The Consummate Guide to Building Rapport

The ability to influence is key to the success of every entrepreneur.  When you’re trying influence other people, learning how to build rapport is essential. 

As a matter of fact, it’s likely that you have already been practicing different ways to build rapport. This means that you understand the importance of establishing a connection with the people you wish to influence.

But here’s the problem: your competition knows how important rapport is too.

This means that your competitors are also trying to establish connections with the audience you wish to serve. And they’re probably using a lot of the same techniques you have learned. Because of this, you need to be able to stand out from you competition.

[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]Building rapport is the first step in earning the right to influence people.[/Tweet]

In entrepreneurial sales, success means building better rapport than the other guy. You have to be able to form a better relationship with your customers and prospects. It’s the only way you can ensure that you are the one who stands out.

Not only that, you have to be able to form connections with people who aren’t your customers. Influence is ever-present in the life of the entrepreneur. You have to be able to motivate your team. You have to be able to get investors to believe in your brand. Chances are, you also need to be able to negotiate with vendors.

That’s what this guide is for. This guide is designed to give you the tools you need to build rapport better than your competition.

As you read through this guide, you will realize how these tips can help you become more attractive to the audience you serve. When you implement the advice given in this post, you will notice how much easier it will be to get people to know, like, and trust you.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Defining Rapport

Chapter 2: Getting Them to Talk

Chapter 3: Emotions and Anchoring

Chapter 4: Make Them Feel Comfortable

Chapter 5: Getting Them to Like You




Chapter One: Defining Rapport


So what exactly is rapport? Great question!

The definition of rapport is as follows:

Relation; connection, especially harmonious or sympathetic relation.

There are probably many different ways to define rapport, right? Here’s mine. I believe rapport occurs when two people are in a state of mutual influence. It’s when two people establish a deeper connection.

I’m not saying this means a situation where both people are spilling their guts and having a sappy moment. I’m saying that the two people are in a position where they are connecting.

Have you ever met someone who you just “clicked” with? Someone who you hit it off with right from the beginning? You probably have experienced this plenty of time. That’s what rapport is.


Why Is Learning How to Build Rapport Important?


Knowing how to build rapport is essential to your success as an entrepreneur. Without knowing how to do it, you won’t succeed.


Because entrepreneurs need people. Achieving your goals requires you to be able to get others to do what you want. This means that building a successful business requires you to form relationships.

You need to know how to cultivate important relationships that help you move your business forward. You can’t do this without knowing how to build rapport. Building rapport is the first step in earning the right to influence people.

Your success as an entrepreneur is heavily dependent on your ability to influence others. You must be able to move people to action. You can’t influence anyone if they don’t know, like and trust you. That’s what rapport is about. You need to let people know who you are, get them to like you, and earn their trust.

When you know how to do this, you will find it much easier to build your business. This is meant to be a comprehensive guide to building rapport. When you read through this guide, you will pick up plenty of valuable tips that will help you learn how to establish better connections with others.

[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]Building rapport is the first step in earning the right to influence people.[/Tweet]


Read on…


Chapter Two: Getting Them To Talk


Keep The Other Person Talking


People are easily charmed by those who show a genuine interest in them. The fastest way to get people to know, like and trust you is to keep your conversation focused on them as much as you can. Building great rapport means talking as little as possible.

Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

Not really. As a matter of fact if you are a student of influence, you know that it’s all about the other person, not about you.

So you have to appeal to what people are truly interested in: themselves. That’s right. People are inherently self interested. This is a fact that applies to every person on the planet.

Every great influencer understands that people are focused on themselves. This means that keeping the conversation focused on the other person is the best way to build rapport and gain influence.

The more you can get people to talk about themselves, the better the connection you will have with them. People are far less likely to allow themselves to be influenced by someone who is uninterested in them. That’s why you have to be more interested in your prospects than your competition is.

So how do you get someone to talk about themselves?

You can do this by asking great questions.

This means that you must be able to maintain a positive momentum. This means you have to lead the other person to continue to talk about themselves in a way that feels natural.

Also, you need to ask questions that elicit emotions. Whether we like to admit it or not, we are all heavily influenced by our emotions. It’s part of being human. When you can get the other person to feel what you want them to feel, you put yourself in a better position to build a relationship.

This section is going to show you the types of questions you should ask in order to get the other person to open up to you.

