Rapport (noun) \ra-‘por\ : relation marked by harmony, conformity, accord, or affinity
We’ve all been in this situation: A spouse or a friend asks you to attend a Christmas party, a wedding, or a company picnic where you know absolutely nobody. Worse yet, your link to familiarity heads to the bathroom and leaves you…totally…alone…surrounded by strangers.
How do you handle that scenario?
Are you petrified and sweating bullets until your significant other returns, or are you naturally at ease and quick to strike up a conversation with the person behind you in the buffet line? Your baseline answer will probably determine, to a large extent, how successful you’ll be as a note broker.
A natural salesperson will not only build rapport, but build it quickly. When you’re on the phone with a prospect, you have very little time to build the trust and confidence, the rapport, you’ll need to make a deal happen. The more relational you are with people outside of work, the more naturally this part of the sales process will come to you. And I can’t stress enough how important rapport-building is.
Let’s take a real-world example: A few months back an elderly gentleman called me with a non-performing note he owned. Although he had Googled “note buyers” (or a related term) and was calling through his list of results, it was obvious he was uncomfortable about his situation and somewhat embarrassed his borrowers were no longer paying. Given his discomfort, I recognized I had very little time to ease his fears before he abandoned his current course of action and threw his hands up in frustration.
No, I didn’t rush him into providing the details of his note or ask him how much the property was worth; instead, I asked him about his city of residence. We talked about the unseasonably cold weather, the stellar football season his local university’s team was having, and his improving golf game. I know what you’re thinking – What a waste of time! What do any of those things have to do with the marketability of the seller’s note?
For that question I have two answers…NOTHING and EVERYTHING.
In the three minutes we spent talking about things NOT currently causing him distress, I built rapport with my prospect that I can guarantee NONE of my competitors did. Once he was more at ease and ready to talk about his note, I’m sure I also learned far more about his note than he would have shared with anyone else. In fact, before we hung up, my note seller asked me if it would be OK for him to call and get my opinion on other offers he was waiting on from companies he had called before he called me. Oh, and this is where I mention we got the deal despite not being the highest price. Now let me ask – do you still think those three minutes were wasted?
This is the kind of rapport you should be aiming for with every phone call. Look at the definition at the top of this article again: Harmony – am I on the same wavelength as my prospect? Conformity – was I successful in getting all the information I needed in order to help the prospect? Accord – are we working toward the same goal? Affinity – do I have a natural and inherent connection with the prospect?
How do you get better at building rapport as a Note Broker?
First and foremost; practice, practice, practice. Rapport-building for me is just an offshoot of how I naturally am around people. Most people walk into a convenience store and head for whatever they’re there to buy. I make eye contact with the clerk and give an exuberant “Good morning!”, “Good evening!”…or whatever applies. Most people keep to themselves on planes and elevators. I engage strangers around me with a “Howya doin’?” or a polite “Hello.” And so the question is this: When it comes to building rapport and earning the confidence and trust of your prospects, are you going to be like most people, or are you going to seal the deal?
About the Author: Clint Hinman is the President of Proficient Note Buyers LLC, a buyer and broker of non-performing notes/loans and REO. With over 17 years of experience in real estate-related cash flows, Clint is part investor, part broker, part consultant, and part plain nuts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.pronotebuyers.com.