Once you have your prospect’s attention, you must create a feeling of rapport between yourself and your prospect before you attempt any real persuasion. In simple terms, this means that you have to get your prospect to like you and to trust you.
Rapport is the connecting link that allows communication to flow smoothly and easily between 2 people. When 2 people are ‘in rapport’, they open up and become more expressive. They respond to each other quicker and at a much deeper level. It’s almost as if they communicate on a spiritual level, a level beyond words, where every nuance of expression carries with it untold depths of meaning. They open up their subconscious minds to do more of the communicating, making subliminal persuasion so much easier.
Whenever you are working to persuade another person, the level of rapport between the two of you will determine how easily you’ll be able to persuade them. With zero rapport, persuasion will be nearly impossible. With great rapport, persuasion becomes an effortless process. In fact, with perfect rapport, persuasion becomes almost unnecessary. Simply suggest what you’d like your prospect to do, and they’ll do it.
Rapport is a natural experience when two people like and trust each other. Sometimes this happens spontaneously during the course of a 1st meeting, but generally it takes more time. As persuasion experts, we have to create rapport quickly, sometimes within moments.
Power persuaders know how to create rapport in an instant. Later in this book, we will cover the various techniques that you will be using to create rapport with those you wish to persuade. As you’ll see, it can be a fun and easy thing to do.
Rapport happens when your prospect both likes and trusts you. Both components have to exist before rapport takes place. It doesn’t matter how much your prospect likes you, if they don’t trust you, you won’t be persuading them to do anything. Same thing if they trust you but don’t like you. But when your prospect likes AND trusts you, then the door is open to persuade them to your way of thinking. Intimidation is another matter, however. While it’s possible to intimidate anyone to do as you want them to do, that’s not persuasion.
Luckily, as power persuaders, we can easily get people to like us and to trust us.
To get someone to like you, all you have to do is to be like that person and give them positive experiences. The guiding principle here is that people tend to like other people who are similar to themselves, and with whom they share experiences, especially intense ones.
Think about your own friends. They are your friends mostly because of shared interests or some other commonality that ties you together, such as shared experiences. Perhaps you’ve been working together for the same company for years, and over that time have grown to appreciate the personality behind the face. Maybe you live in the same neighborhood and have cooperated on various community projects, and in the process have discovered a strong inner character that you can respect. Or could it be that your friends are people who enjoy doing the same kinds of things that you also enjoy doing?
It’s the similarities and shared experiences that bond people together in friendships.
Of course, you can’t go to the extreme with this. If you try to become someone’s clone, they would recognize that you’re doing something unnatural, and the unnaturalness of it will ruin the effect and you’ll be out in the cold. It’s got to seem natural and spontaneous.
Power persuaders use a couple of techniques to subtly mimic selected characteristics of a person in order to create rapport. One technique is called “Mirroring & Matching”, and the other is called “Pacing”. By the time you’re done reading about these later in this course, you’ll know exactly how to use each one for the best effect.
Trust can be crafted just as easily. There’s a saying in sales circles that goes like this:
They don’t care how much you know,
until they know how much you care.
Until you communicate to your prospect that you care about their needs, everything you say is suspect and you’ll have a hard time persuading them to do anything. They will be constantly looking for the hidden catch. But once they know that you’re on their side and looking out for their interests, you’re no longer an adversary, but a trusted friend and partner.
The same situation comes up in other areas too, not just in sales. In relationships, for example, if the person you’re asking out on a date feels that you are only after your own interests, they simply won’t want to go out with you. But if they understand that you want to share a positive experience that both of you will enjoy, then your chances of getting that date go up dramatically.
When you’re trying to get your kids to obey the rules, you’ll have better luck when they know that the rules are in place to help them in some way, rather than just to make life easier for you.
And when you’re giving instructions to employees, those instructions will be followed more closely when your employees know that you’re working to make their jobs easier, more enjoyable, and more rewarding.
Of course, trust involves more than just communicating that you’re looking out for your prospect’s interests. You may have a perfectly valid reason for wanting to help your prospect, but if they question your character or your ability to deliver what you’re promising, you’re still swimming upstream.
Let’s say you’re a teacher with a class full of 12th graders. Even if they know that you’re working to help them earn more money after they graduate, if they don’t believe that the material you’re teaching them can actually do the job, the feeling of rapport will be missing.
Or maybe you’re a counselor who doesn’t take payment until your client has met their objectives. Rapport will not be established until that client feels that you can actually help them reach those objectives.