Building Rapport With Your Prospects
Who are the people in your life you actually take advice from?
You would probably say your friends, relatives, and mentors – people you respect and have good relationships with. More importantly, people you trust.
Well, doesn't the same reasoning apply to companies you buy from? Aren't you more willing to purchase a product from an expert or a brand you know and trust?
It takes time for a company to build that kind of a relationship with prospects, mostly due to how extreme competition is. But also because the internet allows for highly impersonal relationships.
Your job as an Expertpreneur™ is not only to create products and services that truly help people, but also to become an advisor and friend to them. You want to have real relationships founded in trust and understanding.
Not only will it result in better sales, but you will enjoy your work a lot more. The deep satisfaction that comes from truly connecting with those you are helping is second to none.
But to get there, you have to step outside of the box. And you have to nurture your relationships both online and off.
Today, you'll learn why trying to get every business card at an event will leave you empty handed…
How to speak to guarantee a captivated audience from beginning to end…
And very specific words with the power to bypass even the strongest barriers.
Networking the Right Way
I'm going to get this out of the way right away; to succeed at building rapport, you have to be genuine.
There's a myth that networkers are all wheeler-dealer types who are just trying to work their way to the most important person in the room. They don't care about anyone else; they are on a mission.
And I'd say, it's half right.
Smart networkers do have a mission with their networking. They know who they want to meet and why, and they focus on that goal at whatever event they are attending.
Where the myth may be wrong, is in believing they don't care. Because those who don't actually care sink very quickly. I think it's safe to say that most people can see right through “fakeness.” It may take time, but it always comes to light.
Good networkers care deeply about others, and want to know all about them. And that is how you can differentiate yourself from the pack.
You see, there is a real art to networking. It's not about spouting all about your successes and your business to whatever poor soul you trap. Nor is it about collecting as many business cards as humanly possible before the event is over.
If you focus on those things, you will fail.
Building rapport involves planning and really good listening skills. You need to know what exactly it is you want to accomplish at the event you are attending. Are you looking for people who might be interested in your products? Are you looking for potential business partners?
Deciding this before you get to the event allows you to prepare your elevator speech for when the subject shifts to you. You must be able to answer, “What do you do?”
But you cannot talk about that until you've gone through the more important part of the discussion first: asking about them.
Regardless of who you are talking to, you need to take an honest and sincere interest in them. Find out about who they are, where they come from. Ask about their family and their work life. Ultimately, you want to find common ground.
Our society today is too cursory and insincere. We ask “how are you?”, but don't really want to hear the answer. We're lucky if we exchange two real sentences.
You need to step beyond that. You have to be the person who actually cares. There's common ground everywhere; if you can find it and talk about it, they will remember you.
And you never know how that will pay off in the long run. Because when you ultimately get to your elevator pitch, and the person you’re talking to already feels a connection with you, then they’ll be more interested in you and what you do. And even if what you provide isn’t a fit for them, they may happily introduce you to someone else at the event that they feel could benefit from what you offer. This will only happen though, if you’ve built a connection and shown a sincere interest in them.
Connecting Through Speaking
You can develop a strong rapport even if you aren't speaking one-on-one.
I'm sure you can recall a time you saw a presentation where you felt you really knew that person by the end of the speech. Without exchanging a word!
Much like networking, there is an art to delivering a great presentation. Mastering it allows you to create a personal connection with your audience, regardless of how many people are there.
For example, simply making eye contact creates a connection. Look slowly and deliberately at small groups, anywhere from four to ten people. You don't have to stare, but take a moment with each one.
Each individual in the group will feel like you are looking at them.
Also, as I've expressed in previous articles, telling a story works wonders for relating to your audience. If they've had a similar experience, they will immediately be on your wavelength and feel personally connected.
And with storytelling comes the real “music” of your presentation – rhythm, highs and lows, varying tempos – all drawing them in further. It's like putting on a one-man show, except connecting your audience with yourself and not a character.
Do it well, and they will hang onto your every word.
Speaking takes a lot of practice to perfect. However, there is one small trick you can incorporate into not just presentations, but all of your materials, that will improve your ability to connect tenfold…
Appealing to Ego
“Ego” is quite the loaded word. It implies how we view ourselves, for better or for worse.
What's great about it, though, is you can very easily connect to others by just being aware of how they view themselves. And being sure to address them that way.
Basically, when you create marketing materials or talk to a crowd, you need to know who you are talking to. That certainly isn't anything new; we've talked about prospect research many times before.
However, what you call them – or the “egoic label” – can have an immediate effect of connecting, completely bypassing the barriers many prospects put up.
Think about it. Let's say someone was up in the front of a room giving a speech, and they said, “people today have a lot of trouble building their businesses.” Yes, that's true, but people could be anyone. They are not talking to anyone directly.
Your eyes glaze over.
Now, if they said “Experts today have a lot of trouble building their businesses,” then you may nod along and think “yeah, we sure do.” And suddenly you are engaged in what they have to say.
One of the reasons I created the term Expertpreneur™ was because I wanted a word that encompassed everything you are – an expert and an entrepreneur. And even though it's not a real word, you know exactly what it means and who it includes, right?
Well, you should find a word that fits the ideal prospects for your business, too. It can be as simple as “life coach” or even something made up, but it has to be clear and direct.
By doing so, you will build an immediate bridge to your prospect, creating a strong rapport from the start. And you will find it much easier to grab and maintain their attention, no matter what the medium is.
Becoming a Friend
An Expertpreneur™ becomes a true confidant when they transcend being a “business owner” and are a friend.
People crave the personal care and attention of others. It is integral to our happiness and greatly affects our decision making. And frankly, on our end, it makes our work more enjoyable.
Despite the world going largely digital, and the ability to hide behind a website, social media has really brought back the “personal” focus of communication. So even if you hate going to live events, you can take the extra time to talk with your customers and make sure they get to know you.
Share stories, answer their questions in a video, even chat on the phone – your efforts will pay you back in the long run.
No matter what, think about how you can implement these ideas into your business. They will make it a more fulfilling experience, and earn you a lot more money down the road.