Home > Social Influence > Rapport Idea #4: Communication Styles

Rapport Idea #4: Communication Styles

Idea #4 for building and maintaining rapport;
  • Match communication styles.
Q1): What does that mean to you?
Q2): Do you think this will help to build/strengthen rapport? - by Milton
To me this means if the prospect likes to get down to business then don't dawdle. I think this would definately help. - by Mikey
:sl Any other opinions? - by Milton
To me this means if the prospect likes to get down to business then don't dawdle.
Or if she talks fast then don't talk slow and the reverse. It drives me crazy when people talk too slow - or drive slow for that matter. ;st - by Calvin
The other person will probably be pretty clear on the way they want the conversation to go. If they're asking you what you think of the flowers around the yard, they won't warm up to a sale if you give a "yeah, yeah, nice, now here's my product." If you take a few moments to admire what they're doing or really listen to what they're saying, now that's what matching communicatin style means to me... the other way is if he or she seems to want to dig right in to the matter, go for it.

- Des - by destiny
Or if she talks fast then don't talk slow and the reverse. It drives me crazy when people talk too slow - or drive slow for that matter. ;st

Also listen to the words that they use do they use visual, auditory, kinesetic, olfacotry or gustory. (use the same)

Also listen to if they are a towards or away from person. (use the same)

There are other ways to listen also listed in the meta model.

Great question, I just don't think anyone without the trainnig will really understand what we are talking about though msnwnk; - by Jorel
Absolutely! I have customers that ask me advice all the time that doesn't pertain to me selling anything. We discuss nothing but the kids for 15 minutes, then we spend 5-10 minutes discussing the sale/product/need etc. I have several "customers" that I spend time with on the weekends with our families because we like to be around each other. People buy from people they like! So you need to like people if you're going to be in sales! - by bok6104

I have this theory that liking someone isn't enough (well its not really mine i just kind of endorse it). I think you only buy from someone you trust and i don't necessarily trust everyone i like, if you get my drift. I've got a friend who I like but i wouldn't buy any of his products or services because i don't trust him in a business context
Hope this makes sense. - by marky

Good question. I take matching communication styles as meaning identifying the preferred communication style of the customer and matching it. there are several communication models that explain and detail how to do this. Most are based around the theory that there are 4 styles of behaviour and each has a linked preference for style of communication. mikey mentions the guy who likes to get straight down to business, so with that type you may be quite direct and to the point. bok6104 mentions the person who chats for 20 minutes about his / her family, if you're too direct here, you'll not hit the prospects hot buttons for communication preference.
Hope this helps - by marky
Personally, I don't think rapport is built until our customers come to a realization that says; "Hey ... this guy/gal really knows what they our talking about". Everything up to that point is casual conversation, small talk and it's necessary just to become familiar with one another. We do this with anyone we meet, not just selling situations.

I believe that words have meaning and the word rapport is defined as a "Harmonious relationship".

A harmonious relationship is much more than chitchat.

As salespeople we have a responsibility to our customers, our employer and ourselves to become Professional salespeople.

Our sales skills will improve with experience, training and by doing what we are all doing here, learning. Once a true professional asks thoughtful questions that expose customer needs and means, continues with a professional, informative presentation based on the customers conditions and exceeds their expectations; then "rapport as a harmonious relationship" is built.

Greg - by Gregoire
A harmonious relationship is much more than chitchat.
There you have it! Thank you! thmbp2; - by AZBroker
This is a long post, but for me the subject is important. Rapport=Harmony. So what is harmony? In music, it’s the deep, resonant concord between at least two separate notes. When you get agreement between two identical notes, that’s called unison. By analogy then, rapport in humans is the concord between two separate people who, in deep, usually subconscious ways, resonate with each other.

“Rapport” is also an exhaustively studied psychological term that describes the congruence between two people’s largely unconscious living “rhythms” – such as breathing, vocal tone, and body posture. This study evolved into Neurolinguistic Programming – an ugly term, and a practical disaster when untrained people attempt to use it.

So when I hear “rapport” denigrated as the “social chit chat” that precedes the “serious” business conversation, I get a little troubled. Do some people prefer to “skip the chit chat” and get right to business? Sure. Do some people wait until they feel emotionally comfortable with a stranger before they’re willing to discuss anything serious? Sure, again. Do some people engage in social pleasantries but still operate behind a wall of professional reserve until they believe they can trust the other person? Right the third time. Do some people bury their feelings because they believe "business" should be about logic, facts, etc? That too. (But of course, something buried usually rots.)

The fundamental differences in people’s preferred style of being and interacting have been analyzed since Carl Jung, yielding an alphabet soup of different instruments that measure how we are both unique and similar: DiSC, MBTI, FIRO, etc. When I work with salespeople in social style workshops, the overwhelmingly constant response is acknowledgement – “I am like that. And we’re different, in ways that matter − or similar.”

We run the risk of both misusing and misunderstanding rapport when we view it solely through our value system and style preferences (which seems to have been happening in some of the previous posts.) “Drivers” (to use Larry Wilson’s terms) see “rapport” as irrelevant to the purpose. “Amiables” see it as essential. With a “Driver,” I’m crisp and business like. With an “Amiable,” I’m looser and more sociable – because that’s what makes them comfortable and starts the process of developing trust and rapport.

Then this final thought (and apologies, again for a long post.) Play with the idea that we like people whom we feel (subconsciously) like us. We trust people whom we feeltrust us, and we are open with people who are open with us.
Thanks for reading
- by tom behr
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