Previously, we stated that some 93 percent of what determines someone’s impact when communicating is largely unconscious. We noticed that deep rapport is created not by accident but by the application of certain skills. That deep rapport and intense commitment combined put you at the top of your game.

Let’s begin to apply some of the skills we have learned into a simple yet powerful process for creating deep rapport with everyone we meet. It starts with having a clear purpose underlying what you do for a living. That purpose will express itself in making direct eye contact with a person, being relaxed enough that you naturally tend to match the other person’s voice and energy levels, and flows into your handshake, which ideally also matches his in pressure, duration and style.

With this initial platform of connection, we will begin any interaction with a strong platform of unconscious rapport. After the initial connection, we all engage in a certain amount of small talk. This is one of the most important and most dangerous parts of the sales process. It is when you are in position to get the best and highest quality information. The other person does not yet feel that he is being sold, so he is much more apt to be at ease in sharing information.

Small talk also is the most dangerous part of the sales process because it is when you are most apt to be thinking of what to say or, even worse, trying to impress the person (which is really not very impressive).

The key to small talk is to do as little talking as possible. Think of a time you met someone and felt really connected to him. Did he do most of the talking, or did you? Odds are that if you examine it deeply, you did most of the talking, which is why you liked him so much. The key to building rapport is not talking, it’s listening, or even more appropriately, feeling understood.

There is a single question you want to ask people during small talk that will reveal to you their inner process for making decisions that is the key to opening the lock of the sale. Usually to kick off a conversation, we will ask you to stick to safe questions like, “How did you first get started in your industry?” or “What do you find most challenging about your industry?”

It doesn’t matter what he answers or how he answers. What you will be looking for is an opportunity to ask the question, “How did you decide that?” What you will be listening for is the structure or process of how he makes choices or decisions.

If you listen carefully, you will be able to hear that there are certain consistent structures to the way all human beings make decisions. You will see that the pattern doesn’t change, though the decisions might. When people are presented something about which they need to make a decision, if it is not presented in the way they make decisions, they may get confused or just say no.

The more you observe and practice, the more you will see. The more you see, the easier it is to get to where you are going. See you next time.