Why is building rapport is the first step in every sales conversation, and how do you do it in senior living, home care and senior care?
Our human brains are hard-wired to be wary of people outside of our family group and our tribe.
We actually have three brains, the deepest part of our brain, usually called the Reptile Brain, keeps us alive, partially by keeping us safe from stranger danger. In the Reptile Brain, others dominate us, or we dominate them. This is where the flight or fight instinct comes from.
The Reptile Brain operates independently from the more human parts of the brain — the Limbic Brain, or the middle brain, and the outside brain, the Neocortex, the human and thinking part of the brain.
The Reptile Brain operates on its own schedule, and can not be controlled by logic and reason.
This is important to senior care sales, because the Reptile Brain is where trust starts. Every marketing message, and every sales conversation, must start by calming the Reptile Brain by building rapport.
When we first speak with a potential client or family caregiver, their guard is up. They are typically working through a crisis, and they are vulnerable because of their situation or advanced age. They are afraid we will take something — their independence, the sanctity of their email mailbox, their money, privacy or benefits. This fear is 100% natural and should be expected.
Now is the time to build rapport. You as a sales person or marketer, need rapport so that the client’s Reptile Brain feels safe. They need to feel safe so they can tell us what they want and what they need. We need to understand their needs fully, so we can — if it’s a fit — give them our services.
Every conversation with a potential or current client should start by building rapport. Mere words and friendly gestures do not build rapport.
In sales conversations, we build rapport — reptile brain to reptile brain — with 2 key communications tools.
First is physical rapport, mirroring another person’s physical position, and not dominating them by standing over them, but being, literally, eye-to-eye.
Second is verbal rapport, by raising or lowering the volume of your voice so it’s closer to their volume. And you want to speed or slow the cadence of your speech, if your client speaks quickly or slowly.
This isn’t about being a copy-cat and it’s not about being a mimic. It’s about making slight adjustments to what you’re doing to put the other person’s Reptile Brain at ease.
Rapport requires participation with your whole body and your whole voice. It tunes you in to be present with the other person.
Every sales conversation starts with rapport. Just because you created rapport in the last conversation doesn’t mean you have it today. It’s the first step of every phone and face-to-face conversation.
Don’t assume your sales team is “naturally” doing this. It’s good to train salespeople to build rapport, so they can build trust and have good discovery conversations.