Rapport is overrated, underachieved, and misrepresented in the field. Every day.
Rapport is defined as a relationship of mutual understanding or trust and agreement between people. Most folks are trained to “develop rapport” on their sales calls. By definition, for rapport you must have:
- a relationship
- understanding / trust
All three of these must be in place before you have rapport with someone, yet leagues of sales people are trained and have self-diagnosed mastery of this prescribed sales requirement as a standard part of the sales process. Additionally, all sales people are trained to develop rapport immediately, at the onset of a relationship in order to engage in the sales process.
For anyone in any type of sales role who is aware of and uses ‘rapport building’ techniques, I call B.S. on it because so few people actually attain the 3 required elements of rapport. The result for most rapport building attempts is chummy fraternizing and snoopish prying into personal areas with a thinly masked veil of interest all for the purpose of trying to accelerate the bond, the connectedness, the “rapport”.
If you are on a sales call, do business, don’t do rapport building. If you are in social situation where you are trying to create or develop connections, don’t do rapport building, instead show genuine interest in the people you meet.
Does it feel like something is missing in this advice? If you are dropping rapport building from your process, what fills its gap? Value.
Substitute rapport for value. Demonstrate value in yourself at the beginning of a contact and rapport will be the natural outcome. The trick is understanding that rapport building techniques as used by most people create a temporary halo around your conversation in that moment in time, but doesn’t transcend. Value, however, sticks with someone immediately and doesn’t come off as contrived or prying and last well beyond the shared moment.
Photo Credit – Lori
About Justin McCullough
Justin McCullough is mentor, marketer and leader with more than 10 years of selling experience from startups to large corporations. Justin’s experience ranges from advertising agencies to newspapers and web development firms to book publishers. You can find out more about Justin at www.justinmccullough.com or www.leader4hire.net .