How to melt the ice and quickly gain rapport when having a one-to-one meeting

by Richard White on September 4, 2012 · 0 comments

I was recently doing a one-to-one meeting with a financial adviser and I started off the meeting by saying “So Jeremy, how did you come to be a financial adviser? What’s your story?”

He lent back and laughed out loud! Apparently a mutual friend had told him about my love of stories and warned him I would probably ask him his story!

One of the easiest ways I have found to melt the ice and develop rapport with someone in a meeting is to ask them their story. People love to tell stories – it’s what friends do when they catch up with each other.  I have met with some quite frosty people over the years but as soon as they start getting into their story the ice just melts away.

It’s not just a technique and you do need to be interested in their story. I definitely am. I learn so much about people from their story. What they choose to include and what they leave out and it’s so easy to find things in common.

This particular financial adviser had worked at a bank and was originally trained to give totally independent advice and then the bank switched so that he was suddenly expected to go from giving impartial advice to pushing the banks products. It seemed the bank had stopped caring about the quality of the advice and was now just interested in sales. He told me how that caused him to leave the bank in disgust and set up on his own as an independent financial adviser.

I could see that I had touched a nerve as he began speaking passionately about how some people had given the industry a bad name. If I had not asked him his story then I doubt I would have gotten these insights as to what makes him different.

Why not give it a try next time you have a one-to-one meeting? Just a word of warning. You can be pretty certain that if you take an interest in their story they will want to know yours. So be prepared!

Richard White
Richard White is a sales coach and trainer. He specialises in helping IT consultants win more sales through effective networking. Richard is the author of ‘The Accidental Salesman Networking Survival Guide’ and is a highly sought after speaker on the subjects of networking and soft selling.

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