In NLP (and life), it all starts with Rapport.
Getting into DEEP levels of rapport with the person you are communicating with. NLP was originally built for use for clinical psychological work. To formulate NLP, the founder meticulously studied people who were curing phobias and things like alcoholism in single appointments.
Yep, you read that right.
And the core thing they learned is that it ALL comes from rapport. The more that the people you are working with are like you, are similar to you, and think the way you think the more likely that they will do what you want. In sales and office environments, we have been learning for years to have small talk conversations with people to build rapport.
That’s surface level, amateur hour stuff y’all. Sorry. REAL rapport is at away different level. You ready for some deep shit?
REAL rapport is at the unconscious level.
You know how we always hear that “we only use 10% of our brain”? Not true. Our conscious mind uses 10%. Our unconscious mind uses it all. It sees everything and it runs everything. It takes something like 127 muscles to raise your index finger up and touch your nose. You think your conscious mind could process all of that and still remember to breathe??
Want more proof? Ok, here’s a fun one. Both of your eyes can see your nose at all times where you are looking even vaguely forward. Without anybody telling you, your brain decided way early “I don’t need to watch this” and deletes it for the rest of your life. Until you read that…sorry.
Back to our point: Real Rapport comes in the unconscious. We all have the same answer for who the one person on the planet that we trust the most: Ourselves. So we have a tendency to trust the things most like ourselves. So, when building rapport going forward, consider these other things:
- Tone of voice: Speak to the person you are communicating with is a similar tone of voice. Don’t mock them, of course. God I hope I don’t have to say that. But adjust your natural voice up a bit for the sake of the customer. This often goes hand in hand with
- Speak in a tempo that is similar to that of your customer. Dr. Matt James had a great story for this. He relayed an earlier experience he had as a fired up young man. He was trying to sell something to an older gentleman in the deep south. Matt was young and fired up and bouncing info off of the prospect. To which the client was answering in extremely slow…….low……and measured……….tones…….and tempos. Finally, at one point, the Southerner asked Matt “Young man, do you hear ….the way….I am speaking with you…..today?” Matt replied “yes sir” thinking “and it’s driving me nuts.” To which the man replied, “Well, young man…….that’s the speed I’m listening to you too.”
- If communicating with someone in person, match and/or mirror their body language. Again, don’t mimic!!!
Let me paint you a picture: You are in a huge hurry to get something done, when you suddenly realize that it’s going to require the assistance of a co-worker or vendor. Because this project or task is super important (to you), you go rushing in to their desk and sit on the edge of your seat telling them what you need them to do. To which they promptly lean back in their chair, swivel over to their work station and start typing.
How does that make you feel about their effort to be on your team? Does it seem like they are looking out for you? Ummmm, probably not.
Here’s the thing: You don’t know them or how they work. What if they have a back issue and the reclined posture is how they work faster. You don’t KNOW that having them sitting on the edge of seat with an upright posture (like yours) would actually generate a faster or better output.
Same thing if you are mulling your options at the car dealership and the car guy is leaning 3/4 of the way over the desk staring you down? Is that a fella that you trust?
Getting body rapport with anyone you are trying to work with or influence. I have a great story about this that involved a pretty girl and psychic that I might save for another day, as I don’t want this post to go on too long. It one of the biggest things that the unconscious mind will pick up when determining “is this person like me? Do I like them? Do I trust them.”
You do this with a process called “Matching and Mirroring.” With this practice, you subtly use similar body language, mannerisms, and gestures as the person you are trying to work with. If they are sitting upright with their hands folded – you sit a little more upright maybe with your arms overlapped at the wrist. If they are kicked back with their arm slung over the chair next to them – slide back a little more yourself, maybe with the side of your elbow on the table.
And watch their mannerisms. If they point at things, point a little more. If they use a lot of hand gestures, use more yourself. Just not quite as much as they do, at least at first. Likewise, if they are sitting still with their hands neatly on their lap, you are probably not going to get very much rapport by communicating like your Joe Pesci arguing with Robert DeNiro in Good Fellas.
Working on the phone? Sit how you think they are sitting. What’s it going to hurt??
- Listen for the words they use for “Representational Systems.” Getting a little more advanced here. I think we have most all heard that we receive almost all of our information by sight, sound, and touch. There are actually 2 more – smell and taste- but let’s keep it simple. Well, people will actually, literally, tell you what theirs are when they are speaking with you.
- Listen to the words they use like “See”, “hear”, or “feel”. When you notice them using these terms, feed them back to them. They are telling you the words that are the password to your heart.
If someone is telling you “This just doesn’t sound right to me” – don’t come back with the “I know how your feel, and what others have found…” People aren’t one size fits all! Give them “Ya know, I hear what you are saying. Let’s talk it out a little more. We can find something we can both agree on.” Experts can even work in “Here at DTWS mortgage we always find a sound deal.” The person will hear the “here” as hear. I swear – not making this up.
If someone says the deal “just doesn’t feel right”, offer some new perspective “to help get their arms around it.” Offer some “tangible savings”. Maybe talk some more about how they will feel in the house or the car. “I feel ya. I just want to find you the best deal so you can sleep well knowing you got the right deal when you laying around in your new house. That’s what we are all here for.”
Those are the basic ones. Experts in NLP will actually train themselves to match the blink rates and breathing rates of their subjects to getting into that amazingly deep level of rapport that almost can’t be refused. You might think that sounds ridiculous that someone could do it, but it’s true. The unconscious mind of the subject can pick up this and know it. It’s just another deeper level of “this person is like me, I can trust them.”
You have heard the old expression: If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it probably is a duck. If I talk like this guy, tempo like this guy, sit like this guy, use the same terms and hand gestures like this guy, and blink and breathe like this guy – I will probably like this guy.
NLP teaches us that the key to overcoming resistance is Rapport. If you are hitting roadblocks and rebuttals with your clients, it’s because you don’t have enough rapport. They don’t believe that you are wanting what is best for them. So pay more attention to finding out what they want, by listening to them on all levels. Focus more on that than how you are going to present what you are offering. If you are EVER talking over the customer, you are not focusing on rapport!! There is NOTHING wrong with having a couple of seconds of silence after a person stops speaking.
You can even ask a person “what would be your definition of a ‘real best case scenario’ from doing this?” A lot of times, the first half of the sentence if going to give you the first hint on how to work with them. “I need to feel good about…..” “I need to see a benefit……” “You need to tell me…” “Whoever can show me…..” “I feel like I need to…..”
Once you have rapport that you are on the same map and model of the world, they will believe you are going where they want to go, and will follow you there.