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Custom Growth Solutions, LLC | Sandler Training | Oklahoma City, OK

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My team and I often share with people how good sales is a result of good communication. In fact, in several workshops we put on, we explain within the first few minutes that we'll use the terms interchangeably during the workshop.

It's hard to argue against the fact that a salesperson who is good at communicating is going to be better at their job!

Part of good communication is good bonding and rapport. And that's not about asking about a photo, a trophy, or memorabilia in your prospect's office. It's about communicating how they want to communicate.

A couple of our clients have run into situations that demonstrate the difference. Let's look at those two stories and the lessons learned, then I'll share some additional resources we have available.

Bad bonding and rapport

Several years ago, an organization brought me in to talk to around 150 people. I was sharing how good bonding and rapport works, how to use it to connect with people quicker so you can have a real conversation, and how plenty of bad sales training programs teach you to do it the wrong way.

Just then, I noticed a young lady sitting in the front of the audience was looking very uncomfortable but also like she wanted to share something.

I asked her if she wanted to share. She responded, "I worked for a company that told us we needed to go in and find a picture and start asking questions."

She went on to share that she was in a prospect's office, and they had a family picture. She said to them, "That's a beautiful family. Tell me about them."

The next thing she knew, she was being escorted out of their office. She wasn't literally thrown out, but it had suddenly become a very uncomfortable situation and she was asked to leave.

She shared with me, "I found out a few days later that it was his family. About six weeks earlier, one of his kids had passed away."

She's not the only client that's shared a story like that with me! Another client was making a follow up call to a lead he'd met with a few times. A month or so before, his lead had to reschedule a meeting because his son was sick.

Attempting to establish some bonding and rapport, he asked the lead, "How's your son doing? Is he feeling better?"

Unfortunately, the son had passed away a few weeks before. My client continued the call, but the entire tone had become extremely awkward. Needless to say, my client did not make the sale.

Connect the right way

Both of my clients had read traditional sales books and been through traditional sales training. In fact, the first company had spent a ton of money to have someone train her on how to bond with prospects.

But the method they both used caused their prospects to immediately disconnect with them emotionally!

Of course, people buy on emotion and justify with logic. And while connecting with someone the right way doesn't guarantee a sale, disconnecting with someone guarantees there won't be a sale.

Bonding and rapport with your prospects is important, but it's not all about finding things you have in common and talking about those topics. It's about connecting with others subconsciously. You have to watch the other person, then follow their lead both verbally and nonverbally.

Do they like a lot of details? Provide them with plenty of detail. Do they hate detail? Don't give them too many details.

Do they make decisions after careful consideration? Don't try to rush them. Do they like to make decisions quickly? Be sure to give them that opportunity.


We often help organizations, sales teams, and individuals learn how to connect with their prospects through bonding and rapport. There are a number of tactics that can help you better connect with others.

Here are a few of those we've shared in other articles:

We also have other tools available to help with communication. First up is a video that talks about how you get better at communication.

Next up is one of our books, From the Board Room to the Living Room. Sandler Training director David Hiatt introduces a how-to communication guide to improve relationships, deepen conversations, and achieve more positive outcomes.

You can read more and even download a free sample chapter here:

Finally, you may want us to help your team learn the right way to communicate and establish bonding and rapport with prospects and others. If you or your team needs help to have better conversations with others, we would be happy to talk with you.

You can call us at 405-844-1700 or email me at


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