7 Rapport Building Secrets That Make People Like You More

Have you ever wondered how to get past small talk when meeting someone new? Have you ever questioned how to build rapport with someone you have nothing in common with? Do you want to know the secret to getting to know people on a deeper level? If you answered yes to any of those questions, it’s time to learn the art of building rapport.

Rapport gives you power for connecting with people successfully, and learning how to build rapport doesn’t just help you at networking events; you can use rapport building skills in many ways!

You can use rapport building skills during interviews, performance reviews and when asking for promotions. Most companies are looking to hire people who get along well with others. If you’re able to build rapport easily, you will be considered a better candidate for promotion, because they know you will be liked by your team.

You can use rapport building skills to develop higher levels of influence. The more rapport you have with someone, the more influence you’ll have over them. As a manager, team member or a sales professional seeking to sell your ideas or products to people, influence is a must!

You can use rapport building skills to establish trust with others. People tend to trust people who are like themselves. That may not sound pretty, but that’s reality. In order to build trust, you need to first build rapport so that people feel safe to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas with you.

No matter what your goal is with people, building rapport will help open the doors for you.

Here are 7 Rapport Building Secrets That Make People Like You More

1. Find Common Ground. I once had a customer that wanted to go sky diving. Few of us are brave enough to take that risk in life, and I had been sky diving twice, so I was able to offer ideas on which company was the best in our area. Having that in common helped me to connect with that customer instantly and start building a relationship with them.

TIP: To find common ground, simply ask people questions. The more you learn about someone, the greater your chances are to find a commonality between the two of you.

2. Use humor to connect with others. Laughing together builds a harmonious connection, and it creates an experience for people to have together. (Don’t worry, if you’re not funny, look up a couple jokes before you go to work or an event, and have them ready to inject into conversation.)

TIP: Never aim your jokes at other people. That will repel them away, instead of attract them to you. Self deprecating humor, on the other hand, can be quite funny!

3. Empathize with people. Empathy is simply the ability to step into someone else’s shoes. I remember trying to make a grocery clerk smile one time. It was obvious she was having a hard day, so I started by saying, “I’ve had a long day as well.” After that, she was open to listening to me and yes… by the time I left she was smiling!

TIP: When you empathize with others, you go from you and me… to WE.

4. Use their name. Dale Carnegie once said, “The sweetest sound to a person is the sound of their own name”, but have you ever forgotten someone’s name only seconds after you met them? That isn’t because you have the memory of a carrot. It’s simply because you didn’t make a conscious effort to remember it. People feel special when you use their name. Have a goal to make everyone you meet feel like a VIP by using their name more often.

TIP: Next time you meet someone, say their name 3 times while speaking to them. That way you increase your chances of remembering it and make them feel special at the same time!

5. Match their words. Words have tremendous power. Simply by matching someone’s words you can build rapport with them subconsciously; but you will want to be mindful of which words you use. Sometimes words work in your favor and other times they can work against you. Let’s say someone uses the word “Fantastic”, so you use the word “Excellent”, thinking that you’re matching what they’ve said. Excellent may not have the same meaning to them. They may have a boss they despise who uses the word “Excellent” sarcastically, and it makes them cringe when they hear it.

TIP: If you want to build rapport with others by using words, make sure you’re using the exact words they use.

6. Match their pace. Have you ever been on a walk with a loved one and you look down and notice that you’re walking on the same foot at the same time? That’s because you have developed an intimate relationship with them and your pace naturally syncs together. Next time you’re walking in the hallway with a co-worker or manager, try matching their walking pace. People will start to feel more connected to you and they won’t even know why.

TIP: This also applies to when someone is speaking. Some of us are fast paced and others are slower paced. There’s a rapport that develops on a deeper level when you’re able to match someone’s speaking pace as well as their walking pace.

7. Mirror their body language. Another way to connect with people on a subconscious level is to match their movement. If someone has their hand on their hip, put your hand on your hip. If they’re animated with their hands while they’re speaking, be animated with yours.

TIP: The trick here is that it must feel natural when you’re mirroring them, or else they will be able to sense that you’re being inauthentic.

Successful relationships are born through successful connections, and after learning how to build rapport effectively, you will have permission to connect and influence others at a deeper level.

Customer Service – Taking What You’re Doing From “Good” to “Great”

Or maybe even Exceptional!
We recognize bad customer service right away, it’s like a flashing beacon. We tell all our friends and colleagues about bad customer service, and the story spreads like wildfire. Let me share a recent experience with you, I’ll keep it short, but it’s utterly hilarious.

I just purchased a new BBQ pit, this thing is beautiful! I knew that assembling it was beyond my capabilities, so I hired someone to do it for me (I’m the queen at knowing what I do REALLY well, and what should be done by a pro!).

