Tuesday, May 19, 2009

GeroMarketing™ Basic #1: Establish Rapport.

Essentially, establishing rapport is about making friends. In counseling, it’s the process of building a continuing relationship based on respect, intellectual and emotional understanding, and empathy. Once established, it encourages the client to trust the counselor and become open and receptive to therapeutic approaches. Without rapport, the chance that counseling will succeed is slim, indeed, although you’d never know it from the way some hyperaggressive talk show “counselors” act.

When communicating with Baby Boomers, establishing rapport is the first step on the road to the Boomer Buying Center. It’s the key to getting Boomers involved with your advertising and marcom, and it’s crucial to all the sales techniques that come after it. But be careful. It can’t be done in an obvious, ham-handed way, or it will be perceived as nothing more than crass manipulation.

Authentic rapport convincingly mirrors the values and world views of the target market, as well as their communication style and diction level. If you ignore these guidelines and try to willfully impose your message on Boomers, you’ll lose them faster than you can say, “Hey, how come that expensive glossy ad didn’t work?”

But, if you can make Boomers feel genuinely understood, they will be more apt to trust you and be open to whatever you’re selling, because you’ve shown that you truly comprehend and respect the way that they see the world. Make it clear that you embrace their values—that you’re on the same wavelength cognitively and emotionally—and you’ll establish the kind of rapport that mere money can’t buy. The bottom line is that real rapport has the power to turn Boomers into more than just friends—it can make them loyal customers, too.

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