[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]People are easily charmed by those who show a genuine interest in them.[/Tweet]


The Beauty of Open-Ended Questions


So, you already know the importance of open-ended questions, right? I hope so. If not, click here to learn more about open-ended questioning.

If you want to get to know someone better, you have to rely more on open-ended questions than close-ended questions. After all, you learn more with open-ended questions, don’t you?

Of course, I’m not saying that you should never ask close-ended questions. I’m saying that they shouldn’t be your primary type of question.


Maintain Positive Momentum


Learning how to build rapport means knowing how to keep the conversation going. You need to make sure your conversation isn’t full of awkward moments or pauses.

Not only that, you still need to make sure that the other person is doing most of the talking. The good news is that this doesn’t have to be difficult.

It’s all about asking the right questions, listening carefully, and keeping the conversation focused on the other person. When you do this right, you won’t have to worry about losing the rapport you have built.



Keep The Conversation Focused On The Other Person


“Talk to a man about himself and he will listen for hours.” - Benjamin Disraeli

In the previous section, we discussed the importance of making sure that the other person does as much of the talking as possible. When you are able to get the other person to share their feelings and thoughts with you, it causes them to like and trust you more. It’s incredibly effective.

But there’s more to it than that.

The idea isn’t to just keep them talking. The idea is to make sure that the conversation is focused more on them than on yourself. You want them to talk about their thoughts, their feelings, their desires, their needs.

Every great influencer knows that people are self-interested. People are focused mainly on themselves. You will score major points with any person if you are truly interested in them as people.


Chapter Three: Emotions And Anchoring


Focus On Emotion, Not Logic


This is something we always forget, isn’t it? As influencers, we tend to focus more on logic and rationality than emotion.

It makes sense, right? If you’re going to get someone to take the action you want them to take, you have to give them sound, logical reasons for doing so, don’t you?

Nope. You don’t. At least not the way you think you do.

People don’t make decisions based on logic. They make decisions based on emotion.

Nobody wants to admit this, but it’s true. We make most of our buying decisions based on emotion. We do what we feel.

This has been proven over and over again.

As Jeffrey Gitomer says:

“The head is attached to the price. The heart is attached to the wallet.”

Of course, this isn’t just true of buying. Any time someone makes a decision to be influenced, that decision tends to be emotionally based.

When you appeal to the emotions of your target, you stand a much better chance of getting them to do what you want. It’s another reason why you need to make sure you are focused on them, not on yourself.

[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]People don’t make decisions based on logic. They make decisions based on emotion.[/Tweet]

Here’s a somewhat harsh reality: Nobody feels anything for you.

Okay, well your mother probably does. Oh, and your significant other. Hopefully.

Other than that, nobody cares about you…until you give them a reason to.

You need to get them to feel something when you’re having a conversation. Why is this so important? Because we always forget this part. We don’t always think about what people want to feel.

You’ve heard it over and over again. People buy from those that they know, like, and trust. All three of these factors have emotional components to them. In order to build better rapport, you have to elicit as many positive emotions as you can. When you get people to feel happy, excited, inspired, or any other positive emotion, they will attribute these emotions to you.

When people attribute their positive emotions to you, they are far more likely to see you in a positive light. In other words, they are more likely to know, like, and trust you. In the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), this practice is known as “anchoring.”

So how do you do this? It’s simple.

Plant Emotions Into The Conversation


What you need to do is to insert the emotions you want into the conversation. You have to use words that will conjure the emotions you want the target to feel.

Let’s say you’re at a networking event and you’re speaking with a potential client that you are having lunch with next week. We’ll call him “Larry.” You want Larry to feel excited about the meeting. Instead of just confirming the details of the meeting, sprinkle in some emotion.

Talk about how excited you are to be able to discuss the ways you can help the other person. Bring up how happy your other clients have been after doing business with you.

As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to connect the emotion to the lunch meeting itself. If you focus your conversation on things that are exciting, they will associate the excitement with you.


Get Them In Touch With Their Positive Emotions


One of the most powerful ways to get someone to feel a particular emotion is to exhibit that emotion yourself. Emotions can be incredibly infectious.

If you have ever been around someone who constantly complains or talks about depressing subjects, you know exactly what I’m talking about. They go on and on about how horrible life it’s. Just being around these people for five minutes can put you into a funk!

You can use this to your advantage. Want to know why Tony Robbins is so effective when it comes to inspiring and motivating people at his events?

