The Client-centred Blog

Deep rapport and why it matters

Rapport is the presence of harmony, trust, and cooperation between people.

It is like the oil in the machine of a relationship – without it things will soon grind to a halt.

The thing about rapport is that it exists on different levels. What is fine for a superficial, transactional relationship will be insufficient when you want to explore what your client wants from life, understand them at a deeper level or challenge their thinking or behaviour in any way.

You could think about rapport like this:

Social rapport is where the interaction is polite, friendly and you get on, but there is little depth. Where the relationship is simply about an exchange of information or the purchase of a product then this level is often enough.

Contrived rapport is where someone is purposely doing something to gain rapport. I was a practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming for many years and taught techniques such as matching and mirroring.

Practiced elegantly this is a highly effective way to build rapport but it will often fall short of establishing a level of connection with clients where magic can happen.

Deep rapport is when we have a real, human connection with another person. It is only experienced through going beyond the limitations of our own personality, judgements, and personal gain.

It is where our intention is to understand someone and be in service to them rather than being driven by a professional agenda.

It is also something that is impossible to fake.

Have you reflected upon the level of rapport that exists in your client relationships?

Deep rapport is the foundation for taking your work to a whole new level. With deep rapport you can ask someone almost anything. It encourages a client to open up. It allows you to challenge their assumptions when required. It allows complete honesty. It encourages reflection. It is how goodwill is created.

As purely transactional relationships become less and less viable in the digital age, deep rapport is becoming an even more important component of creating profitable, long-term client relationships.

Building deep rapport

Some people are ‘naturals’ at building deep rapport, some manage it some of the time and some rarely experience it.

The determining factor is your level of ‘mental presence’. The more you have on your mind the bigger the gap to building deep rapport.

This is precisely the reason that why techniques have limitations. If you are thinking about what you are doing then you cannot, at the same time, be present.

So, the less you have on your mind the more easily you will connect at the level of soul, spirit, and true self.

It is vital that you are aware of your own level of mental presence before entering a client meeting.

Are you free of mental distractions so you are fully present?

If your client comes into a meeting with a lot on their mind (and they sometimes will) then this is something you want to notice. By noticing you can then respond and settle the client so that they are fully engaged.

By doing this you will notice the quality and impact of your meetings going up.

Ultimately, rapport is a highly significant factor in achieving your goals. When people are in deep rapport they think better, they listen better, and they understand better.

P.S. Here is a short video on relationships and an understanding of what creates harmony or disharmony between people. Click here.

John Dashfield

John Dashfield spent 14 years as a self-employed adviser. Since 2006 he has been a coach, mentor and author helping advisers create transformations in their business and personal lives.


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