Always make sure your appearance
is neat and professional. Come prepared to answer questions and take control
of the meeting. Remember that, "Those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail."
When you sit down, try to
sit on a couch side by side or in close proximity at a table with one person
sitting at the end and one on the side. This allows you to be sitting in either
the same direction or almost the same direction. You are trying to avoid sitting
directly across from your prospect at all times. This unconsciously creates
an adversarial situation in the prospect's mind. When you sit across from a
person in a sales presentation there is a competitive sub-text being played
You want to "share space"
with your prospect instead of squaring off with him. If you are in agreement
and sharing common interests, sharing space or being "aligned" with your prospect
automatically leads to a deeper rapport. It's like you have the same space or
wall in front of you. You are both looking into the "fourth wall" together which
makes your meeting much more comfortable and psychologically relaxed. You are
more likely to see things the same way, to get in tune with each other and to
feel in sync.
Remember, if you feel uncomfortable
then you do not have rapport with your prospect. In this era of relationship
based selling especially, if you do not have rapport, you will not sell. Rapport
is a prerequisite for all human communication. There is a powerful human need
to "fit in".
Some Techniques to Develop
Rapport: Matching - This involves putting yourself on the same "wavelength"
as your prospect through common interests, body orientation and similar speech
Common Interests - Everyone
enjoys talking about their own interests. It helps to make the prospect feel
like you understand them if you relate to them on their level. If the prospect
is interested in football, then you should express an interest in football.
If the prospect enjoys bass fishing, then you should express an interest in
bass fishing etc.
Body Orientation - Be aware
of how a person is sitting or standing. Do not overtly "mimic" them (that would
be disrespectful and could be interpreted as offensive) Simply notice their
posture, how their head is tilted, where their hands are etc. Then slowly adjust
your body posture and alignment to theirs. This helps to develop rapport with
the prospect because it makes them feel more at ease with you. Note: This "mirroring"
technique many times will not work to create positive rapport unless you are
wearing similar clothes and have a similar appearance at the time. For instance,
if the prospect is casual and you are wearing a suit or vice-versa, the mirroring
will not be effective in creating rapport. This technique only works well if
both people are "matched" in casual or professional dress at the time.
Similar Speech Patterns
- This goes back to matching the rate and rhythm of the prospect's speech the
same as on the telephone. If they are very fast-talking Northerners, you should
also speak rapidly. If they are very slow talking, laid back Hawaiians, then
you want to speak slowly and be more "laid back".
Ask Questions About Their
Life - If you are in a person's office, you can look at family pictures and
ask questions about their family, friends and work. Be sincere and genuinely
interested in what they have to say. Allow them to talk and listen intently.
("I" is the most frequently used word in the English language. In a group picture
people always look for themselves first. Understand that people like to talk
Remember that nonverbal
behavior has to match verbal behavior. Statistics show that employees and prospects
get confused between verbal and nonverbal messages. When there is a conflict
between the two, people always choose to interpret the nonverbal communication
over the spoken word. Words can be said that mean nothing because they are overpowered
by voice quality, facial expressions and gestures. Always be consistent with
your verbal and nonverbal communication. If your words are warm and your body
language conveys discomfort or stress, your prospect will be ill at ease and
the rapport will be broken. Be an example of the state of mind you want to convey
to people. It should always be positive with lots of enthusiasm to develop meaningful