It’s because the guy lights up like a Christmas tree when he’s on stage! He’s like a ten - year old boy who just drank five cups of espresso. He exhibits the energy and enthusiasm that he wants the audience to feel.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be as animated as Tony Robbins, but you do need to project a certain level of excitement. One of the ways you can do this is by telling a short —I repeat, short — story about something you did that was exciting for you. It will help you get into the right emotional state, which will become contagious to the other person.

When you’re telling the story, be sure to talk about how you felt in the moment. Were you frightened? Excited? Fired up? Use your words to paint a picture of the emotion you want the other person to feel.

Here’s what’s going to happen: your target will begin to feel the emotions you’re expressing without even knowing it.

[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]One of the most powerful ways to get someone to feel a particular emotion is to exhibit that emotion yourself.[/Tweet]

But wait, there’s more!

Talking about feeling certain emotions is effective, but how much better will this work if you get the other person to talk about them? If you can get your target to talk about something that makes them feel excited, they will associate this feeling with you. This means you will establish a deeper connection.

Now, does this mean that when you’re supposed to blurt out “So, what makes you excited?”  


That would be weird.

Instead, you should ask questions about subjects that you know will make your target feel the way you want them to feel. You need to know what they are passionate about.

Unbeknownst to Larry, he will begin feeling excitement without even knowing why. Not only that, he’ll associate his excitement with you. Pretty sneaky, isn’t it?

But you don’t have to stop there. If you’re a REALLY skilled Ninja Rapport Artist, you will get Larry to talk himself into being excited.

Here’s an easy way to do this. You already know Larry owns a real estate firm, right? If he’s been in real estate for a long time, then it must be something that he enjoys doing. It’s something that makes him feel something positive.

If you want him to feel that positive emotion during your conversation, ask him why he’s been doing it for 15 years. Ask him what excites him about what he does.

Then, let Larry talk. When you ask a person “why” they have made a certain decision, you’re asking them to get into the deeper purpose behind their actions.

People like feeling a sense of purpose. It makes them feel all warm and tingly inside. There are probably plenty of reasons why Larry loves what he does so much. If you want to connect to Larry, get him to talk about it. And listen intently.

When you get them feeling the right emotions, they will ascribe these positive emotions to you. It makes it easier to form a bond with them.

Chapter Four: Make Them Feel Comfortable


How to Make Anyone Feel Comfortable With You


The whole point of learning how to build rapport is to get the other person to know, like, and trust you. After all, this is how you you will earn the right to influence them, right?

But here’s the issue:

You won’t be able to do this if the other person isn’t comfortable with you.

If they don’t feel comfortable with you, it will be incredibly difficult to influence them later on. It would be like trying to get someone to marry you after the first date!

Fortunately, making people feel comfortable isn’t difficult.

This next section will give you some simple tips that you can start doing today to make this easier. As you practice these tips, you will begin to see a difference in your conversations.




Remember what I said about finding similarities earlier? That’s what mirroring is all about. The more you can show you are similar to the other person, the better the connection you will build.

The mirroring technique is a perfectly sneaky way to make yourself seem more similar to the person you’re interacting with. When you find subtle ways to mirror the other person’s mannerisms, they will feel more of a kinship with you.

The mirroring technique involves imitating certain characteristics that your target exhibits. These characteristics can be both verbal and physical. You want to match their voice and language patterns as well as their body language.


Verbal Language Patterns


Everyone has their own way of speaking, right? Some of us speak slowly. Some speak so fast that you can’t understand what they’re saying! Not only that, we all use different phrases and slang words.

There are three things you should pay attention to:

  • Tone
  • Cadence
  • Words

Listen to the type of tone your target is using. Are they speaking softly? Loudly? Are they upbeat? Or more laid back? You want to make your tone as similar to theirs as possible.

Cadence refers to the speed at which your target speeds. If your target speaks very slowly, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re not talking too fast.

People also tend to use certain words and phrases in their conversations. The words and phrases that your target uses most often may not be easy to identify at first. You may need to get them to talk more in order to discern what phrases they favor.

Obviously, effective verbal mirroring requires that you use active listening skills. You have to pay close attention to what your target is saying in order to figure out the best way to mirror them.

Here’s a caveat: you must be subtle. It’s important that you’re not making it obvious that you’re mirroring the other person. That will weird them out. You don’t want to weird them out, do you? The conversation still needs to feel natural.




