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Bonding and Rapport

Everyone knows bonding and rapport is important. It’s the basis of every relationship and every sales program talks about it. Some sales people work the small talk. They discuss the weather, the fact that the prospect golfs, fishes, has three children and they have similar interests. It’s all designed so that at some level the prospect will be comfortable that the salesperson is like the prospect. There’s nothing wrong with this, but at the end of the day, it’s mediocre sales technique.  To be the best, you have to look, act and sound different than every other sales rep that comes through the door. How can you take your bonding and rapport to a new level, one that is more than the superficial approach?

Neurolinguistic programming (NLP) has taught us that 55 percent of our rapport comes from body language. Our physiology has a great bearing on how and what we communicate. We also know that 38 percent of the communication is delivered from our tonality. The way we speak. The pace, inflections, speed and volume of our speech affects how people understand our message. The other 7 percent of our communication is attributed to the words we use. So how can we use this to better build relationships with prospects?

We all know the story of  someone's child who when in school their speech (and that of their friends) was rapid fire. Their enthusiasm resulted in a speech pattern that couldn’t be understood. The teenagers would say something to their elders and in normal sarcastic way the suggestion would be they try it again in English.

We may think that communication is universal and while there are slight differences that generally we’re all the same. That can be a dangerous assumption. Sometimes prospects won’t tell you they didn’t understand your comments. They’ll smile and nod because they don’t want to appear stupid. Sometimes the result is they won’t meet in the future. The “chemistry” wasn’t right.

You may feel that words at 7% aren’t a big factor. Are you aware of your prospects words and phrases when they are expressing frustration, concern and anger? When you and your friends talk are the word usage similar? Are you comfortable with some words and phrases more than others? It would be typical if you were, and so it is typical as well with prospects and clients.

As a salesperson you must be a professional communicator. To achieve professional communicator status you must be an excellent observer of communication and have a means of adapting your communication with your prospects.


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