It is said that great leaders possess natural empathy and this is certainly one of the greatest sales skills there is.
One of the core elements in Kirsty Spraggon’s book Work as if you own it focuses on opening relationships. This excerpt from the book shows how EQ (as opposed to IQ) can be used to build rapport which you can use in everyday situations such as networking events, when pitching for a new management or when speaking with existing clients.
With all the changes going on in the current market place there has been increased pressure on Property Managers; pressures like learning new regulations, having to increase the rent roll and dealing with more and more demanding landlords.
One of the most important skills we can develop to deal with all of these challenges is our ‘emotional intelligence’. Research suggests that IQ only determines 20 per cent of our chances for success. The other 80 per cent is made up of things like social skills, interpersonal skills such as problem solving and emotional intelligence – which is our ability to connect and build rapport, to have empathy and understanding for others. I believe these are the most important skills we can develop and they assist us in all areas of our lives. What could be more important in life than our ability to build relationships?
Rapport is said to be one of the most important characteristics of unconscious human interaction. It means having a commonality of perspective; being ‘in sync’ and ‘on the same wavelength’ as the person with whom you are talking.
Some important core elements of rapport include:
Rapport stems from a person feeling that you care enough to understand their world. It is often said that people do business with people they like or who are like them. If you had the choice between someone like you (calm, effective, in control) or someone
completely the opposite (overly loud, extreme high energy,unreliable) who would you feel more inclined to do business with and to trust? The person matching and mirroring your own personal style or the one completely disregarding it and doing their own thing?
Building rapport doesn’t take long when it’s done correctly and with integrity. What I mean by this is that I genuinely like people and the art of rapport building came naturally to me from a very young age. My granddad is originally from Italy and speaks fairly poor English and my best friend immigrated to Australia from China when she was just eight years old. Because of this I think I automatically picked up on how to help people with whom I could not always converse fluently with to feel comfortable. I spoke more slowly and I learned how to ‘mirror’ and ‘pace’ their tone. This is just one way of being sympathetic and understanding to people’s needs so that they know you really care about them. Underneath the superficial surface differences, we human beings are all so alike really. I find it really helps to remember this and think about how you would be feeling and what you would need to feel comfortable if you were in the other person’s shoes.
It is said that great leaders possess natural empathy and this is certainly one of the greatest sales skills there is. Having empathy is really all about getting into the other person’s state of mind and understanding their world. Imagine for a moment how you would feel if you had just met a tradesman and they were quoting on, say, finishing your basement. How would you feel if they took no time to establish rapport and started making assumptions about what your needs were? It’s so important when initially dealing with a new client that you spend time establishing rapport. Put simply: you need to get to know them before you ask them for anything – including business or referrals. Think of it as kind of like when you start dating.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
- You cannot ask for anything unless you’re ‘in rapport’ and;
- You cannot be in rapport unless you have first ‘paced’ them.
THE ART OF PACING
The definition of pace is ‘to advance at a particular rate or tempo’ and the art of pacing is described as ‘being as like your client as possible’.
As I said before, people do business with people they like and people who are like them. There are a number of ‘pacing’ techniques you can use in order to be more like your clients, and ‘mirroring’ behaviours you can adopt to reflect that which feels safe and familiar back at them.
METHODS OF PACING
- eye contact
- facial expressions
- body language/gestures (mirroring)
Subtle / More Advanced
- energy (high/low)
- breathing (speed/depth)
- vocal (auditory range/volume)
Some examples of how you might use some of these techniques in an initial meeting or rapport-building phase are:
- to find a common interest you can talk about;
- to allow and encourage the other person to speak about themselves (most people love to);
- to ask the other person about what is important to them (their values, goals, beliefs, ambitions, passions);
- to practice matching the other person’s tone of voice, level of enthusiasm and volume to show you’re ‘in tune’ with them;
- mirror (copy/reflect) the other person’s physical posture or stance.
Building great rapport really just comes down to being very aware of how people are ‘being’ (standing, talking, moving, gesturing) and using this information to get to know and connect with them on a more subtle level.
Often you will have as little as just five minutes to make a good first impression – and considering that 55 per cent of how you’re judged comes down to how you behave (body language) and not what you say, that is quite a lot of pressure to take on board. I knew
I had to be able to slip quickly and subtly into mirroring and pacing many different types of people, from Doctors and Builders to Lawyers and Chefs; from Farmers and Fitness Instructors to Bankers and Retirees. In those first few moments of connecting with a new person, what you’re not saying is often even more important than what you are saying.
QUICK SNAPSHOT OF A PRESENTATION
- Build rapport – if you’re not in rapport don’t ask for anything;
- Listen and be present – not just waiting for your turn to talk;
- Give advice freely – take time to genuinely care;
- Take an interest – by asking lots of relevant questions;
- Understand their needs – and respond accordingly;
- Speak to their values – so they understand ‘why you’;
- Be natural – not fake or scripted.