I am of a view that rapport comes in different flavours. Having rapport in a general sense is generally good and it can be a real hindrance in some situations.
Rapport Building and when not to do it
Having rapport means you are entering the world of the person you are talking to. You are pacing their beliefs, values and how they see the world. In circumstances where you need to lead your client this is not always helpful.
Have a look at another part of Tim’s email to see some of the issues he has got through establishing too much rapport.
Which brings me to my point: I read your post about John and it got me thinking about how I can turn cold calls into a listing – ie. call someone I don’t know and by the end of the call have them seriously consider selling their property.
As an aside, I do many cold calls and actually quite enjoy it because I often end up having very enjoyable conversations. In fact my biggest problem is that I end up talking about them, their family, and what they’ve done and I don’t get to control the conversation back to property.
So I build rapport but the cost is I lose control.
In any professional capacity, my rough rule of thumb is that you go for authority, credibility and then rapport. Typically if you are smart you can do all three in one go.
Pacing and Leading
NLP Practitioners talk about rapport being essential to the communication process. I almost agree with them, in a situation where you need to control the situation the way you build rapport is just as important. Instead of pacing and leading your client, you should be working to get the client to build rapport with you.
For example in a therapy context when your client is deeply distressed and unable to find solutions building rapport means you are entering their world and this could have an impact on you to the point where you are no longer a useful helper. A sound bite phrase would be “empathy not sympathy”. So the idea of leading your client out of the problem might start by getting them to do the rapport building so you are exerting your authority by leading them right from the start.
In the Hypnotic Sales Process we develop the process so you establish authority, credibility and your prospect builds rapport with you. The key is having it built right into the process so you can focus on your prospect and their needs rather than having to deal with the mechanical end of the communication skills.
Establishing Rapport and Control on the Telephone
One way of building rapport and establishing the lead on the phone is through asking questions. Because you are asking questions you have control over the process. The type of questions you ask will allow you to establish rapport.
People like talking about themselves and like having people be interested in them. A complete conversation management process that can utilise this is written up fully in The Persuasion Skills Black Book, but let’s just focus for a moment on the types of questions Tim could use to establish rapport and keep control of the conversation.
Remember he has just been told by his prospect that they don’t want to sell their home. To my mind then they must like their home enough to want to stay there. This can give you a whole range of questions that establish rapport and keeps Tim in control of the conversation such as:
- What do you like most about your home?
- Tell me what is important to you about your home?
- What does your home mean to you?
- You must enjoy living there, tell me about your favourite memories of your home.
And I am sure you can think of a dozen more. Whilst these questions might just entrench the prospect in their view of not wanting to sell they also develop rapport. When you do the Advanced Persuasion Patterns Programme you will discover how you can bind thoughts. If you have already done the programme you will obviously recognise these questions as a lead into developing good emotions to bind to thoughts of a new home.
In the next post we will discuss how Tim can use sequences of questions to lead the prospect to properly consider buying a new house.
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