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Stop Trying to “ Build”Rapport - Listen, and Connect to your audience. By Robert Gray. This is NOT Rapport. Rapport.

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  • The ability to enter someone else’s world, to make them feel that YOU understand them, that you have a strong common bond around a relationship of responsiveness.- it’s the essence of successful communication.
  • Rapport is a Bond that makes you feel like partners with client.
  • Harmony results from similarity
  • False- Opposite’s attract. Never! People want to be around and associate with others that are just like them. Study your audience/member and become (assimilate) their style – its all about being appealing to people you want to connect with.
  • Rapport is not about smiling, It’s about Responsiveness!
  • Rapport is not Static; it’s not something that remains stable once achieved. Its Dynamic, fluid and flexible and it’s absolutely the Most important skill you can train your agency on!
  • Rapport is also about Pacing, its about the ability to elegantly and accurately change gears when someone else does.
  • Once you have established solid rapport with someone, your now in position to lead or steer conversations, thoughts and actions! That’s pure MAGIC!
  • We have to become better communicators and “Connectors” if we want to write more long lasting, high quality business as the #1 In Home provider in the Insurance industry.
how to know what to say after you say hi
How to Know what to say after you say “HI”
  • Make a mood match- Before opening your mouth; take a “voice sample” to see the member’s state of mind. Realize if they are buoyant, bored or blitzed. If you ever want to bring people around to your thoughts, you must match their mood and voice tone, IF ONLY FOR A MOMENT!
  • Our Members buy the product that sits’ in front of them YOU! They buy You based largely on how effectively you Connect or don’t.
  • How much time during the week do we spend on the most important skill you can attain- the ability to “connect”, to have some gravity…
rapport survival skills
Rapport Survival Skills
  • Remember people tune in to your tone more than your text. It’s never really what you say, but how you say it.
  • Say it with passion- Your opening Hello can be ANYTHING as long as it puts people at ease and sounds passionate and your comfortable saying it!

How do you put people at ease?

  • By convincing them there’s no “hidden agenda” and you’re their to help (if needed) and that the two of you share similarities. – easier said then done! Its all about breaking down walls of FEAR, SUSPICION and MISTRUST. (nordstrom)
rapport survival skills1
Rapport- Survival Skills
  • Always wear a WHATZIT- A whatzit is anything you wear or carry that is unusual. An object that draws peoples attention and inspires them to approach you and ask “Uh, what’s that?” Your business cards and your Whatzit are crucial socializing artifacts.- Pen, button (not political- must be PC), Notebook, Bag etc..


NEED = 30%




CLOSE = 10%

50% of our presentations success hinges on “Human Element”

