Why Building Rapport With Customers Is Important
As any sales or marketing professional knows, building rapport with the potential customer is an extremely important part of the sales process. Successfully building trust and rapport with a customer can make the difference between a prospect’s “yes!” and “no”.
Here is a bit more information about what rapport is, the benefits of building rapport, and why it’s so important when interacting with your customers.
Why Is Rapport Important?
Rapport is important because it is the fundamental base of a sincere relationship with your customers. Rapport is based on taking the time to get to know someone so you can speak directly to their needs, dreams, and pain points. Rapport helps create a lasting connection with your customers where they learn to trust you and your brand.
What Are the Benefits of Building Rapport?
The importance of rapport cannot be understated. It takes time to develop, but it’s worth it. Working to establish rapport will help you to establish trust and earn respect from your customers. As you develop trust your customers become invested not just in your product or service but in you. This can help increase sales, decrease client churn, and lead to priceless customer referrals.
What Happens If You Lack Rapport?
If you don’t establish rapport with your customers, your brand becomes yet another faceless and emotionless brand. They have no connection or relationship with your brand. Customers will quickly abandon your company for one that is cheaper, faster, and friendlier if they’re not connected to your brand through rapport.
Opening the Gate for the Sale
Rapport is the gatekeeper to the sales process. By skipping this step, the salesperson is inviting the prospect to slam the door, hang up the phone, or end the sales meeting right then and there. In order for a sale to proceed, a certain amount of trust needs to exist between you and your prospect. Without it, the sales process never really takes place.
Wowing Your Customer Now and Later
A good salesperson builds rapport by asking effective discovery questions. By discovering problems they need to solve, as well as interests and hobbies, you can wow your customer during the sale and after.
Think of how much more likely your customer is to say yes when you remember that his hobby is golf and have the final sales meeting at Top Golf, as opposed to the office? Information learned through the discovery process can make a powerful impression in the customer experience both before and after the sale.
The Difference Between a Lifelong Customer and a Chargeback
One of the most important factors of buying decisions is trust. Do I trust the product or service will be able to fix my problem? Do I trust they will deliver the promised good or service? Am a falling for another silver-tongued salesman?
Until rapport is built, the prospect remains skeptical of you, the company, and the product/service. A foundation of trust that begins before the sale and continues beyond the sale can make the difference between a lifelong customer and a chargeback. Once the sale is over, if the customer doesn’t believe the product or company will help them, they’re likely to leave for another who will.
The Customer is More Likely to Say “Yes”
Why is rapport important? Because you are more likely to effectively close a deal. Discovery questions communicate to the prospect that you care about them, not just the sale, and helps you lay a foundation of trust. By discovering and remembering key pain points, you can later use these to help close a sale.
10 Ways Your Team Can Build Rapport with Your Customers
Rapport is powerful and can be the key to establishing lifelong customers. Here are ten easy ways your team can improve your rapport with customers.
1. Be Yourself
Building rapport with customers is all about building trust. Your customers will never trust you if you are disingenuous with them. While there is still a need for some layer of professional conduct, being yourself and letting your personality shine while interacting with your customers is a good place to start.
This is intentionally the first tip. If any of the future tips feel like you’re not being genuine or that you’re manipulating or lying to your customers, stop it. It is always better to be yourself than to try to create a false persona when building rapport.
2. Ditch Self Doubt
It’s difficult to develop rapport if you are convinced that you’re horrible, not worth attention, or that you’re worse than everyone around you. If you don’t believe people want to talk to you or that you don’t deserve to be in communication with them, you’ll never be able to build rapport.
You are worth being heard. You don’t need to do or be anything to gain that value. It’s innately yours. Your voice is worth hearing, and other people want to hear it.
3. Make a Good First Impression
By starting on the right foot with a good first impression, you set yourself up for building rapport later on. It is easier to build trust and empathy with a person when they already see you as someone who is friendly and interested in them. If you come off cold, disconnected, or annoyed by them, it’s going to take even more time to build a meaningful rapport.
4. Remember Their Name
You know the names of the people who are important in your life. By remembering a client’s name, you show that they matter to you and that you remember who they are. This simple connection starts the spark of trust between you and them and creates a space where you can effectively communicate with others.
5. Talk Less, Actively Listen More
No one likes a pushy salesman. They skip straight to selling and force a product or service they think is right for their customer. Their only goal is to make the sale, and they push their way to that sale.
A better approach is to stop talking and listen.
Listening to your customers gives you the opportunity to demonstrate you value them. Listening shows they are more than just a customer. Listening about their kid’s last band performance, a bad week in the office, or an amazing vacation they just had helps you become more connected and build a meaningful rapport.
6. Ask Questions
Asking questions forces your client to open up and share more. Find out everything you can about your client. Who are they? Where do they come from? What’s their history? What do they like? What do they hate?
As you are actively engaged with what your client is saying and getting to know them, you are building rapport by showing them that what they have to say is valued and important to you.
7. Find Common Ground
It can be frightening to deal with a customer from a different walk of life than you. Rather than finding differences, choose to find and highlight your similarities.
This will take time because you have to get to know more about your customers. Find out their goals and their pain points, and then find a similar feeling that you can relate to in your own life. The connections do not have to be a direct connection to build rapport. You can stretch and still find empathy and common ground. For example, what if your client said they hated pizza because it tastes like feet? You don’t have to agree with them, but you can still find common ground by telling them that you hate broccoli for the same reason. While you may disagree with them, you are still creating a bond of empathy through your hatred of food.
Remember not to fake empathy when trying to find common ground. Do not lie about your commonalities because this will only build fake rapport.
8. Show Empathy
Empathy goes beyond hearing what a person is saying. It is about relating to what they are feeling. Some people try to use a phrase like, “I understand what you were feeling,” to show empathy. That phrase is worthless. It doesn’t demonstrate that you understand the message.
Instead, try showing empathy with phrases like, “If I understand right, you’re feeling ____” or “If I was in that situation, I would feel ____, too.” To go one step further, you can even share your reaction to how they are feeling to create a connection by saying something like, “Hearing you feel ____ makes me feel ____ because ____.”
9. Spend Meaningful Time with Them
Building rapport is personal. It’s not built in large groups or rushed meetings but in purposeful and intentional moments of one-on-one connection. Those moments where you are giving them your full undivided attention and are actively trying to listen and connect are the moments when rapport is built best.
10. Follow Their Lead
Rapport is built from communication and vulnerability. Rushing a conversation into sensitive or personal topics can do more harm than good. Because everyone has different histories and comfort levels when talking about topics, focus on what the other person wants to talk about.
For example, rather than jumping straight in and asking questions about their family, wait for your client to bring up their family first. Because they opened the door to the topic, you can then ask follow-up questions and start to build your connection and rapport.
Some clients will be cautious about sharing personal information. Follow their lead and respect their comfort level.
Amplēo Can Help
In every sale, take time to ask good discovery questions and build rapport with the prospect. By taking time to build a relationship and make connections with the potential customer, the sales processes will become a more comfortable and engaging experience for both you and the prospect, consequently leading to more successful closes.
Contact Amplēo to learn how to continually build rapport with every customer.
Alysha Willden is a Marketing Specialist at Advanced CFO. A certified Multipliers consultant, Alysha is passionate about effective leadership that betters individuals and teams. Her background includes 5 years in Marketing and Sales roles, as well as Corporate Training. Alysha is a BYU Alumna.