Increased Rapport and Building Trust

rapport

“If you expect above-average results you must learn, implement and perform above-average concepts.”

Pacing, matching or mirroring, whatever it is that you want to call it, has been around a long time. As sales people, we have all at one time or another read a book, listened to a CD or attended training of some type where we were told of the importance of it and of the positive results it can have on our sales.

Briefly, Mirroring is a human behavior characterized by copying someone else while communicating with them. It could mean the copying of postures, tone of voice or gestures; it could also be the mimicking of movement, body language, expressions, eye movement, breathing, tempo, attitude or any other number of things.  Think of it as follow the leader or do as I do.

There are a number of reasons why this rapport building concept is so powerful and many reasons why you should be doing it everyday with every customer. If you think of communication as a type of dance, a dance between two people, then imagine a partner that has never danced a day in their life. Imagine having your feet stepped on and your tempo thrown off as your partner fails to take your lead. Now imagine a partner that follows you step for step, turns left when you turn left, spins when you spin, its harmony and you feel at ease with your dance partner.

Communication can be tense and awkward between strangers or it can be lively and comfortable, it truly is all up to you. People are generally much friendlier when you mirror their expressions, hand gestures or body movements. For instance, when a prospect walks on the lot and they have their arms crossed, you do the same. If they talk slowly and deliberately you do the same. Same goes for hand gestures, if they talk with their hands so do you. A lot of people will feel awkward when they pace a prospect too closely, you must get past that. You won’t be caught and you will be able to create a solid foundation of rapport and mutual respect quicker than with any other “communication technique.”

“To the extent you can match another person’s behavior, both verbally and non-verbally, you will be able to increase your level of rapport and trust.”

Taking the analogy that communication is like a dance one step further, a good dancer can switch from following to leading without their partner ever being the wiser. This is exactly what I want you to be able to do. I want you to be so versed, so good at matching that you can switch from being the follower to being the leader without your prospect ever being the wiser. In fact if you have mirrored close enough your prospect will be more than happy to let you lead because they feel a connection with you, they are beginning to trust you.

Teaching when to switch from following to leading is no easy task because each situation is different. Sometimes the switch can happen in a matter of minutes, other times it can be longer. A good rule of thumb is if you start to lead and the prospect doesn’t follow, go right back into pacing, but most of the time you will know when the right time is. Be subtle at first then increasingly more blatant as you lead the prospect toward the sale. If at anytime during the sales process you prospect stops following, you know there as an issue, stop right there and address it, slipping back into matching as you do so.

Start practicing pacing as soon as possible, with everybody you meet. Pace body language and speech patters, try to get caught so that your confidence will grow. This is a very powerful tool, one of the most powerful weapons in any sales person’s arsenal, why aren’t you using it?


  • I'll tell you this – there's no way I EVER begin trying to sell to ANYONE if I can't take the time to form a connection. I MUST LIKE and have some feeling of CARING ABOUT a person before I can even start looking for a way to fulfill their needs. And that's why it's so easy for me to sell, because I'm never "SELLING", and instead, I'm always looking to HELP somebody. I can't help them if I don't know them, and I can't know them if I'm not connected. A person can always be more passionate about helping others than they may be about merely closing a deal. The feeling that comes with closing a deal is so transitory and fleeting, but the feeling of genuinely HELPING somebody can change you into an entirely different Sales Professional.

    • So true! Too many sales people forget that selling is a PEOPLE business. Too many times its JUST the commission that matters, not the OTHER person in the transaction. If a salesperson truly wants to make it big then all they have to do is build win-win relationships with their customers and they will reap the benefits of repeat and referral business.

      I like to keep this in mind when thinking about the way I deal with my clients: "Long Term Relationships Over Short Term Transactions."

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