Watch the following video to find out how to build rapport with anyone in 5 minutes, or keep going below if you prefer to read.
ANSWER: To build rapport with anyone in 5 minutes, you must make the person feel understood and valued. One technique is to use questions to figure out what the person wants and is struggling with, then restate what the person told you in your own words so that they know you were listening. There are at least 8 other major rapport strategies used by successful persuaders. We studied a billion dollar salesman/scammer to uncover the best rapport building techniques. Check it out!
We are discussing the rapport building techniques Belfort used to scam people out of billions of dollars in action. These are some of the strategies that allowed him to bypass the brain’s defenses to persuade people. We’ve discovered 10 tactics so far, now let’s discuss how he used those tactics.
Jordan Belfort was known for his rapid rise from obscurity by creating a multi-billion dollar financial institution called Stratton Oakmont. Clearly, Belfort was extremely good at persuading people to give him money. We will reveal what we have uncovered when we studied one of Belfort’s recent interviews with the businessman Grant Cardone. The interview itself is quite intense so we will go beyond discussing Belfort and Cardone’s verbal sparring, and instead expose ten trust building techniques that help Belfort make billions. After this, we will teach you which ones to focus on in order to build rapport with anyone in 5 minutes.
Technique One: Make them feel significant.
Right off the bat we see Belfort use a few different trust building techniques. He tells Cardone he is valuable. People want to feel valued and are more likely to have rapport with people that value them. The general rule here is to make them feel special and significant. This means letting them talk and listening carefully to what they say.
Technique Two: Establish your purpose.
Belfort tells Cardone his purpose for the interview at the beginning. This is a highly underrated technique. Generally when you’re talking to someone who you don’t know, both people are trying to figure the other person out and are wondering why the person is talking to them. Eliminate suspicion by telling them exactly what you want and what’s in it for them. This will lower the person’s guard which will help to establish rapport.
Technique Three: Avoid unnecessary conflict.
Belfort avoids unnecessary conflict and instead aims for connection. At the start, Cardone tries to make the fact that they both focus on sales into a competition. Instead, Belfort takes a similarity and uses it to try and connect with Cardone. A quick caveat, I am not saying to avoid conflict, but I am saying that if you’re trying to establish rapport it is best to not start off disagreeing right off the bat. This sends a signal that you are different from each other and potentially enemies.
Technique Four: Focus on esteem building topics.
In the interview, Belfort focuses on building up Cardone. Belfort gets Cardone talking about a topic that should make him feel proud. Most people will relax when they’re talking about a subject that they are passionate experts in. Even Cardone himself starts relaxing a little bit. You see this in his face when he says, “I’ve never told anyone the story before.”
Technique Five: Point out similarities.
Belfort uses this technique by discussing things they have in common. He does this a few times, but the time it’s particularly pronounced is when he tries to establish the similarity when talking about their first sales job. Cardone talks about selling fish and Belfort echoes by saying, “I was selling steaks.”
Technique Six: Summarize their ideas back to them.
Repeating back what the other person is saying is one of the most useful forms of mirroring, while excessive mirroring and other ways like body language and body movements can actually end up creeping people out if done too much. Summarizing their statements is a good way to show that you are listening. It’s difficult to do in access. People love to hear their ideas and love to feel understood.
Technique Seven: Expand their ideas.
Belfort sets up Cardone to expand on what he’s going to say by saying, “Tell me more.” “Tell me more” is a useful phrase that encourages people to continue expounding on the topic. Expansion is when you take another person’s idea and you talk about the implications or effects. Expansion shows that you’re paying attention and that you can see how useful the person and their idea is.
Technique Eight: Elicit more speech with nods and confirming noises.
Belfort uses a specific form of mirroring, he nods and makes confirming noises. This tells the person you are listening without being disruptive.
Technique Nine: Ask clarifying questions.
Asking clarifying questions, if done right, keeps the person talking and shows that you’re really paying attention to what they’re saying and thinking about the content of their speech. Beware though, if you ask too many of this type of question, or any in general, it can make the first person feel like they’re undergoing an interrogation.
Technique Ten: Use tactical vulnerability.
This is the last major report building strategy that Belfort uses. Tactical vulnerability is when you share a story or fact about yourself that exposes part of yourself that you would typically hide. Tactical vulnerability works when the thing you’re exposing matches something about your target. For example, in this clip we just saw Belfort talk about how he had a drug problem. This allowed Cardone and Belfort to bond about their old drug issues. But be careful with this technique though, you don’t want to cross the line of vulnerability and connection, and then go all the way to the other side and show yourself as incompetent.
How To Build Rapport Quickly (If You Only Have 5 Minutes)
We’ve covered ten techniques Belfort himself uses to lower people’s guards and establish rapport. Remember these are the very techniques he used to scam people out of billions. Once you understand the techniques, practice is all that is left between you and your goals. There are quite a few different techniques now, so which one should you focus on? Here are the most important ones you can use to build rapport with anyone in 5 minutes, just follow these four steps:
Step One: Establish why you are speaking to the person so they can relax. In the interview, Belfort begins by explaining that he wants to get sales tips for his audience. This vulnerable disclosure keeps Cardone from guessing as to what Belfort’s motives are when he asks questions. Knowing people’s motives help calm people down. For example, if I speak to a random person at the store and just start peppering them with questions they would get nervous. However, if I tell them that I’m hungry and I’m wondering what good restaurants are in the area, then the person will feel more comfortable with my questions.
Step Two: Ask questions that your target can successfully answer in the interview. Belfort knows that Cardone has experience in sales, so he asked him how he started out. If Belfort asked a tough question right off the bat, Cardone would have closed up. However, being able to successfully answer a question makes people feel more comfortable, intelligent, and in control. Try asking questions about things that most people have experience with and are proud of. I typically ask a recommendation for people’s favorite TV shows, hobbies, or vacation spots if I’m in a non-sale situation. This lowers people’s guards because everybody has something that they like to talk about. It’s best if your question has relevance to the current situation.
Step Three: As the person responds, elicit more speech. We see Belfort do this in the interview when he nods and says, “Tell me more,” and asks follow-up questions. When you keep the person talking you build rapport by making a person feel more important. Would you be so focused on their response if you thought they were boring.
Step Four: Point out similarities, but do it sparsely. Belfort points out common ground every once in a while while talking with Cardone. When you share things in common with a person, your guard relaxes because they seem similar to you. Careful though, if you overdo this stuff you can freak people out. You’re different and that’s okay. Remember to cycle through steps one through four as many times as necessary until the person begins to relax. We saw Belfort do this as he switched between the comfortable topics and the sales questions that he needed to ask, which made Cardone slightly nervous. Try switching the question topic around until you find something interesting.
A quick word of caution, if you are in sales, you should focus the statements and questions on the customer’s relevant problems. There are few things worse for rapport than a salesperson that wants to talk about the weekend when we both know the purpose of the conversation is to move the product. Find a need you can help with or move on as you focus on learning the customer’s issues through relevant questions. Rapport will come naturally as they feel more and more understood.
For more on persuasion in general, check out our Persuasion Sins Article.