Building Rapport in Sales has to be the number one skill that all sales professionals must know how to do.
Would you buy from a person that you don’t like or trust?
Or would you buy from a person in which you have a comfortable and trusting relationship?
As a young salesperson many years ago, I was fortunate to learn a very important lesson, which is:
“If they don’t like or trust you, they ain’t buying from you!!!
Rapport, although used everywhere in life, I’m going to discuss how to build rapport in sales so it will become part of who you are.
What is rapport, the characteristics required to do it, how to create it and how to keep it?
That being said,
What is Rapport?
As defined by Oxford English Dictionary, Rapport is:
“A close and harmonious relationship where people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well?”
The way I define building rapport in sales is: “building a trusting and comfortable relationship that will allow people to do business together”.
Like any relationship in life, it takes time to build trust, confidence, and comfort.
And in business, it’s the same, but there is a way to speed up this process, to build rapport.
Has there ever been a time in your life when you met someone and you just hit it off, the words just flowed, you felt very comfortable with that person? Great rapport.
And has there been a time when you met someone and there was no fit? Nothing was right. Maybe you felt uncomfortable?
When you have rapport you:
Your body language will be matching.
Your prospect may even say that we speak the same language.
There is a feeling of comfort.
You will have a flowing conversation.
The Characteristics of Rapport
Most noteworthy are the many characteristics that are important ingredients that go into having rapport, such as:
Knowing your product;
These characteristics can only be achieved by action.
Building Rapport In Sales and A Trusting Relationship
Knowing about something is different from knowing how to do it.
So, let’s talk about how to create rapport and a trusting relationship.
It’s all about asking the right questions to learn about your prospect and to build a relationship.
So instead of talking about how great you are, ask questions and listen.
Taking an Interest in the Other Person
- As Dale Carnegie writes in his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, one of the things he says, is “take an interest in the other person”.
- You take an interest in a person when you ask the question about who they are or why did they do certain things. For example:
- What’s important to you about___________ (their topic)?
- Why did they buy the house you did?
- How many kids do they have?
- What do you do for a living?
- How long have you been married?
- So you will get a feel for what I’m talking about, I want to ask you about a time when a person had taken an interest in you! Think about it.
- Did they ask questions about you?
- Did they compliment you?
- How did you feel when a person had taken an interest in you?
Have you ever gotten something different from a waiter or a salesperson after you told specifically what you wanted and only to realize they weren’t listening?
This is certainly a way to lose rapport and the sale.
- A person will really know that you care and they are being taken seriously due to you listening to them.
- Acknowledging (not paraphrasing) by repeating back what they said using some of the same words they used.
- Validating – by saying something like: “it’s understandable you feel that way because….”.
To really learn how to listen and use it to create relationships, I would suggest reading the article 12 Steps to Listening Like a Sales Champion.
A persons body language can speak more than words.
Just by observing how a person stands, the use of their arms, gestures on their face, the tilt of their body will tell you whether you have the rapport.
And at the same time, you can create rapport by purposely matching the other person.
Here are a few tips:
- Is your body language in sync with the other person, if not, you may want to match (copy) theirs without getting caught?
- What does it mean when your prospect crosses their arms after you give them a price and how do you deal with it?
- What if you client frowns when you say something?
Matching – Personality, Language, and Tonality
In general, people seem to do business with people like themselves.
In fact, matching people is one of the ways to create this similarity.
- If your client is easy-going, be easy-going.
- If your client is talking loud, talk loud.
- Match the or use some of the same words they use.
What Do You Have in Common
Did you ever speak to someone especially that you didn’t know only to find out that you had something in common?
Like you came from the same City, or know the same person.
How did you feel when you found this out?
Did you think that you clicked or got along with this person because you felt a little closer and more comfortable?
Keeping the Rapport in Sales
It’s easy sometimes to lose your sales rapport during your presentation.
That’s why it’s very important to know where your relationship stands with your buyer.
Taking your buyers pulse (so to speak) throughout the presentation will allow you just this.
Do this by reading your buyer’s body language, listening to what they say and asking the right questions.
All this will almost guarantee you know where you stand.
Once you know where you stand you can make any necessary adjustments so that you keep your rapport.
Building rapport and a trusting relationship with your prospect will create the respect and credibility needed to make the sale.
Furthermore, your client will feel confident and comfortable to share information and work with you.
Should an issue arise, they will come to you to find a solution because they want you to do well.
By building rapport you will create an environment in which your prospect will do business with you.
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