Now, I’m not saying that this professional assembled the pit wrong, it may have been that an incorrect part was shipped, but either way, the darn thing wouldn’t light. I called the company I bought it from, and kept getting passed around until I ended up at the manufacturer (it actually took 22 individual calls to get there). After a very long conversation about the color of the wires on the ignition switch (that were yellow, even though they INSISTED that yellow was the one color they cannot be!) I convinced them to send me a new ignition switch. Ten days later I received a shipment from them, opened the box, and found a set of BBQ tongs. Not an ignition switch, but tongs.

So, there’s bad customer service, in fact I’ll go as far as to say bad customer “experience”.

Someone along the line dropped the ball here, and trying to figure out “who” is an exercise in futility. What this does prove is that customer service is a part of every role within your company, from the moment you answer the phone, until the experience is completed (which includes putting the right part in the box that ships out the door). Where did this training go wrong?

Here are out tips for taking your customer service from good to great (and not shipping BBQ tongs!):

Create a company culture that is clear to your staff. Do they know the experience that you want to create for your customers/clients? Does their mindset align with your desired outcomes? Remember, hiring someone isn’t just about skills, it’s about goodness of fit.

Set clear objections and measurable outcomes. How long should an email sit in an inbox? How long should a caller be left on hold? Are all emails acknowledged, even if they can’t be resolved right away? Do you have a clear training process that outlines how long an acknowledgement would take? If you do, are you measuring it?

Does your staff understand the difference between escalation and collaboration? Many times, your customer service support is hesitant to “escalate” a case they’re unable to handle because they feel it’s resolvable, but are missing information that they would like to learn. So, it’s not escalation they’re looking for, but an avenue for collaboration within the team. Do you have a shared workspace where team members can communicate, ask questions, and learn from each other? Is there a shared knowledge base where collaboration can freely occur? Does your team know where to go for extra guidance?

Does your staff really know the product/service you provide? Frequently bad customer service is due to a lack of information. If you offer consulting services, train your staff on what the experience is like for your clients. Walk them through what your client feels, so they can understand the mindset of your clients, and respond appropriately. Great training, and continued training, is essential for your team to become involved and passionate about the experience they are helping to create.

Customer service doesn’t end when the experience ends. Great customer service includes follow up emails or personal notes to say thank you. Always keep communication open with former clients, you could learn a lot about what additional services you could provide to continue supporting them, but they are also your best source of referrals. Stay at the top of their mind with ongoing customer care.

And of course, remind your team to listen and to respond with respect.

Customer service doesn’t end when an issue is seemingly resolved (I’m still waiting for my new ignition switch). It ends when a positive outcome is achieved, and your client walks away feeling acknowledged.

I’m still trying to figure out how to fix my BBQ pit with my new tongs! Wish me luck!

How to Manage A Difficult Client

When I went out on my own as a Solopreneur marketing consultant, my debut project was with a client who was a terrible human being and as a result, the experience was a difficult one. I did the best that I could to satisfy client expectations that were completely unreasonable in the context of the limited time-table and budget allotted.

I quickly acknowledged the rookie client management mistakes I had made, chiefly, failing to confirm in writing the complete project specifications, time-table and budget. I also learned how to recognize prospects who might have the potential to become bad clients (not a fool-proof science, but it remains helpful to this day).

Furthermore, I now have the inner strength to fire a bad client, because they just aren’t worth the money. If you find yourself in an assignment and client neuroses suddenly emerge, you’ll need tactics that will help you exercise some measure of control over the situation and preserve your dignity and sanity and perhaps even the client relationship as well. Presented here are two examples of difficult client behavior.

The nit-picker

There are two types: one who is willing to pay for the time it takes to second-guess your work and those that want to abuse your time. The only good thing about a nit-picker is that s/he can make you more precise in your work.

Setting boundaries is the preferred defense, but be advised that a client has every right and in fact a responsibility to scrutinize your work, especially if this is your first project together. If your nit-picker client is OK with paying extra, then pretend to welcome his/her suggestions and involvement. Call it a lesson in meeting or exceeding client expectations and building trust. Maybe the exacting attitude is rooted in a previous bad experience? Reassure the client that getting the job done right is your goal, too.

If your nit-picker does not want to pay extra for the second-guessing, then apply boundaries. Allow at no extra charge two revisions of your work and make it clear that beyond that, there will be a surcharge for your services. Consider declining future projects offered by this individual. Going forward, write into the contract a surcharge for revisions that you would find excessive.

The meeting maven

Meetings are useful in that stakeholders can convene to discuss the progress of the project and make any desired refinements along the way, while verifying that milestones will be met. Progress meetings can be held periodically, but too many are a waste of time.

In the project specs meeting, it is useful to address the subject of progress meetings and suggest tying them to project milestones. Include meeting time in your project fee. It’s difficult to address the number of meetings after the fact if you encounter a meeting maven who thinks that you should not be paid extra, or who likes to stretch meetings out to much longer than necessary.

That client has you by the short hairs if numerous meetings are demanded, or pre-scheduled meetings drag on. You may need to decline future projects and chalk it up to a lesson learned. Going forward, anticipate the need to meet and discuss it beforehand. Some long meetings may be beneficial to you as well as the client, but make it known that you will be paid.