The headline, People Do Business With People They Like, on Forbes.com recently reminded me that building rapport is also very important when negotiating.
In his book, Influence: Science and Practice, psychologist Robert Cialdini calls this phenomena the Liking Rule and notes that, “[w]e most prefer to say yes to the requests of someone we know and like.”
Research shows we tend to like people more when they exhibit similar characteristics – they dress like us, share our beliefs and display similar attitudes.
Knowing this, sales professionals often attempt to mirror their prospective clients’ appearance and attitude and seek to find things in common with them. I recently dealt with a salesperson who told me his father shared my name. I wondered how often he made that claim!
Interestingly, this usually works even if the recipients know it’s occurring.
The bottom line: spend time at the beginning of your negotiations establishing some personal or professional rapport with your counterpart by identifying common interests, common friends, a common background or common experiences.