Building rapport is the first step to creating the relationships that lead to business.  Very few people will be willing to spend money with you if they don’t sense a connection.  Having said that, at Business in Heels we’re not about teaching people to be likeable.  Now way, no how – you’re on your own there.  However, there are a few proven topics you may benefit from discussing if you’re wanting to establish a connection with someone early on…

  1. Their triumphs.  On this topic, most of us girls tend to talk freely about our children or how long we’ve been married, if applicable.  Let’s not understate the importance of these but are they going to make you more attractive as a person to do business with?  Maybe not.  How about getting people to talk about their business successes?  Who has been the most difficult customer they have successfully dealt with?  What has been their most profitable business decision?  Getting them to open up on these will enable them to tell the stories that can sell their services and provide a window for you to see if you want to deal with them.
  2. Their pastimes.  Allowing people to open up on this is magnificent for getting to know them personally.  It is also a great way to work out who they know, after all – you’re networking!  So get them to wax lyrically about their sporting or artistic pursuits and keep your ears tuned in for words like group, team, club or association.  These are networks full of their contacts you might like to be introduced to.
  3. Their abilities.  These indicate the problems they can solve.  One of the main reasons you want to listen intently to these is so you can refer them on to people who have those problems.  Imagine how popular you’ll be if, just because you took the time to listen, you’re able to make an introduction that leads to business for someone in your network!  Do you think that may make the recipient of the referral want to listen that little bit harder for you?

So get out there and make the people you talk to feel good about themselves.  That’s the essence of building rapport.