Rapport, Relationship, Connection, and Communication

I’ve had lots of sales-related conversations with clients lately, talking about closing, presenting, and overcoming objections. While all these aspects are important, ultimately our conversations circle back to one thing; effective sales often comes down to your ability to effectively communicate with the person across from you. Taking it a step further, your ability to have a good conversation, to establish rapport, and ultimately to build a relationship is dependent on your ability to communicate with the person on the other side of the table, the phone line, or the email.

People tend to believe that the most crucial aspect in communication is content; the words we use. While words certainly do matter, content actually only makes up about 7% of communication. The other 93% comes from tone, posture, pace, energy and other non-verbals. The way you present yourself, the way you approach communication from a physical standpoint, has an overwhelming effect on the outcome.

We all have a natural communication and behavior style with which we are most comfortable; it is the way we see ourselves and the way we present ourselves to the world. While you are comfortable with your style, not everyone is. Some styles simply do not match up. Think of a time when you met someone and it just “clicked.” The conversation was easy and engaging, and the rapport occurred naturally. Chances are your two natural communication styles matched up. Compare that to a time when a conversation was difficult, when you and the other person could simply not get on the same page; in that case, your styles may have been in conflict.

You may see conflict in up to 75% of the conversations you have. The key to overcoming these conflicts is to adapt your style to better suit the style of the person across from you. Think of it as the Golden Rule of Communication; communicate with others as they want to be communicated to. If you meet someone who is enthusiastic and emotional, then get excited!(!!!) If the person is more reserved, back off and use a quieter, softer tone. Is she direct, concise, factual? You are better off keeping things short rather than expounding on long stories. If he a two-hand, clap you on the shoulder, bro-hug guy? If so, even if you are not, suck it up and go in for the real thing. The key to a good conversation (and a better chance at a positive outcome in a sales situation) is in recognizing and adapting to the style of the person across from you. We all do this naturally; humans tend to mimic the behaviors of those around them, but the process takes time. If you can recognize and adapt early, it will make that first interaction more comfortable.

I’ve found huge value in DISC assessments as a tool to teach more effective communication. DISC examines the four main communication styles—Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance—and how an individual’s style fits into that spectrum. It breaks down one’s unique communication style, where that style can be effective, and where problems may crop up. More importantly, it teaches how to recognize others’ styles and adapt to better fit those styles, allowing for more effective communication. If you are interested in learning more, comment below or send me a message and let’s have a conversation! If you are interested in diving in with both feet, come to my Communication Breakthrough Workshop on September 18th.

Good communication is about making a connection, establishing rapport, and building relationships. The more quickly you can adapt to someone’s style and make that connection, the more effective a communicator (and possibly, the better salesperson) you will be.


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