Three Rapport Myths That Could Ruin Your Sales


Paul Ross



As many of you may know, I used to be an internationally famous dating coach, and when you’re teaching guys who have some serious blocks and barriers, you have to get right to it, find out what really works. You can’t mess around with theories, you can’t mess around with what I call the seminar room illusion.

The seminar room illusion for neurolinguistic programming is you come in and you get into that seminar, and man, things sure seem to work inside the seminar. But what people aren’t getting is people who come to that seminar are self-selecting to be responsive. They’re raising their hand by shelling out all that money. It used to be for travel. We’ll see if travel comes back, how slowly it does, due to this awful virus I don’t know how far in the future you’ll be watching this, but at this moment, we’re going through a plague of sorts. I think it’s a plague of stupidity and unnecessary compliance, but that’s a topic for another day.

So I come from a background of applying neurolinguistic programming in the practical world. That’s why I see things differently, and you can begin to see things differently in a way that serves you only as fast as you quickly, naturally and easily find yourself really being willing to take this on into the real world. And I don’t want that to happen any faster than you feel that smile spreading across your face and you recognize, “Wow, Paul is really a great teacher.” So let’s dive in.

Rapport myth number one: “Rapport is the most important thing in any interaction or communication or transaction you have with people.”

I want to give you this perception. First and foremost, we have to define, what is rapport? What does it mean? First and foremost, it’s not about someone liking you or feeling that they’re the same as you, or you are somehow the same as them. I’ve seen this in so many traditional sales trainings. “Get the other fellow to like you.” Dale Carnegie wrote a horrible book called How to Win Friends and Influence People.

I know that’s blasphemy to say in the sales world, but the primary thing he thought is to get people to like you. Well, how can you be in a position of leadership if the most important thing to you is getting the other person to like you, or being agreeable to the other person?

So rapport is not necessarily about people liking you. And it’s certainly not about people feeling that you’re the same as they are. That’s not necessary. It can be important, it can add to it, but it’s really not necessary. So rapport is not about people liking you, it’s not about feeling the same as you are. So many old stupid sales techniques revolve around this idea.

You’re inside someone’s home, you see a picture of their kids, you go, “Oh, those are beautiful kids. Wow, you must be so proud of them.” In reality, they could be awful kids. They could be selling drugs down the street, the parents could be broke because the kid has stole them blind. You don’t know their situation. So avoid that shit.


“Mention the fish on the wall”


Or they call it “Mention the fish on the wall” technique. The person has a huge bigmouth bass that’s stuffed on the wall and you say, “Wow, you’re a great fisherman? My uncle Bob—may he rest in peace—loved to fish.” So this is bullshit.

I define rapport as a channel of unconscious trust and responsiveness. To me, rapport is most important and only important if it creates a response frame, if it creates that response potential to create equally important states. As someone who’s teaching Subtle Words that Sell, one of my main teachings to you is it’s not so important to think about how do you do your presentation, what words to say. That’s important. What’s important is to first ask yourself, what state of mind do I want that person in?

So having that state of unconscious trust and responsiveness that they’re going to be responding to you, a response potential frame, a state of suggestibility. If all you do is have that channel of unconscious trust, that doesn’t guarantee that they’re going to be suggestible.

Additionally, it doesn’t guarantee that they’re going to be focused on you. Just because people feel that state of unconscious trust and feeling like they’re in sync with you—that’s the NLP definition, not mine—that doesn’t mean they’re going to respond to you. It certainly doesn’t mean they’re going to have the attention span to respond to you.

So you also have to create those states of intense focus. So rapport is not about people liking you or feeling they’re the same as you are. It’s about unconscious trust and responsiveness which in turn leads to states of suggestibility and focus.

The second big rapport myth—and this is a ridiculous rapport myth—is that the best way to get rapport is by matching people’s sensory predicates. This is what’s known in NLP as VAK, visual auditory kinesthetic. So with the NLP way of doing things, you listen for your prospect. If the prospect says, “I imagine seeing this in a clear way and when I paint the picture in my mind, it looks like this.” You would respond by saying, “Oh, yeah, I can imagine you seeing it this way, very sharp and focused.”

It really is ridiculous. First of all, it’s not necessary. It’s clunky and clumsy. You have to focus on constantly matching these predicates. It’s ridiculous. A much better way is to create states of focus by being vague with your language. If you can be sufficiently vague with your language, you don’t have to match sensory predicates, you don’t have to mirror or match people’s body language. I’m not saying that mirroring or matching can’t have some effectiveness, but I don’t think it’s nearly as effective as it’s cracked up to be.


Why can’t I just directly command someone to say, “All right, in a moment, Mr. Jones, I’m going to command you to feel focused, to feel that you trust me, and that you’re going to be open to my suggestions. One, two, three. Go.”


Instead, be vague with your language. And this is an intense study, this is a subject for a three- or four-hour teaching session. But let’s get into this. So how do I create this state of intense focus where the person feels understood and they unconsciously trust me? Why can’t I just directly command someone to say, “All right, in a moment, Mr. Jones, I’m going to command you to feel focused, to feel that you trust me, and that you’re going to be open to my suggestions. One, two, three. Go.”

Well, it doesn’t work. You have to be covert. And, “Oh my god, you mean I can manipulate people? Oh no, it’s manipulation.” Well, I used to joke around and say manipulation is when you use influence persuasion to steal my girlfriend and take my money. Persuasion is when I use it to steal your girlfriend and take your money.

