The Rapport Pyramid_ How To Build Trust Every Time

The Rapport Pyramid: How To Build Trust Every Time

Approximate read time: 7 minutes

A Sales Process for how to sell in-person, may look like this:

  1. Market Research;
    1. Identify prospects (who are you customers);
  2. Marketing;
    1. Suspect for Prospects (finding your customers);
  3. Marketing/Sales;
    1. Initiate Outreach (bridging the gap with your customers);
    2. Target Outreach (qualify/disqualify your customers);
  4. Sales;
    1. Needs Analysis (find your customers specific needs);
    2. Solution Presentation (present your solution to your customers);
    3. Trial Close (ask your customers to buy);
      1. Negotiation (address any customer concerns – if required); and
      2. Close (ask your customers to buy again – if required.)

Following the Rapport Pyramid allows you to progress from point 3a above to 4c.

Without the Rapport Pyramid your sales efforts will be haphazard and indiscriminate.

Here is the reason…

Imagine your first message on a dating app was “let’s get married.”

99 times out of 100, that is going to come across as creepy.

Alternatively, imagine if your said the very same words: “let‘s get married” to their long term partner…

99 times out of 100, that is going to be received well.

Same words, very different responses.



The first situation has no rapport, that is trust, authenticity and emotional connection.

The second situation has all of that, plus time.

It’s like me going up to a group of people I have never met before and asking “do you vote for Labor or Liberal” straight off the bat.

No, “hi, how are you, how’s your day going, what are you up to” etc.

The likely answer would be “get away from me you freak” or the equivalent.

This is because trust, authenticity and emotional connection are all lacking and I did something where there was no supporting context for it.

The Rapport Pyramid is important because it:

  • Emulates how humans naturally communicate and connect;
  • Allows you to analytically improve your communication in a controlled way; and
  • Creates trust.

Trust is “confidence placed in a person from the building of rapport by saying what you will do and then doing what you said,” or saying what you will not do and then not doing what you said.

This guide will show you how to establish rapport really quickly.

Trust and thus rapport is built through the mutual exchange of:

  1. Emotional Willingness;
  2. Polite Conversation;
  3. Facts & Information;
  4. Compliments;
  5. Commonalities;
  6. Ideas & Opinions;
  7. Feelings & Emotions; and
  8. Authenticity & Congruence.

Visually it looks something like this:

Rapport Pyramid

1 Emotional Willingness

The first level is Emotional Willingness.

This is determining if they are open to interacting with you.

This could be achieved through qualifying them.

2 Polite Conversation

The next level is Polite Conversation.

This includes things like pleasantries.

3 Facts & Information

The next level is Facts & Information.

This is the exchange of small talk.

4 Compliments

The next level is Compliments.

These are positive comments on things that are perceived as important to the receiver, not you the giver.

But for you the giver, appearance is the most obvious place to start at this stage as these isn’t much more for you to go on.

5 Commonalities

The next level is Commonalities.

These are the things you have in common.

By this stage you should have established some based on Facts & Information.

6 Ideas & Opinions

The next level is Ideas & Opinions.

These are their point of view on certain Commonalities and Facts & Information.

You can get them to compare two things.

7 Feelings & Emotions

The next level is Feelings & Emotions.

This is their attitude to their point of views.

You can anchor this, but it is not required.

An anchor is a Neuro Linguistic Programming term that is the process of connecting an internal process (like a feeling) with and external trigger that can be recalled.

For example, the smell of hot coffee in the morning could be an external trigger.

The happiness of a good night sleep could be the internal state.

When they are linked an anchor is formed.

5 years later, in the morning after good night’s sleep the smell of hot coffee will bring back the feeling of happiness.

An anchor could be:

  • Olfaction (smell);
  • Visual;
  • Aural;
  • Gustational; or
  • Kinaesthetic.

A Kinaesthetic anchor is the easiest to apply and recall.

8 Authenticity & Congruence

The final level is Authenticity & Congruence.

This is about people being genuine with you, regardless of social consequences and conventions.

If you can establish positive Feelings & Emotions, you will then have Authenticity & Congruency, that is, saying what you will do and then doing what you said, which if your recall is the definition of Trust.

Trouble Shooting

A rejection, in other words, you cannot progress further in trust building, means that the person who is rejecting you is uncomfortable in deepen the relationship based on:

  1. Them not having enough information; or
  2. You communicating at a level of rapport that hasn’t been established yet (as per the previous “let’s get marriage” example.)

To overcome this you, need to know what level of rapport you have.

Then you need to communicate at that level by giving more information.

If you are at Feelings & Emotions level, you can apply your anchor (if it was set) and skip all the previous stages and get straight back to Feelings & Emotions level in an instant.

The glue that makes this all work, is listening to what they say and reflecting back to them what you heard them say in your own words.

This show you are interested in them and it allows you to:

  • Get key information to use as conversational threads;
  • Understand their point of view; and
  • Establish any concerns.

All of these allow you to get to the next level.

From the point of rapport, you can Negotiating Concerns (Negotiating Concerns, that is 4ci, land at the level of Feelings & Emotions), and Gain Loyalty.

Take Action

You made it…

You now have a solid plan for building trust every time.

It will be more than enough for you to get started on your own.

You can get 21 printed lead generating Process Maps for free, here.

And if you’re serious about marketing and selling more, the logical next step is to contact me to help you do it yourself, have me do it with you, or have it all done for you.

This may be the momentum you need to get great marketing and sales results.

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