Rapport. Trust. Influence.

Ken Richard, Ytel |  
Building rapport is a crucial start to any relationship; without it, you can never build trust. And without trust, what do you have? Read on for a deeper dive into the three attributes essential to building relationships, whether business or personal, and how to do so successfully.

This post explores a deeper dive into the three attributes essential to building relationships, whether business or personal, and how to do so successfully.

“Stand back - I’ll jump!”

Rose exhorts Jack to leave her alone as she sets herself to jump off the stern of the Titanic into the cold Atlantic. Jack recognizes immediately that he must connect with her before he will have any chance of getting her off the railing and back to safety. He relates to what she will experience by describing the time he fell through the ice in Chippewa Falls when it collapsed under his feet, gravity thrusting him into the frigid water. That shared experience was a basis for the rapport he built for Rose to be able trust him. This trust later paved the way for his influence in getting her to put her hand in his, and allowing him the opportunity to save her.

A 57-year-old crisis interventionist encounters Carlos, a suicidal teenage boy who threatens to take his own life. She immediately recognizes that he seems to be completely isolated in the world, and when she asks what he enjoys in life, he discloses he likes to dance to rap music. Without hesitation, she breaks into a dance and asks him to join. He does. Because of the new common interest between them, they quickly share an unlikely bond which allows trust to take root and allow the process to begin by which she guides Carlos to agree to be hospitalized.

After Bert, an unemployed 50-something, was served with divorce papers by his very high-achiever wife, he started a very ugly and combative three-year campaign of terror against her and her legal team to unjustly seek spousal support and pension contributions. A third-party lawyer intervened on behalf of the wife to try to bring Bert back to reality to resolve what otherwise would result in two expensive and risk-laden lawsuits.

Seeking to disarm Bert, the lawyer suggested, with the consent of Bert’s lawyer, to meet for breakfast with Bert prior to the mediation to streamline the process to determine whether the matter could be resolved globally. After pleasantries, the lawyer exclaimed to Bert... “Bert, I have read all the transcripts, and you know, I don’t think anyone has ever listened to your side of the story... please tell me.”  A four-hour process commenced in which the lawyer created rapport through empathy, listening to Bert, then convinced him to settle the matter for less than one-third of his initial demand, thus avoiding lengthy, risky and costly court battles. The parties could then move forward with their lives.

While the first story is part of cinematic lore, the second two are true events, all of them illustrating the essential elements of guiding someone to move away from their undesirable position.

Rapport. Trust. Influence. It must be in that order.

These attributes are essential to breaking down the firewall that people
have in place due to debilitating and many times, unjustifiable fear.  In the three examples above, fear dominated their respective decision making processes.  Fear can consume one’s life and rob one of connection, joy, love, fulfillment, and opportunity.  It makes us indecisive and can be an immovable anchor that holds us back.

Rapport. Trust. Influence.

In many ways, we invoke this sequence many times a day, every day. But, if you take but one thing from this writing, understand that influence can never precede trust, and trust cannot be achieved without rapport.

From this day forward, be conscious of it, observe it in others, and implement it in every human interaction you have. You will experience the world like never before. Learn more about building sales rapport here. 

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About The Author

Ken Richard, Ytel

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Ken brings vast software and technology licensing knowledge to the Ytel team. He's represented several public and private Tier 1 software companies in his legal career. Customer service finding solutions to challenges provide the basis for his approach to business.

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