Today I want to show you a simple trick for building Client rapport.
Let’s start with a question – what does the research tell us about building Client rapport?
According to the research, when it comes to building Client rapport there are three general rules of thumb. As human beings, we tend to like people who;
• Are similar to us,
• Pay us compliments, and/or
• Work with us towards a common goal.
Look around you, who in your life do you like? If the research is to be believed, then they should fall into at least one, if not more, of these categories. But how can this information help us build Client rapport?
Building Client rapport with mirroring:
Communication experts have been quick to utilize this information by adopting a process known as mirroring. Mirroring is exactly what it suggests: it requires copying a person’s behavior in order to demonstrate similarities and build a stronger bond.
At first glance, this approach appears too simple to be true. However according to ex-FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss, and author of the bestselling negotiation book “Never Split the Difference”, mirroring is “simple, and yet uncannily effective!”
According to Voss, building Client rapport with mirroring can be achieved in the following ways; with speech patterns, body language, vocabulary, tempo, and tone of voice.
However, he suggests that when trying to establish rapport, negotiators should focus on the vocabulary and repeat either the last three words (or the critical one to three words) of what someone has just said.
(Note: To help you with your design fee negotiations we’ve created a free starter kit packed full of useful resources)
For example, when a Client says to you;
“There’s a Design Firm down the road that’s willing to do this project for half the fee you’re asking for, would you like to reconsider your fee?”
you should respond in a calm, deep, soft and reassuring tone with;
“I’m sorry, half the fee?”
You should leave the sentence with an upward inflection, pausing long enough to invite a response.
Not only will the Client feel the need to fill the silence (and therefore provide more information on the subject), but this will also help you build rapport and achieve a stronger and healthier Client relationship.
Let us know what you think:
Have you tried building rapport with Clients by mirroring? Let us know in the comments section below with either a “Yes” or a “No”.
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Want to Improve your Negotiation Skills?
The following resources are available right now to help you become your firms best negotiator:
• How to Respond When Asked to Lower Your Fee (blog):
• The Design Professional’s Guide to Negotiating Design Fees + Contracts (eGuide):
• The Ultimate Fee Proposal Workshop (Continuing Education Points available):