Who doesn't like to be with people they know and feel comfortable with? Of course we do. Over time we build a rapport – a feeling of comfort and trust – with our circle of friends and close business associates. If one of them recommends a movie, we'll probably see it. If they tell us about a great restaurant, we might try it next time we go out for dinner. And if they share a good experience with a plumber or a doctor, we will be influenced by that when we have a leaking pipe or a bad cough.
We have rapport with those people: we know them, we like them, we trust them, and we respect them. That is exactly the type of relationship you want to build with your clients and prospects, for there is no selling without rapport. You don't have months to spend getting to know those clients, but there are ways to help build rapport more quickly by paying attention to verbal and non-verbal cues.
What's one of the key features of being with the people we know? We are comfortable with them. We share a common language not only in what we talk about but in how we relate to each other. Sit down with friends, and you tend to lean forward, hands unclasped, smiling. Look around, and you'll see that your friends are doing the same thing – you are all mirroring each other's posture. Your tone of voice is optimistic, your gestures are open and friendly.
That's your starting point in building rapport with new people. You can build rapport while asking qualifying questions, and as you become more in sync, the more they will reveal to you. Be aware of how they speak – the speed and tone. Look at their body position – are they closed with arms and legs crossed, or are they open? What kind of gestures do they use? Now mirror or match what they do and how they speak, without seeming to mock them, of course. Use similar hand gestures and body position. Pace your speech and movements to match theirs.
We know that communication is much more than words. In fact, the words we choose account for only 5% of communication. Our tone is 35%, and our body language is a full 60% of our message. In your listing presentation, you can use what you know about communication to build that rapport that leads to sales.
Developing a powerful and effective presentation requires practice, it takes being mentally and emotionally prepared, and it needs your enthusiasm; nothing happens until someone gets excited! Then, remember that the greatest listing agents never underestimate the power of showmanship:
- Entertain them
- Educate them
- Close them
Work on building a connection with people using the three modes of communication – words, tone, and body language – and use your enthusiasm to entertain and persuade. That's the real power of rapport.
Patti Kouri, Accelerated Performance Coaching
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