this;

    To me, rapport just means that you are both traveling in the same direction.

    It isn't a stage of the sale, it goes all the way through the sale.

    If I really don't have an obvious thing in common with the prospect, I'll ask their opinion on something that I think they know about, and then I listen.

    Asking an opinion is a huge compliment for most people. Listening to the answer (sometimes I learn quite a lot. And I mean un-sales related) is a huge compliment too.

    If they have 20 deer heads mounted, a giant fish on the wall, and 60 guns displayed, my guess is that they are a hunter. I'm not. Not even close.

    What I am not going to do is say "Wow, I love hunting...tell me about your hardest kill". He'll know quickly that I'm just trying to "build rapport".

    But I might say "What about hunting appeals to you most?"
    And then I listen for his relationship with his Dad, his love of the outdoors, a strong Conservative viewpoint...whatever. Now I know what subjects to avoid, and how to sculpt the conversation.

    But mostly I talk to business people. So I don't need deep personal rapport. I just need to not kill any rapport that naturally exists.

    Most salespeople believe that talking about yourself is a major part of gaining rapport. Nope. Asking a few open ended questions, and genuinely listening to the answer is what rapport is. And now, the prospect has an unconscious desire to listen to you.

    How do you talk to someone you genuinely like & respect? Talk like that, and you should be OK.

    Added later; On a cold phone call? Just talk like you were talking to someone you already did business with. I think "gaining rapport" is way overblown and misunderstood.... in it's importance.

    By the way, a guy cold called me yesterday about loaning my company money (or selling some loan application service)...he was Great! He followed , nearly perfectly Jason Kanigan's method.

    I had no interest at all in the proposition, but he kept me on the phone for over a minute. I even let him answer two objections. Expertly done. Forget rapport, buy Jason's WSO.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lokahi
    If your potential customer is prequalified for your product, then you are starting in a good place. Just focus on professional manner and leave personal things at the door. Your potential customer will see it as fake if you try to get overly personal in their life, when they know you are on a sales call.
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  • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
    I have never done a cold call in my life. I prefer to meet them in person, at business mixer or Chamber of Commerce event. Look them in the eye and build trust with them. I also make sure the very first time we connect, I ask them via email, to look at my LinkedIn Profile, which brands me as a leader in my industry. At this point, I would consider setting our first meeting and then asking to close the sale. :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew North
    Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

    What do you usually do to develop rapport with a prospect?

    I think I can avoid the major landmines but
    I must admit that I am not extremely good at this.

    How can you show people that you care on a cold call (even if you might only really care about the money)?
    Only caring about the money is possibly what is making this hard on yourself.

    You want to build authentic empathy with someone in order for them to open up to you. Intending to bag the sale and run is the opposite to building a real relationship and is inherently coming from a place of a lack and scarcity.

    You will be needy for the sale, and the other person will be able to sense this intuitively and will turn them off. You need to have the self-trust that they will buy from you and that you are enough while at the same time being detached from the outcome.

    This is important for two reasons:

    Building an authentic rapport allows you to build the trust necessary to make recommendations.

    And secondly it allows you to get inside their head and gives you vital clues on what you need to do to progress.

    You need to be attuned to the other person's experience and feelings even when you are talking.

    This means having a keen perception of how people are reacting to you. This doesn't mean you should seek a certain reaction or attempt to micro-manage the other person's perception to you. It means you should pay attention to how you are effecting them emotionally and making constant small course adjustments based on the interaction.

    It's about engaging the person with hyper-focus, like nothing exists apart from you and the person you are talking to. This exists of course outside of really 'trying', to build rapport, in fact the less you try the more effective you are going to be at getting the other person to open up to you.

    A lot of this is about having a depth to your character, not caring about whether you get the sale or if the person likes you. This is what opens up the emotional space for the other person to be authentic with you as well, to get to the root emotional problems that they are facing.

    I would readjust your focus to see if there's an opportunity to add value to their situation, and simply enjoy the process of selling. Stop caring about making a sale because you CAN'T CONTROL that.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by Matthew North View Post

      Only caring about the money is possibly what is making this hard on yourself.

      You want to build authentic empathy with someone in order for them to open up to you. Intending to bag the sale and run is the opposite to building a real relationship and is inherently coming from a place of a lack and scarcity.

      You will be needy for the sale, and the other person will be able to sense this intuitively and will turn them off. You need to have the self-trust that they will buy from you and that you are enough while at the same time being detached from the outcome.

