How to Build Rapport

How to Build Rapport

Building rapport with your customers is a significant competitive advantage.  If you are friends with your customers, it is very difficult for another salesperson to take them away from you.  In fact, when a competitor contacts one of your customers with whom you have a strong relationship, they will not want to take the call as a sign of respect to you; it would be a betrayal of your friendship.  Consequently, building rapport with customers should be a key part of an organization’s sales coaching and selling process.

What is rapport?  Rapport is an emotional bond or friendly relationship based on mutual likening, trust and understanding.  Exceptional salespeople are natural bonders and build rapport easily.  They know that selling something to customers breaks rapport, but educating or teaching them something of value builds it.  How do you determine good rapport-building skills?  Examine the length of one’s answers.  For example, How was your weekend?  If “good,” non-rapport-building.  If highly engaged, rapport-building.  Below are five techniques for building rapport.

  • Be a good listener.  Understand what customers need and want.
  • Be an expert.  Accelerate trust with customers by being an expert on your industry and product.
  • Be emphatic.  Be interested in how customers feel.
  • Be helpful.  Look for ways to help customers succeed.
  • Be interested.  Look for areas you have in common with customers (people like people like themselves).

Building rapport is a competitive advantage.  Ensure interactions with customers are relational, not transactional.

All contents copyright © 2011, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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