rapport 40 of the preso
Rapport- 40% of the Preso
  • Never the naked city, naked job or naked introduction- Never give a one word answer when someone asks where your from or what you do. Make sure to have some delicious facts and unique things to speak about. – study your geography, become an expert on local events, read the USA today Headlines each morning (15 min). What are you doing daily that makes you unique and interesting? – we got to get smart and get interesting!
  • Be a word detective- No matter how tough it is to find a topic to resuscitate a conversation just listen for that one word that you can jump on and talk about. When talking with anyone keep your ears open, when you pick up on the reference as thought it excites you, too, it parlays you into conversation the members enjoys.
rapport 401
Rapport -401
  • The swiveling spotlight- When you meet someone you will learn so much more if you ask about their life. Always turn the spotlight on the other person. When shining the spotlight on your product, it is not as interesting to the prospect.
  • F.O.R.M.- Family, Occupation, Recreation and ME
  • Parroting- Simply repeat the last few words your conversation partner says this puts the ball right back in their court and then all you need to do is LISTEN!!!
  • How to come across as a positive person without being PHONY!- sharing unflattering information is actually a good tactic to being objective, ( too much can backfire…people will think what else are you hiding?) When first meeting someone, lock-up the majority of skeletons in your closet for later. Don’t share too much too fast just accentuate the positive and minimize negative! ( don’t avoid real life negative- again, were real people with real everyday problems too)
  • Listening- “king” of all rapport building skills! YOUR NOT Interesting until Your Interested! You have got to be 100% into what our Members Lives are all about! Do you research, become a detective, research their last several unions meeting (minutes on websites). Be involved and Don’t ever fake it!
  • Listening –part2: Everyone loves to be listened to. Think about it! Active Listening says “I’m listening because what you have to say is important” aka I’m listening to you so I can build up ques into your personality, social and intellectual make-up and whats important to you. - All this makes up the PROFILE of your audience. Understand it and you will better translate!
  • Link Interests- your audience relates better to you when they see similarities between you both!- your goal is to find “common ground”
rapport 4011
Rapport 401
  • Ask for their Opinion- the “Most Sincere” compliment you can pay.
  • Humble yourself- ever so slightly,- this small sign of Vulnerability will create a sense of openness and trust
  • Compliments & Praise- if genuine is a good way to elicit the buying emotions we need to close on Need.
  • Notice Values and beliefs- social Ques! We should know these -10 list! These are our blue collar members that we relate to better than anyone.
  • Enthusiasm- “communication is the transfer of energy/emotion. We must train to promote authentic- real conversations! That takes skill, charm/personality are a plus! –attributes!
  • Smile and Warmth- first contact with anyone is your face! The most powerful skill you can have is the ability to understand how other perceive YOU! Genuine warmth will resonate and accentuate your voice/tone and perception. Remember Perception is reality in the first 30 seconds
  • Do what you say and say what you mean- inconsistency in your thoughts, words or actions will create distrust quicker than anything. Make sure you always review mutually agreeable alternatives’.
  • Check your attitude problems at the door – your car door! You got one shot at this appointment, put yourself in position to win.
non verbal communication
Non-Verbal Communication
  • 90% of all dialog (initial being most important) is interpreted thru non-verbal communication. ( NLP)
  • Facial expressions & Body Language- we react more to what we think a person meant than what they actually said.
  • Your non-verbal “signals” are just as important as the words you use.- the power of body language is so strong that it can take minutes for trust to be built or eroded based on non-verbal communication style!
  • Matching and Mirror- is not smiling, good eye contact, “open stance”- its about positive posture, gestures, tone and tempo of voice- all in a way that appeals to the person in front of you!
not what you say but how you say it
Not what you say, but how you say it!
  • Your audience trusts those who are most like “themselves”- Hello! Is that news to anyone! Its got to be #1 training topic!
  • You need to think of Non- Verbal Rapport as a dance, where you are the follower and whomever you want to influence is the leader of the dance.
  • Key- be subtle and discrete- not mimic precisely what your prospect is doing, but capturing the atmosphere of the interaction!- while keeping your actions outside their conscious awareness. Train your people to be students of human behavior and watch their closing % rise!
  • Only 7% of what we communicate is thru words, 38 % comes thru voice, tone and inflection and 55% is the result of body language-physiology. ( facial expressions, gestures, posture)
  • Key- words work conscious mind, physiology works the unconscious mind (which one is more powerful?- unconscious mind creates the “bond” with you people that are appealing to you.
rapport stance
Rapport Stance
  • Stance should be alert, and confident, with open gestures.
  • There are five examples of posture. The legs are identical, all that changes is the positions of the arms, shoulders and angle of the head.

Can you tell which picture matches which description?

  • Ashamed, shy, not confident
  • Alert, confident, perhaps even aggressively so
  • Neutral, non-threatening
  • Disappointed, bored, uninterested
  • Defensive, threatening, challenging
dis arming skills
Dis-Arming Skills
  • To disarm’ involves A) the professional process of ‘being accepted’ by the customer or prospect as someone they feel will be interesting, potentially valuable and trustworthy
  • Build Credibility and Gain Trust- HOW???
  • critical that I get off to a good start, and to do this I use a combination of humor and some hard-hitting points about business success. This ‘launching’ stage is aimed at helping people to relax, to derive pleasure, to feel like they may get good ideas rather than some form of attack…or worse still, something boring and a carbon copy of what they have often heard before.
  • Become Objective- Translation- Be Real, good, bad or indifferent people like “real”- aka NO hidden Agenda!
dis arming skills1
Dis-Arming Skills

Try an occasional bit of disarming honesty

  • In routine interchanges, say something that the customer is not expecting. For example, when he says, "How are you?" instead of the perfunctory "Fine," try something like this: "Honestly, my day didn't get off to a good start. One of the kids was sick this morning, and I was a half hour late getting out of the house. How are you?"
  • It's disarming because it was unexpected. And, it's honest, reveals something about you, and describes a situation with which almost everyone can relate. A good way to build rapport.
dis arming skills2
Dis-Arming Skills


  • If you are one of those people who can make most people laugh most of the time, then you are equipped with a powerful rapport–building asset. There is something about laughing together that breaks down some of the barriers between people and removes some of the tension. It's a great way to build rapport.- If you not funny, then don’t try to be!
  • If you are not one of those people so gifted, then it's better to stay away from this. Telling a joke that nobody gets, or having a glib comment being seen as sarcastic or caustic is NOT a good way to build rapport.
dis arming skills3
Dis-Arming Skills

Ask a perceptive question

  • A perceptive question, asked with sincerity, does everything that a complement does and then some. When the complement doesn't call for any response from the customer, a question does. If done correctly, it can initiate the conversation and help the customer feel like you are interested and care about him.
  • In Recruiting we do this a lot…. What are you looking to avoid in your next career- its thought provoking and show’s a depth of wanted to understand!
dis arming skills4
Dis-Arming Skills

Indicate a personal connection- only if you can make it unique!