      This is important for two reasons:

      Building an authentic rapport allows you to build the trust necessary to make recommendations.

      And secondly it allows you to get inside their head and gives you vital clues on what you need to do to progress.

      You need to be attuned to the other person's experience and feelings even when you are talking.

      This means having a keen perception of how people are reacting to you. This doesn't mean you should seek a certain reaction or attempt to micro-manage the other person's perception to you. It means you should pay attention to how you are effecting them emotionally and making constant small course adjustments based on the interaction.

      It's about engaging the person with hyper-focus, like nothing exists apart from you and the person you are talking to. This exists of course outside of really 'trying', to build rapport, in fact the less you try the more effective you are going to be at getting the other person to open up to you.

      A lot of this is about having a depth to your character, not caring about whether you get the sale or if the person likes you. This is what opens up the emotional space for the other person to be authentic with you as well, to get to the root emotional problems that they are facing.

      I would readjust your focus to see if there's an opportunity to add value to their situation, and simply enjoy the process of selling. Stop caring about making a sale because you CAN'T CONTROL that.
      My God. I'm going to remember your name. Smart smart stuff here.

      Guys; I can only add that during the actual sale, I'm 100% focused on helping the client...in the best way I know. Nothing else enters my mind. Frequently, the best way to help them is to recommend that they buy what I'm selling...but not always.

      A large portion of our brains are dedicated to reading a person's expressions, quirks, body language, tone, cadence of speech....it's nearly impossible to hide what your motives are.
      So I make sure my motive is the serve the customer in the beat way I can.

      Now...as soon as I get the sale, and they leave (or I leave), I count the money. Don't get me wrong, I'm doing this for the money.

      But when I'm in front of the customer, it isn't how I think. I'm not acting...this is really how I'm thinking inside my little brain.

      I've even told this to clients and customers. And it's completely true.

      If you adopt this idea, rapport will come naturally and effortlessly.

      Oh, and it has nothing to do with being a good person. I've trained myself to think this way. I do it because it have proven to be the most profitable approach.

      Go and do likewise, my young Padawan.
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  • Profile picture of the author hayfj2
    1. thank them for inviting you in

    (most people don't. It also helps to reinforce they wanted to see you)

    2. Ask them what they were hoping to achieve from the meeting

    (get them talking. people love people who listen to them )

    my 2c
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    • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      If I really don't have an obvious thing in common with the prospect, I'll ask their opinion on something that I think they know about, and then I listen.

      Asking an opinion is a huge compliment for most people. Listening to the answer (sometimes I learn quite a lot. And I mean un-sales related) is a huge compliment too.


      Originally Posted by Matthew North View Post


      You need to be attuned to the other person's experience and feelings even when you are talking.

      This means having a keen perception of how people are reacting to you.

      It's about engaging the person with hyper-focus, like nothing exists apart from you and the person you are talking to.

      I would readjust your focus to see if there's an opportunity to add value to their situation, and simply enjoy the process of selling. Stop caring about making a sale because you CAN'T CONTROL that.
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post


      Guys; I can only add that during the actual sale, I'm 100% focused on helping the client...in the best way I know. Nothing else enters my mind. Frequently, the best way to help them is to recommend that they buy what I'm selling...but not always.

      When i saw this thread I was thinking I would put in my two cents
      but now i read these, I realize there is nothing left to say.

      Follow that advice and your golden.

      Most people don't really have a problem with rapport,
      they have a problem STARTING building rapport.

      meaning once the conversation starts human nature takes over.

      but the problem is they freeze when they know its time to start
      that part of the process.

      Is that your issue? if it is it needs to be addressed differently
      then what your asking.

      Ask your self this, when your talking to a prospect is it
      a natural conversation, or is it stilted and uncomfortable
      for the first few minutes?

      That will give you your answer.

      Also, look up mimicking and/or mirroring.
      That works wonders for rapport ... even if you suck at
      casual sounding conversation with a stranger.
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  • I would add that it helps to sell in a niche you enjoy. I talk to tech people all day, and love discussing the cloud, enterprise computing and other tech stuff.

    To me, it's exciting to cold call new businesses and learn more about what they do.

    My interest and experience comes through, and the conversation flows.

    Doesn't always happen, but if you can sell in an area you enjoy, I believe you are a step ahead in building rapport.
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    Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
    - Jack Trout
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