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NorthStar Performance Partners, LLC | Minneapolis, MN

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Everyone knows it’s important. It’s the basis of every relationship and every sales program talks about it. Some salespeople work the small talk. They discuss the weather, the fact that the prospect golfs, fishes, has three children and they have similar interests. It’s all designed so that at some level the prospect will be comfortable that the salesperson is like the prospect. There’s nothing wrong with this, but you have to know that you look, act and sound like every other sales rep that comes through the door. How can you take your bonding and rapport to a new level, one that is more than the superficial approach?

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) has taught us that 55 percent of our rapport comes from body language. Our physiology has a great bearing on how and what we communicate. We also know that 38 percent of the communication is delivered from our tonality. The way we speak. The pace, inflections, speed, and volume of our speech affect how people understand our message. The other 7 percent of our communication is attributed to the words we use. So how can we use this to better build relationships with prospects?

We may think that communication is universal, and while there are slight differences, generally we’re all the same. That can be a dangerous assumption. Sometimes prospects won’t tell you they didn’t understand your comments. They’ll smile and nod because they don’t want to appear confused. Sometimes the result is they won’t meet in the future. The “chemistry” wasn’t right.

You may feel that words at 7% aren’t a big factor. Are you aware of your prospects’ words and phrases when they are expressing frustration, concern, and anger? When you and your friends talk, is the word usage similar? Are you comfortable with some words and phrases more than others? It would be typical if you were, and so it is typical as well with prospects and clients.

As a salesperson, you must be a professional communicator. To achieve professional communicator status, you must be an excellent observer of communication and have a means of adapting your communication with your prospects.


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