  • If you have something in common with the customer, mention it. You don't have to beat it to death, just mention it. When the customer discovers that you both know the same person, went to the same school, vacationed in the same place, or belong to the same organization, he realizes that you are alike in some ways. It's easier to do business with someone who is like you.
dis arming skills5
Dis-Arming Skills

Tell a short personal story- but you have to be skilled here. Be genuine and Interesting! That takes practice!

  • It doesn't have to be a major digression, but a short story about something personal is a great rapport builder. Something like this:
  • "Boy, I had a hard time getting here on time. I must have run over some glass or something sharp, because about half way here, my right front tire went flat. Took me a while to change it. Glad I made it on time."
  • That's short, it's personal, and it's a bit transparent because it reveals something about you, as a human being. And, it's something to which everyone can relate.
dis arm alarm charm and farm
Dis-Arm, Alarm, Charm and Farm!
  • Unacceptable behavior in selling at this initial stage is engaging in small talk or ‘going on’ about your company, what you do, etc., or asking inane questions, like ‘are you interested to look at what we can do for customers?’
  • Ideas for getting off to a good start in selling involve making it clear that you are not there to offer change, but to explore serious progress.
  • ‘To alarm’ involves the professional process of making the customer or prospect feel that they are missing out on benefits they would very much like to have…and what they need to have.
dis arm alarm charm and farm1
Dis-Arm, Alarm, Charm and Farm!
  • ‘To charm’ involves the professional and captivating process of showing how you can translate Need by uncovering pain in a Painless way! Charm is personality- if you don’t have one, rent one! Its all about having the confidence to be comfortable in front of anyone. Poised, unshakable and thoughtful!
  • To farm’ involves the professional process of sewing the ‘action seeds’ that will lead to mutual engagement and success…all of which must be acceptable and manageable to the customer, aimed at proving your case for filling a NEED!

Eve did not ask Adam to eat the apple or command him to eat it. She said “YOU will love this apple.” That’s why he bit!!

  • Persuasion must be based on “mutual gain” to WIN buy in.
  • Influence and persuasion- building rapport is just the first step to taking control and Leading/ Steering conversations without a hint on having leverage.- Powerful skill!
  • Persuasion is a process that enables you to change or reinforce others attitudes, opinions or behaviors
  • Persuasion is the skill to make a rational “case” by presenting information in a way that appeals to the fundamental human emotions- we buy on emotions!

The Blend of Art and Science

Art- requires the ability to establish trust and strong communication skills. Science- in that it hinges on the disciplined collection and analysis of information on human behavior.

  • Credibility- acquired expertise ( we the ones that are Licensed!)
  • Common Ground- Frame common goals (protecting your family) with specific benefits that meet “our” values!
  • Create “Compelling” need supported by personal real life examples (1st hand knowledge)
  • Emotional connection- Talented persuaders understand and connect with the feelings of their audience! You have to be in high “sensatory” mode!
how to banter with the best
How to banter with the best
  • Don’t hide behind euphemisms
  • Neat phrases make powerful weapons
  • Find phrases that have visual impact
  • Don’t be afraid of real words
  • Toilet paper vs. Bathroom tissue- what’s more appealing?
  • Rich vs. Wealthy- what do you want to be?
  • Don’t ever Sugar coat your thought- its selfish
  • Don’t use four letter words when perfectly decent five to six letter ones exist.
how to banter with the best1
How to banter with the best
  • Never let the phrase thank you stand naked and alone. Always make it thank you for something. People use the bare thank you so often that others don’t even hear it anymore.
  • Similarity breeds attraction
  • When you uncover common points of interest- don’t jump in let them enjoy talking about it. “Kill the Quick: “ME, TOO!”- Whenever you hear an interest you share let them enjoy discussing their passion. Then when the time is right casually mention you share their interest.
  • Patience = Poise in conversation
delivering value without selling
Delivering Value without Selling

Our members want a enrollment specialist to deliver a Need analysis

  • Be consultative and professional, someone who thinks on the fly and doesn’t use canned presentations. One who is honest and acknowledges potential product shortcomings, listens rather than tells, and is flexible.

