Master The Meeting

Use property observations to build rapport

Once inside your prospect's home or office, you'll have access to important clues about him or her. Just look around and make property observations. What kind of objects does the person collect? What can you learn from the photographs on the desk or walls? Is there music playing? Anything from a ski trophy to the artwork on the wall can be a conversation starter and a means for building a bridge that will foster good rapport.

Imagine you're meeting a prospect in his office. You notice three photographs on his desk picturing him with his Labrador retriever accepting trophies at dog shows. There are prints of Ansel Adams' photographs of the Grand Canyon on the wall, and classic rock is playing in the background. You've just made three types of helpful property observations. Now it's up to you to pick one so you can illustrate something you both have in common. Suppose you have a dachshund, not a Lab, but you share a love of dogs, or you've recently gone to the Grand Canyon. You get the idea. By using property observations this way, you'll begin the relationship with something in common that you both enjoy.

Kim Gordon is the owner of National Marketing Federation and is a multifaceted marketing expert, speaker, author and media spokesperson. Her latest book is Maximum Marketing, Minimum Dollars.

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This article was originally published in the January 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Master The Meeting.

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