Building and establishing rapport is critical when trying to have influence in any sales communication.

But the majority of us to try to get on the right side of our prospective customers but often make ‘deal-killing’ mistakes without even realizing it.

So, I thought I would share with you some common errors that I used to make on a frequent basis and the ways that I managed to improve my rapport-building results.


Mistake 1 – Being too ‘agreeable’

I’m not saying that you should ever aim to come across as rude to your prospects because this would obviously be counter-intuitive.

I like to think about it like this…

When we go out of our way to come across too nice we often put aside our only beliefs, philosophy and opinions so that we do not risk of offending .

Sounds logical.


The mistake that people often make is that they feel that the purpose of communication is to make the interaction as pleasant and easy-going as possible.

One the face of it, this is a mistaken belief.


Because, if you are communicating in a sales setting where having influence is critical ,it’s highly likely that you are going to need to position yourself as  an authority.

Being overly nice could have an impact on your ability to influence because it will be clearly understood that you are afraid to challenge any opposing opinion.

MISTAKE 2  – Begging

“Please buy this product. I really need to hit my targets for this year.”

“Please go one a date with me, I’m really lonely at the moment.”

Do you honestly think either of the above are going to help you to make a sales or secure a date?

Obviously not.

But, you would be amazed at how easy it is to come across as desperate without actually meaning to come across this way.

Your efforts in communication become severely diluted when it’s clear to those taking place in the interaction that there is a degree of anxiety and desperation in the approach that you are taking.

I don’t want to go all metaphysical and law-of-attraction on your but you will often find, if you haven’t already, that the more desperate you come across as the less likely you are to achieve your desired result.

This is clearly the case when trying to establish rapport with complete strangers.

When you become desperate in a rapport situation it’s highly probably that you will miss the emotional cues that are being emitted or are emanating from the person you are communicating with.

You run the risk of becoming so focused on our outcome you won’t pay attention to theirs.

Any sales situation is about establishing posture as a vehicle to being perceived as an authority.

Want to be taken seriously as an advisor?

Do you come across as someone that your prospect should follow?

If this is your objective, you need to develop a posture that communicates that you are a leader who should be followed and in verbal communication there are a number of things that you can do to give off this energy, some of which include:

  • Speak slowly and at a calm reassuring pace
  • Introduce pauses into your speech patters to give the prospect time to reflect upon what you’re saying
  • Give off the impression that you don’t really need the sale and that you aren’t just out to get your hands on their money.

Once again, no rocket science here but its amazing how we all shoot ourselves in the foot by coming across to desperate for the sale.

Be composed, calm and collected which still maintaining a level of enthusiasm in your communication.

Mistake 3  – Not Displaying Enough Interest In Your Customer

Sales people can often be very selfish.

Their ultimate agenda is often…

“Buy my stuff”

You must always remember that you are not the center of your prospect’s world – they are!

Now it’s true…

You want to achieve a certain result from the interaction with your customer.

Let’s be honest, you’re not talking to them because you’re lonely.

Interest isn’t something that you should go out of your way to fake.

Some misguided sales people often pretend to have more interest in the customer than they actually have.

They think that they can fake their interest by displaying physical and vocal cues with non verbal or verbal) but the human body has a habit of revealing what’s really going on with the conscious and subconscious mind  and you will eventually get found out.


How can you make sure that you are genuinely interested in your prospect when you first start to verbally interact with them;

The following steps work really well:

  • Visualize that the person that you are about to communicate with is someone that is very important to you, like a family member or a friend. This will help you to communicate to you in a way that you are not a threat and that their input is valuable to you.
  • Use verbal repetition – during your conversation with the customer you should get into the habit of taking note of valuable expressions, phrases and concepts that they say and repeating it back to them. This will help you to come across as a good listener who genuinely cares about the subject.

This is kind of like active listening.

Practice active leaning and start to notice how much easier it is to establish rapport with your prospects.

Mistake 4 – Playing The Wrong Role

Social status is very important in our society and you should always take this into full consideration especially when you are talking to, and trying to sell something to, a complete stranger.

There will be times where you will need to lower your social status to be able to establish rapport with the person that you are speaking to.

This will often happen when the person you are speaking to is an alpha type that will always need to feel like they are the boss in the given situation.

This is when playing the nice guy can often work in your favour.

If you clash with them as another alpha then you run the risk of just turning any engagement into a who is more of an alpha contest


If you start to take a backseat in the conversation, let them vent and start to agree with points that they are making you will find that our prospect changes from a alpha to being more agreeable.

When you detect this change.

So . how do you go about getting around this?

You can use the NLP technique of…

Pacing and Leading!

Here’s how it works…

What you will do here is to match your prospect’s conversation style and the beginning of the conversation.

If your prospect is behaving a like a know-it-wall, and is being quite aggressive, you will adopt this to match the communication style of the prospect.

This allows you to gain the other persons trust.


When you can feel that your are gaining the prospects trust, you can tone-down your level of aggression or intensity and you will find that you will bring him/her down to your level which will give you the opportunity to position yourself as an authority and become the alpha , dominant person in the conversation.

So, we’ve discussed common mistakes that we often make when trying to establish rapport and if you’re not already using these strategies, give them a go and let me know how u get on.

I’ll expand on this third mistake shortly in a new post.