Effective agents use three main tactics to provide value during a presentation:

  • They deal with business issues rather than product features.
  • They ask relevant questions and offer new perspectives- don’t box yourself into a dead end road- you’ve been down too many times before.
  • They demonstrate credibility by being Objective and not over-selling.

Be prepared, have some authority, and remember:

  • Think NEED, not Product & Price
  • Ideas, not canned presentation
  • Honesty, not exaggeration
work shop rapport building survival skills
Work-shop RapportBuilding Survival Skills

Single most important Skill to success in the field is Rapport skills- power of attraction!

  • Show comics from you tube… they spend weeks and months working on their material before they go on the road. Test it out on audience (small)…
  • How many key “catch phrases” do you have in the field… probably the same 4-5.. right? I bet so. Your comfortable, you get a reaction that’s predictable (usually a laugh) and it works.. these things build confidence ( all performers need to build confidence in the first 5 min)
  • Write then recite a personal story about yourself and tell it to a group of people
  • Practice being “comfortable in your own skin” facial inflection, body language its all about translating an air of confidence ( we work hard to avoid the hard pressing agent looking for a deal mentality”
  • Get Real – objective and unique!
work shop rapport building survival skills1
Work-shop RapportBuilding Survival Skills
  • 1st- have all your agents and managers read the phone book at your next agency meeting! Just pick out a name and address and read it aloud to everyone! (tone, emotion, inflection, passion and confidence. tempo is key- don’t be predictable.. Make it interesting!
  • Story-time: Telling me about….. Your most exciting day in the last year… we want our people to be adept and skilled at being Interesting! Its all practice.. You tell the same joke for a year and even the most dull (personality of a roof shingle) person can be compelling and exciting.
  • Overcome that objection- great role play exercise and must be done in group setting- confidence builder, but also your develop tempo, timing and ability to think on your feet without sounding scripted.
  • Public speaking at your agency meeting as a reward! Smaller group role plays on applying tactics to build rapport with different audiences (different members we see )
work shop rapport building survival skills2
Work-shop RapportBuilding Survival Skills
  • Practice Mimic and Mirroring others in your office. - Gestures, breathing patterns, eye contract, poise, voice, tonality, tempo, volume, Posture, habits and even beliefs! Then flip flop roles and have your partner mirror and Mimic – this is a subtle action that requires hours of practice to get really comfortable and proficient.
  • Subtle as you must be, it’s the exact science that trains someone’s unconscious mind to tell the conscious mind “ I like this person”.
  • Keys to mirror- Keen observations and personal flexibility of mind.
how people perceive communication
How people perceive communication
  • Generic- I understand you
  • Visual- I see your point, you painted a good picture
  • Auditory- I hear what your saying, loud and clear
  • Kinesthetic- I feel what your saying, I can grasp it.

Which one are you and more importantly which one is your audience.

The goal here is to be CONGRUENT with the person your trying to connect with.

work shop rapport building survival skills3
Work-shop RapportBuilding Survival Skills

Sales Training: Are the Sales Results Worth Your Money? Answer: Only if you drill it daily!

  • Is it possible that a significant percentage of the $8 billion spent on sales training in the U.S. every year is wasted? Here are results from several studies you may find interesting:
  • A study at Columbia University found that up to 95% of what is taught in training programs is wasted through a failure to transfer learning to the workplace.
  • A Xerox study several years ago showed that 87% of the knowledge learned in sales training is lost within 12 weeks.
  • In a recent Sales Performance International study, most sales professionals forget at least 50% of what they learned in training programs in less than five weeks. For over 44% of 6,000 sales professionals surveyed, they forget in less than one month. Further, salespeople only remember 16% of content from sales training workshops after only 90 days.
  • It's important to clarify the types of sales training. These studies and others show that skills-based and motivational sales training do not provide lasting results. Any sales training designed to impact our natural, ingrained behaviors, for any length of time, will usually fail. This is especially true if the opportunity does not exist for regular and repeated reinforcement of the skills . If the targeted skill to be developed is not correctly used (reinforced) on a daily basis, it is unlikely your behaviors or skill levels will change.
  • Next time you think about making an "investment" in skills-based or motivational sales training, be sure to remember that you need to drill it each and everyday! Until it becomes habit, engrained and part of your culture.