There is an adage in sales: “People buy from people that they like, know and trust”

Most of us have had this experience: We walk into a store see exactly what we want and get excited because it is on sale, but the shop assistant provides poor service and frustrates us we decide “No! I’m going to put this back on the shelf and not buy it”

The reality is we all sell. We sell our organisation, our product or service and most importantly ourselves.

So how do you get people to know you like you and trust you? I’ve given a lot of thought to this over the years and I came up with the rapport equation

Positive Interaction + Frequency

Here’s how it works

You meet someone for the first time, you help them with something, shout them a cappuccino or give them some useful advice. Now you have one strut in your report bridge. But in order to cross that bridge you going to need more struts to support your weight and this is where the frequency comes in. It is not enough to meet someone for the first time have a positive interaction and then rock up to their house on the weekend and say, “Hey we met on Wednesday, can I borrow your car?”

It’s the same with professional relationships; positive contact + frequency. Relationships take time and the best relationships are built on frequent positive interactions.

Rapport is like a suspension bridge. Each of the vertical cables represents a single positive interaction.

Once you have a strong rapport bridge you can then cross over and ask for the business. Be gentle with your report bridge, this is a relationship. Once you have built your bridge you can’t stomp over it continuously as this will damage your relationship and your rapport.  

However, a strong rapport bridge will carry you through difficult times. I had a client who was a personal finance manager. During the GFC her clients lost on average $100,000 from their portfolio. I asked her how many clients she lost as a result of this. Her reply was “None.” The reason for this was that she had developed a strong relationship with her clients, they realised this was not her fault and she was doing the best she could. And because they liked her, knew her and trusted her they chose to stay with her and her business.

Think about your workplace who do you need to build a rapport bridge with? There may be people outside of your department that you rely on. Can you make time for coffee catch up? Is there something you can help them with? When was the last time you sent a thank you note?

Maybe it’s a small thing, like spending five minutes saying hello to people when you arrive at work. All these little things build rapport and people get to know you, like you and trust you.

Easy peasy and you can start today.

And if you or your team need to know more – call me, I’m here to help!


Sharon Ferrier
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