This is probably the easiest way to lower your target’s guard. Use those pearly whites to get the other person to relax. Smiling has been shown to make people seem friendlier and more trustworthy.

Does this mean that you have to go through the whole interaction with an awkwardly fake smile pasted on your face? Or course not. You don’t want to look like a freak, do you?

Just make sure you smile at various points throughout the conversation. Especially when they other person is talking. It’s a great way to give positive nonverbal feedback to the person you’re speaking with.

If you’re talking to the other person on the phone, you’re still not off the hook (no pun intended). Smiles are just as effective even when the other person can’t see you.

It’s possible to actually hear someone smile on the other line. Smiling makes your voice sound friendlier and more inviting. When you smile at the other person, they will be much more likely to like and trust you, so do it often.


Make Them Laugh


Humor is a GREAT way to ease tension in any conversation. Eliciting laughter will help both you and the other person loosen up. Humor is one of the best ways to connect with another person.


Because it releases endorphins that make us feel good. As Maya  Angelou said,

“People will forget what you said, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.”

When you make the other person laugh, they will attribute the positive emotions they feel to you. This will make them like you even more.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “I’m not funny.” Well, here’s some good news: you don’t have to be Gabriel Iglesias in order to be funny.

[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]”You don’t have to be Gabriel Iglesias in order to be funny.”[/Tweet]

Using humor doesn’t mean doing a stand-up comedy routine. It just means being able to enjoy a chuckle or two with the other person.If you’re not good at making people laugh naturally, there are other things you can try.

Use stories. If something funny happened to you on the way to work last week, find a way to tell that story. Or maybe there was that time when you gave a public speech with your fly down. Okay, you might not want to share that one, but you know what I mean, right?

Chances are, if you thought the story was funny, others may think it was funny too! You can even use stories about things that happened to other people. Funny stories are a great way to get others to feel more relaxed around you.

Say Their Name


One of the most pleasant sounds a person can hear is their own name. Remember what I said before about people being self interested?

When you use their name multiple times in the conversation, it will cause them to relax around you. It’s also a great way to regain their attention if you feel as if you are losing them during the conversation.


Stop Trying To Be Perfect


One of the biggest mistakes that people make is appearing as if they know it all. They appear to be perfect. Of course they don’t mean to do this. But it’s a mistake that they’re making nonetheless.

This is a huge turn off for most people. Think about it. When you see someone in a social setting who appears to have no flaws, it can bring out certain reactions.

You may distrust them because your cynical mind refuses to believe that anyone could be that perfect. Or, you may not want to speak with them because you have an elevated view of them and you think you might have nothing to offer.

Either way, it’s not a good thing, is it?

The solution is to show your vulnerable side. If you want another person to lower their guard, you must lower yours first.

Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean you have to spill your guts. It just means you need to show them your human side.

If you do this right, it will show the other person that you are relatable. Don’t overthink this.

You can show vulnerability simply by telling them about a time when you were wrong about something. Poke some fun at yourself. As a matter of fact, if you can do this in a funny way, it will make the other person more relaxed.

[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]If you want another person to lower their guard, you must lower yours first.[/Tweet]

Watch Your Body Language


Whether you’re in sales, or even just trying to get a date, you probably understand the importance of rapport in persuading someone to make some kind of connection or deal with you. People are emotional creatures, and even if all the logical benefits may be perfectly in place, they may decline to deal with you if they feel that you are still strangers to each other.

Using only words to build rapport is a common rookie mistake. Words are great, but they’re not enough.

In fact, most of your communication is nonverbal, so you must be very careful that you are not conveying meanings that you don’t intend towards the other person. Most of the messages both given and received through body language are below the level of awareness, so the key is to be as conscious as possible about what you’re doing with your body until you have enough practice building rapport. Let’s take a look at a few key points to keep in mind:


Keep Eye Contact


The eyes, as they say, are the window to the soul. Keeping your eyes connected to the other person not only builds a feeling of familiarity and rapport, but it also shows them that you are paying attention.

Of course, on the other hand, you don’t want to stare at them either. You don’t want to weird them out, do you? It’s a balancing act: keep eye contact for about five seconds at a time, then look away momentarily.


Turn Your Body Towards Them


Do you remember the last time you turned your body away from someone while still talking to them? You were probably about to make your leave or try to get away from the conversation, right?

