Part of my job is to get on the calendars of dozens of business owners every month. This usually requires getting through one or more gatekeepers which is where most sales people are stopped. How I am able to make it past those gatekeepers and get time with the decision makers is by quickly building rapport at the beginning of every conversation. Today I’m going to share 3 tips that will help you build rapport in seconds.
When you start getting serious about building meaningful rapport, one of the first things that you have to realize is that time is crucial. Studies show that first impressions take seven seconds to be made and while we don’t have time to talk about meaningful first impressions today, what we can gain from this is our first time limit. If you can gain credibility in that first seven seconds, you get seven more. Rapport is built that quickly; seven seconds at a time. That is why it’s important to communicate effectively using high-impact, descriptive words and to focus on things that are important to them. Don’t get caught in the trap of using your yap to fill the gap. Be interested in them and use your limited time to ask well thought-out questions.
Observe Your Surroundings
My next tip is one that I picked up when I was growing up. My parents would always say to us, “Always be aware of your surroundings.” I’m pretty sure they mostly had safety in mind, but it is something that has stuck with me and is invaluable when building rapport. Noticing changes in body language while you are talking is one of the biggest things, but also noticing things like the car they drive or any sports team they may support. You never know when one of these little pieces of information will help you make a connection and it’s often these little connections that build the bridge to successfully building rapport.
Keep Initial Conversation Light
My last tip for you today is to keep the first few minutes of conversation as light as possible. What I mean by light is to make sure that you are smiling, crack a joke where appropriate, and avoid any kind of sales or closing type conversations. People are very wary of being sold so it’s important to “act as if the bills are paid” and steer the conversation to lighter topics to allow you to build rapport before transitioning to your ask.
If you practice the three things that I just listed in every conversation that you have, I can promise you that you will be getting past gatekeepers and making more effective sales in no time. Simply remember to manage your time, observe your surroundings, and keep that initial conversation light.