And in fact, all manipulation means to me is to move with deliberateness. Everyone take their hand, put it like this, wiggle your thumb and do this. So having a thumb allows you to manipulate objects. I can pick up this silver coin. I can twirl it around, because I have a thumb. The thumb works in opposition to and in cooperation with the other fingers. So we have that paradox of cooperation and opposition which creates the possibility to completely be the apex predator at the top of the food chain.

So rapport is only as useful as you create these states of unconscious trust, and even better, it leads to responsiveness, focus, and suggestibility. And you don’t do that with any of the traditional NLP techniques. Here’s the way to do it: you use vague language.

So if I wanted you to be in those states, I’d say, “As we’re continuing to share this exploration of NLP together, I’m not sure at what point you might stop, find yourself growing more and more fascinated about what it is you naturally are eager to learn, but as that’s taking place, I just want to say I feel so grateful to be the one who’s being allowed to share this important learning today. Can we move forward now?”

Now, this is very vague, and yet it’s creating all those states, focus, excitement, the sense that they trust me simply because I’m embedding the suggestions, and I’m suing a subtle word, “share.” I didn’t say, “As I’m showing you this today” or “As I’m teaching you this today.” “As sharing.” The challenge with showing, showing is something we do to someone. Sharing is something we do with someone.

So you see the power of subtle words. Subtle words are what give us the subtle sales edge. If you want the edge on your competition, if you want to explode your numbers and you’re already doing six and seven figures, this is the kind of stuff you want to learn. Or if you’re doing five, then you want to jump up to six. Notice the power in a couple of sentences. Notice the power of language. Mark Twain said the difference between lightning and a lightning bug is the difference between the right word and the wrong word. I want you to create lightning in your communication. I want you to be that lightning, not that little bug that floats around and can get swatted.

So the third myth about rapport is that you must always be in rapport, that it’s so crucial to always be in rapport with your prospect, your audience, your clients. I’m here to tell you the times where that is not the case, when your prospect is really stuck, you may have to shock them. You may have to create a state of shock. You may have to temporarily break rapport and shock them to create a state of suggestibility.

Here’s why: people in general are walking around on autopilot. It’s just true. In most contexts—especially when it comes to money—people—by the way, this is silver. This is real money. This is not a Federal Reserve note. This is money. And gold as well, but I’m not taking my gold out of my safe.

So sometimes when our prospect is really stuck in a way that’s not serving us, nor is it serving them, sometimes when prospects are on their autopilot no, their autopilot stall or autopilot smokescreen, it’s not serving them, because going along with our choice may actually be better than anything they ever thought was possible, anything they ever thought they deserved, or they could afford.


“I understand that it seems expensive right now, but that’s because you’re not considering the return on investment. Let me show you what that looks like.”

So let’s say the prospect says “I just don’t have the money.” You could try to get rapport and say, “I understand that it seems expensive right now, but that’s because you’re not considering the return on investment. Let me show you what that looks like.”

Now, that’s not bad. But the prospect may think, “I’ve heard this before.” I want you guys to remember, a tactic identified is a tactic disarmed. And the problem with what I showed you, what I just repeated, is they’ve heard it before a million times. We have a paradox, and when you see a paradox, that means the old paradigm is crumbling, it’s time for a new one.

The paradox with our prospects today is they’re super dumbed down, numbed out, and lack focus. They have the focus of a goldfish. And yet, at the same time, they’re hip and sophisticated to your sales techniques, because they’ve been bombarded by them through all sorts of mediums. They’re getting them on the Internet, face-to-face, over the phone, TV. So they’re getting more and more hip to them.

So the paradox is they’re numbed out, dumbed down, defocused, and yet at the same time, they’re more sophisticated. So the old ways of doing selling that may have used to work don’t work so well anymore. I’m not saying to abandon them, but turbocharge them with what I have to use. Now, if they’re really not working for you, of course, abandon them.

So I want to use shock. If someone says, “I don’t have the money” or “I can’t afford it,” I’d say, “How’s that going to change if you don’t step up and invest in yourself?” All of a sudden, you just knocked them off your heels, you’ve given them a great right hook directly to their unconscious mind. What are they going to do? You’ve just taken the very reason that they can’t buy and made it the reason that they have to buy, that they have to invest.

And then I would follow it up with something really cool. I would say Warren Buffer, the richest man in the world once said once you find your vision, you can always find the money. So why don’t we take a minute to look at it like the world’s richest man so you can see you really can move forward with this?

So that’s a more advanced thing, we’re using quotes, and we’re using appeal to authority. Who are we to argue with Warren Buffet? I don’t know that Warren Buffet, by the way, said any such thing. Quoting an authority is a very powerful technique. This is why my heckles raise and my blood pressure goes up when I hear falsely quoting Einstein.

“Well, Einstein said that compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.” He would never say anything that stupid. Einstein once said, “By the way, I never said half the stupid shit people say I said on the Internet.”

So those are the points I wanted to cover. Report is not about people liking you, and it’s not even the most important thing. Rapport, unless you also create states of focus and responsiveness and suggestibility, is useless. Rapport is not about people liking you, and it’s a myth that you have to always be in rapport with people. Sometimes you have to break rapport.

So that is it for today. I hope you really enjoyed it. I will take your questions not live but I want you to type your questions out underneath this video as you watch the replay. Feel free to share it, like it, comment, and I will see you next Thursday at 12:00 PM. And you can even suggest the topics if you want to. Make a post, suggest the topics you would like to learn when it comes to subtle selling and getting the subtle sales edge. This has been Paul Ross. Thanks for your time and attention. And remember, if your prospects are not doing at least 80% of the work to make the sale for you, you’re doing too much work and you’re making far too little money. Good day.

~ PR

Paul Ross

Website: www.speakerpaulross.com

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