A deep rapport with your client is the foundation for a productive, profitable, and long-lasting relationship.
Therefore, being highly effective at quickly building and maintaining a deep rapport is an essential skill for financial planners.
In this article I share a whole new understanding of building rapport that can help you deepen any client relationship and create better outcomes for both your client and you.
What is rapport?
Rapport is the presence of harmony, co-operation, and human connection between people.
It’s also dynamic in the sense that the more your and your clients’ personal thinking falls away, the deeper the sense of connection between you becomes.
Why is it important to build deep rapport?
Author of ‘Influencing with integrity‘ Genie Z. Laborde said:
“Rapport is like money: it increases in importance when you do not have it, and when you do have it, a lot of opportunities appear.”
Deep rapport is crucial to the process of financial planning for many reasons. For instance:
- You’re asking your client to open up and be more vulnerable. By its nature, this process also requires you to be vulnerable because you are exploring the unknown.
- Finances can bring up uncomfortable feelings for many people and deep rapport helps to overcome this barrier.
- If you need to be candid with your client about their situation, expectations, or behaviour then deep rapport allows this to happen smoothly.
- A good feeling in the meeting is instrumental to your client doing their best thinking and making good decisions.
- It’s economical. When you have a deep rapport better results are often produced in less time.
The conventional wisdom on rapport building
Most training on the subject tells you that rapport building is something you need to manufacture in some way.
For example, a common suggestion is to appropriately match or mirror someone. This could be matching or mirroring their posture, movements, or pace of breathing.
This idea originally came about through observing people already in rapport because we naturally become more aligned when in rapport.
Practiced elegantly this can be an effective way to build a certain level of rapport but it also has limitations because you’re having to think.
A new way of thinking about rapport
The ego (which is just a bunch of thought) creates the illusion of separation between people.
So, self-consciousness, insecurities, or any form of self-orientation are a barrier to deep rapport and will compromise your quality of presence.
Yet the moment you drop this kind of thinking you naturally fall into a state of loving kindness.
This will often have a miraculous effect on other people. They relax, become more open, and more receptive – the ideal platform for high quality financial planning conversations.
It is also what elevates you to being seen as a ‘trusted adviser’ and no technique can achieve this alone.
Effective rapport building
A good practice is to pause and reflect upon how clear your mind is before entering a meeting. If you find your mind is busy or distracted you can do whatever is necessary to allow it to settle.
By doing this you can instantly improve the quality of your client meetings and the impact you have on your clients.