The whole concept is wrong.
"Gaining rapport" isn't a step in the sales process. It's just being a caring professional looking out for the best interests of the prospect.
But "How do you gain rapport?". You don't. You be that person that people like and trust. Be likable. Be trustworthy.
Aren't there people that like you now? Well, what did you do to make them like you? You were a friend. You treated them with respect. You showed an interest in what they liked. You didn't just talk about yourself. You made them feel better about life when they were talking with you. There. Do that with prospects.
Is "building rapport" telling jokes?
Do you have a doctor? Do you trust him/her, and follow their advice, nearly always without question? The answer is "yes"
When you first met them, did they tell you 5 jokes? Did they say mean things about other doctors? Did they tell you about the last patient that was a pain? No.
No. They asked sincere questions to find out the best way to help you...and then they did. That's rapport.
It's rapport when you are both on the same side. Aren't you on the same side?...fighting against low profits for your client? Fighting with him/her to make their business more profitable? That's rapport. You are comrades in arms.
Want to kill rapport? Talk about things that do not help the client.
Talk about benefits that don't fit anything the client has brought up, as an interest to them. That will kill rapport.
Want to kill a sales? When you are at the closing, hesitate. Don't ask them to buy. talk past the moment. Keep talking. Sweat. Act nervous. change your tone, pacing, posture. Make it obvious that you'd be shocked if they said "Yes". I've seen that so often, I'm gritting my teeth just talking about it.
But...want to kill rapport, without either of you being aware that you are doing it?
Try to sell faster than they want to buy. In other words, ask them to buy before they want to.
Have you ever been taught "Close early, close often, always be closing"?
Wouldn't it be smarter to close after the prospect wants to buy? Wouldn't that be easier?
Let the prospect discover that they want your offer. How? Want to know what real rapport is? Real rapport is selling at the speed that the prospect wants to buy.
Have you ever gone fishing? Do you throw the hook in and "Yank the hook early, yank often, always be pulling the hook out of the water"? Does that make sense? No.
You put the hook (and bait) in the water. You wait until there is a nibble. Then you wait a little longer until the fish decides to bit the hook. They you wait a few seconds more until the fish is committed to eating that bait. Then you pull the line out of the water. And you'll nearly always have a fish.
The same with selling.
If the prospect isn't excited at the beginning, don't be enthusiastic. It will break rapport. You will look desperate. The prospect will cross their arms, dig in their heels, and get ready for battle.
But you aren't there for battle. You're there to help them. You're on their side. Remember?
So, I always sound about as excited as the prospect. Maybe a tad less. I may even say something like "I don't know. Maybe this isn't for you. Should I go on or not?". And I'm not smiling.
On a scale of one-ten (one being no interest at all, and ten being interested enough to buy) I always want to be at the same level as the prospect. Maybe a tad below.
When they hear something they like, I may ask "You sure? How would this benefit you?" And I make them tell me. Why? Because it's impossible to feel pressure when you are telling me why you like what I sell. And it's the very definition of rapport when you are exactly as interested as they are.
They have a problem? I want them to tell me all about it..."and how much will it cost your company?" "Would it help if you could....?" (this will match my solution, which is part of my service) "Well...OK, we will..... will that solve the problem?"
And then ask them "How?". And when they answer, they are discovering that they want what you are offering.
Do that with the biggest benefits that fit their concerns. With any experience, you'll see when they are ready to buy. It's usually a few seconds after they asked a question or two, that nobody would ask unless they were going to buy. "When could you get started?" "How do we pay you?"
You give the answer in exactly the same tone, pace, volume, as during the whole discussion.
"Is this OK then?" Ask it like you just asked what time it is.
Rapport isn't a step in the sale, it's matching your enthusiasm, and speed of selling to the client's speed of buying.
I hope this helped someone.