Sometimes, relationships just click. You immediately connect with someone and feel at ease talking with him or her about any subject. We normally think of quick connections as a part of a romantic relationship, but the truth is you can connect with anyone – even in business.
But sometimes you don’t click with someone. It doesn’t mean that you can’t communicate effectively with that person…it just means that your communication styles are different. That’s not a problem, but it is something that you should be aware of because you’ll need to spend a little time building rapport with the person across the desk.
People Who Like Similar Things Tend to Click
Do a little homework before a meeting and find out the likes and dislikes of your prospect. Don’t stalk him, per se, but ask those who have met him what he’s into, both in personally and professionally. You don’t need to jump on the subjects as soon as you walk in the door but keep them in your back pocket if you need to create a connection point.
Be Ready to Talk About Neutral Topics
The old standby is the weather, of course (but please don’t start a conversation with “Hot enough for ya?” on an August day). But you can also be ready to talk about traffic in your city or new attractions in your area. Try a book you’ve recently read or industry news.
Exciting? Nope…definitely not. But these topics are ones that almost anyone can relate to.
Listen More Than You Talk
If you find yourself in the position of asking the questions to try to get others to open up, be prepared to listen to the answers. Practice active listening and be engaged in what she has to say. When you can, relate to her answers with your own experiences.
Mirror His Behaviors
Look and listen to learn about your prospect’s language style…and then try to mimic it. Use similar words and speech patterns and even take note of his body language. You can make him more comfortable by conforming to his habits.
Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive to our last point, but there is a fine line between working on making a connection by aligning yourself with someone and becoming their clone. Take note of your client’s non-verbal language and use it to help him feel comfortable. But don’t forget who you are. Share your experiences and have the client’s best interests at heart. Be honest when your product isn’t a good fit and follow through with your promises. Don’t compromise yourself just to make someone like you.
Remember, people are more alike than different. The odds are in your favor that, with a little practice, you can find common ground with just about anyone.