#842 Five Easy Rules to Gain and Maintain Rapport
1 Don’t go too fast. Gaining in rapport is like teaching a puppy to come to you. You can jerk his collar and drag him over or you can use a sweet voice, encouragement and maybe even a treat to coax him in. If you go with the jerk and yell method, be prepared to have a puppy that’s conditioned not to trust you completely. He may obey, but it will be to appease, not to please.
2 Only offer sincere compliments. Gratuitous compliments are actually insults. When you offer me an insincere compliment you’re telling me you think I’m too stupid or self-absorbed to know it’s unearned and you’re also telling me that you’re full of crap and not someone I want to cozy up to.
3 Be where you are. There are few things that will kill rapport faster than looking past me at another person or the ubiquitous TV’s that pervade our work and social spaces, or at your phone, or computer monitor while I am speaking to you. The subliminal message you’re giving me is that those things are more important and/or interesting than I am.
4 Be an active listener. While I’m talking, give me eyebrow flashes, smiles, “uh huhs” and “mmm’s.” Touch my arm lightly, nod your head, lean in or pull back. Active means active; show me that you’re into the conversation.
5 Pay attention to your body posture. Square up to me. Monitoring and calibrating body posture and facial expressions is atavistic. (Great word!) Even when you think you aren’t showing boredom or distraction, my lizard brain is picking up micro-expressions and slight shifts in posture; I’m becoming slightly uneasy and rapport is silently evaporating.
There are so many more outright rules and small nuances involved in gaining and maintaining rapport but these five are pretty easy (and all too common). I hope they will remind you that today, more than ever, we can set ourselves apart by being conscious of our aura and staying focused on the people with whom we interact.
Own your sales gene…