Building Rapport – Field Report

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Yesterday evening I managed to sell a copy of my book. This might not seem particularly newsworthy but check out these details.

Amazing Result from Rapport Building Conversation Process

I was on the Glasgow underground, like most underground trains it is rare for anyone to talk to anyone. I only went two stops, ten minutes at most. The person I sold to was a complete stranger, he gave me the money and I promised him I would post him the book when I arrived at the office the next day.

Personally I am amazed at the result and below is a deconstruction of the event.

Networking Note Card System

At the heart of the process was the Strategic Conversational Exchange, an idea set out by John V. Genovese in his Networking Note Card System. I have been field testing John’s process.

As I sat down on the train to go home a guy sat next to me and I spied an opportunity to use the system. At the time I selling anything could not have been further from my mind. I just decided to practice using the system and see what might happen.

Conversation Management Process

The Strategic Conversational Exchange breaks a conversation into eight easily identifiable steps. So I quickly got through the initial stages of breaking the ice, small talk and identifying location. This was relatively easy we were on the underground, in Glasgow; we both caught the train because it was raining too heavily to walk.

Up to this point there was nothing particularly special going on. I am generally quite a reserved sort of guy so don’t normally speak to people on public transport, but I am quite happy to when practicing new patterns or the fancy takes me. So whilst I am still playing with a new conversation process this was nothing too unusual for me. The next bit was pretty phenomenal though.

Ramping up the Rapport Process

In the couple of minutes we had been talking the rapport level was fairly good. The next part of the Strategic Conversational Exchange involves discussing common connections, what they do and then bridging into their goals and outcomes.

Less than five minutes into the conversation a complete stranger on a train was telling me about how he is frustrated at work mostly centering on his relationship with his boss. I was amazed at how much this complete stranger had opened up to me in such a public place in such a short time. At this point I saw the opportunity to make a sale and deviated from John’s strategic conversational exchange.

Identifying Needs and Addressing Them

I would not normally consider selling anything to people given the confines of the train and only a few minutes before I had to get off. But I thought, since we have such a good level of rapport in such quick time, and I have a product that I think this guy would find useful I should at least offer it to him, so this is what I did.

I asked him the negative consequences of leaving the situation with his bass as it was. I then asked him about the positive consequences of changing. I then elicited his values about the positive consequences. I then told him about my book and how it met his needs and would help him change the current situation. I then got him to imagine how it would feel fulfilling his values.

Normally I would tell people to buy the book on Amazon, but I thought, since I was practicing my skills whether I could get the guy to part with money right there. As it turned out this was far simpler than I thought it would be. The man gave me his card and the money right there with me promising to post the book to him in the morning. We even had a couple of moments spare for me to tell him about the website and the blogs before my stop.

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Why am I so impressed with myself over this? Simply because this is something I would not normally do or expect to happen. It is one thing to start a conversation and build rapport with a stranger on a train. It is something completely different to in the space of two stops to take money from them over just a promise to send something to them.

What I love about the Strategic Conversational Exchange as a process is that it is flexible enough for you to be able to use it how you want. It is not a sales system, but it helped me quickly and easily to build an environment for me to be able to sell. In fact it worked so easily that even I hadn’t realised just how much rapport I had.

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