People instinctively sense this. To convey that you are interested in what they are saying and also that you are confident, keep an open stance that faces them entirely.


Keep Your Body Open


Don’t cross your arms. Keep your hands out of your pockets. You don’t want to signal any kind of defensiveness or protectiveness, or the other person will feel that you lack confidence. This communicates that you think they are a threat.

Focus on making large gestures that show confidence, and keep your torso open towards the other person. You should naturally loosen up anyway as you build rapport, though-it is for you just as much as it is for them, after all, since you should be genuinely trying to create a relationship.

Body language is something that’s a little difficult to get a handle on at first, since so much of it is completely subconscious. However, if you follow these general tips, you will find that people’s responses to you will improve with time and practice.


Find As Many Similarities As Possible


People are naturally drawn to others who are most like them. Pretty superficial, right?

But it’s true.

It’s the reason a person is more likely to hang out with others who look like her, sound like her, work in the same field, and like the same types of movies as she does. We see this notion play out in the real world all the time. How many different clubs, associations, and organizations exist to bring like-minded people together?

Tons, right?

People are Republicans. People are Democrats. People are Green Bay Packers fans. Some people are Lakers fans, those poor souls. There are even clubs that are so weird you probably didn’t even know they exist!

It’s because people tend to want to feel a sense of belonging. They want to feel as if they are a part of a group that is larger than themselves. It’s perfectly natural.

That’s why you need to make sure you find as many areas of commonality as possible. The more your target feels you are similar to them, the more likely they are to allow themselves to be influenced by you.

So, remember when I said that you need to keep the conversation focused on your target as much as possible? Well, one of the reasons for this is that when you’re asking your questions, you should be listening for any areas where you and your target have something in common.

Here’s what’s GREAT about this: you have something in common with EVERYONE. It doesn’t matter who you’re talking to, there are things that both of you have in common. All you need to do is ask questions that will uncover these similarities. The more your target talks, the easier it will be.

Here’s some topics you can ask about:

  • Kids: Do they have kids? How many?
  • What are their favorite sports? What about sports teams?
  • What do they do for fun/
  • Do they belong to any clubs or associations?

These are only a few examples. You can think of as many as you want. The issue isn’t just getting the target to speak. The issue is to pay careful attention to what is being said. You need to use what you’re being told to show the other person that you’re just like them.

Talking about areas of common interest is a powerful way to establish a deeper connection.


Chapter Five: Get Them To Like You


Agreement Is Golden


Agree with the other person as much as possible. It’s one of the best ways to establish a connection. I’m not saying that you need to pretend to agree with them on points where you really disagree. I’m saying to find the parts that you do agree with and focus on those parts.

As I said previously, people tend to feel more connected with others who are like them. The more you agree with your prospect, the more they will perceive that you are similar to them.

Also, when you agree with your target, you are validating her point of view. We all love to be validated, don’t we? This is yet another way to get your target to like and trust you.


Give Genuine Compliments


Okay, this can sound a bit disingenuous, but it’s not. When you’re building rapport, praise is your friend. It may sound narcissistic, but people love to be admired. They like to know that people notice their positive attributes. This is why throwing in a few compliments is so effective.

Of course, here’s the caveat: your praise must be sincere. The last thing you want to do is to give false praise to the person you’re trying to influence. They will see right through it, and you will lose whatever trust you have built up with them. You don’t want to come off like an insincere jerk, do you? Of course not!


Ask For Help


Have you ever heard of the Benjamin Franklin effect?

It’s a simple, but incredibly effective way to build rapport. On the surface, this tip may not make much sense. But when used effectively, it’s a great way to build a deeper connection with your target.

All you need to do is to ask the other person for a small favor. The keyword here is small. Don’t ask for the moon. That comes later.

Instead, ask them to do something for you that would not require a lot of effort or expense. Maybe you have a question that requires their expertise. Maybe you need some advice. Or perhaps you need an introduction to someone else.

Asking for help will make the other person feel important. Also, it will make them feel better about themselves when they make the decision to help you. On top of that, it will make them like you even more. Why? Because when they agree to help you, their mind will believe they are helping you because they like you. After all, they’re not going to help someone they don’t like, are they?



Learning how to build rapport is crucial to becoming a better influencer. It’s the first step to getting someone else to see things your way.

When you use the tips given in this guide, you will notice how much easier it is to build relationships with others. You will make a better impression on the people you wish to influence. So, get out there and start building rapport!




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