Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you. Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you.

This is called “rapport” in its truest sense- Opines Hirav Shah, Eminent Business Adviser, Coach, Entrepreneur, Strategist and Astrologer.

HIrav Shah explains- At its core, selling is about turning leads into prospects and prospects into customers. Sounds simple, right? Not so much. In fact, the closer you get to closing the deal, the tougher it gets and the more you need to be on top of your sales game. But before you can move that prospect deeper into the sales funnel and closer to conversion, you’ll need a solid foundation — a foundation on which you can build a solid and sustainable professional relationship. Building that kind of relationship begins with establishing rapport.

On that note, Hirav Shah outlines a complete guide as to how to establish rapport.

1.Effective Listening

Good listening shows respect and interest and is a rare skill; so do it well, and you will be remembered. Practice active listening. Give the person your full attention. No checking your phone for messages or gazing around the room for someone more interesting. Don’t think about how to respond or compose your next statement while the person is still talking. Nothing will derail you faster than showing that you are not listening. It’s disrespectful. Imagine how you would feel.

When you’re sure that they have finished speaking, take a moment to absorb what’s been said and consider your response. Ask follow-up questions.

2.Ask Pertinent Questions

Don’t launch into a prepared speech right away. Ask pertinent questions based on your research — not about personal things (their family or home life) unless they raise the subject, since they could find it intrusive. Take your cues from them. By asking questions, you will learn valuable information about what’s important to them, which you can tap into later.

You’ll likely find this easier to do when you see it as an exercise in gathering intelligence. Be interested in them. Ask them questions about themselves, such as, “I’m interested in what you do. Can you tell me more?” or say, “I’d love to hear more about your path and how you arrived in your position.” Find out about their values (what is important to them). Ask what’s important to them about their job, the people they work with or a project they’re working on.

3. Do “fact-finding” & Research

If you’re attending an event and have some idea who you will see there, or you know who you’re meeting, do some research on them beforehand. Knowing something about them will help you connect. Pick up clues about how best to engage with them by tapping into their values, passions and interests, and prove that you’ve shown an interest.

Search the internet and social media for any information available about them. Find out their interests and achievements or what drives them and motivates them either personally or professionally.

Using this information, plan some questions or comments that invite them to engage with you: Talk about a recent conference where they presented, or ask them to tell you more about their position on a topic. Or say something like, “I understand you are interested in X. I’d love to hear more.”

4.Check Your Frame Of Mind & Disposition

Have an open and curious mindset, and frame every encounter as a dialogue or conversation. If you are unconfident or worried about what you can bring to the conversation, remind yourself of your value and what you offer. Remember that you have much to add to an encounter. Jot down what you bring to the conversation (e.g., fresh ideas, technical skills and your unique perspective — from your own culture, as an introvert, etc.). It is important that you believe in yourself and your goal, so work on your mindset before any meeting.

Focus on being the channel for your message. Since you have important things to say, say them. Otherwise, they might go unsaid. If not you, then who?

5. Be Real With Them

The best way to build rapport with prospects is to be real. Today many people are working remotely and working remotely is as real as it gets. The pandemic is an instant icebreaker. We are all living through the same bigger picture, although experiencing individual journeys. We instantly understand the additional stresses of working from home with other people in the house or no one in the house. Empathy can quickly build trust.

6.Find Mutuality

Finding mutuality and a common ground is always a good rapport builder, regardless of whether or not it’s remote. Do research on people and/or the company you’re talking with and find the points that connect you. Do you like the same sports, do you know the same people or do you work with similar companies? Did you attend the same college? Did they win an award you can discuss? You can always find a connection of some kind. A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality. That’s what is called a real real connection.

Final Thoughts :

“Humanise the communication.
Humanise the conversation.
Humanise the conveying and presenting” – Advises Hirav Shah.

That’s the trick, says Shah. Taking a “human first, business second” approach appears quite easy, however during business conversations with target and outcome pressures, the natural focus of the discussion dives right into business. Taking a deep pause before the conversation and understanding the person on the other side can drive a discussion to a different level and can result in a “lifetime rapport”, HIrav Shah Concludes…