A Guide To Building Sales Relationships / Building Rapport
Building sales relationships and rapport is an absolutely crucial part of the sales process, because it can be the difference between winning the sale, or going back to the drawing board and starting the prospecting journey all over again.
Zig Ziglar famously said, “If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you”; and that couldn’t be more spot on.
So how do you begin building sales relationships and rapport?
In this article, we’ll be looking at:
- What is rapport?
- Steps for building sales relationships & rapport
- Questions for building sales relationships & rapport
A Guide To Building Sales Relationships / Building Rapport
What Is Rapport?
As per Business Dictionary’s definition, rapport is a positive or close relationship between people that involves mutual trust and attention. Those that develop rapport have similar interests, values, knowledge and behaviours.
Simply put – rapport is the art of building commonality between people.
When building sales relationships, it’s important to start by building commonality between you and your potential client, because our prospects trust people just like them.
Naturally, people believe their own stories, values, beliefs, standards and interests as being important.
When people demonstrate that they can be aligned to those same standards and beliefs, it makes a potential client also feel a subconscious bias towards you because you share positive commonalities.
Rapport is crucial and the first step in building sales relationships for the quick wins, and long term too.
Steps For Building Sales Relationships & Rapport
So now that we know why rapport is crucial for building sales relationships (and closing more sales), let’s look at the various steps to build rapport.
First impressions are important, and if you look different to your prospect, then you may lose commonality. You don’t have to dress exactly the same; however, it’s important to appear in a way that mirrors their standards, values, and beliefs.
Remember, rapport is all about finding like mindedness and commonality; we’re playing a subconscious game here, so we want people to subconsciously see us as being similar.
Don’t over dress or under dress for the occasion; be right for the occasion, environment and person/ people you’re meeting with.
Display A Sense Of Relaxation & Comfort
If you feel nervous and it shows, your prospect will also feel a subconscious need to be nervous too. That’s why it’s important when building sales relationships and rapport that you come into conversations relaxed, comfortable and acting normal.
When building sales relationships and rapport, remember to:
- We culturally appropriate (dress and act in a way that resonates with their cultural or religious standards)
- Smile and relax
- Give a firm handshake
- Remember individuals’ names
- Maintain a good, comfortable posture
- Listen more, and ask good open-ended questions
One of the things that harms Sales Professionals efforts when building sales relationships and rapport, is that they ether prematurely start talking about their products or services, or they start talking about themselves.
People generally love talking about themselves; whether it be their business, what they do, their family, hobbies and much more.
Building common ground is a great way to position yourself as someone similar to them and can be done so by asking questions; and finding similar experiences, values or standards that you both share.
Just remember, don’t overdo it – people can tell if you’re trying too hard, and this will hinder your efforts of building sales relationships because it’ll look too forced.
Empathy is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your toolkit as a Sales Professional; especially when building sales relationships. Empathy is being able to see things from your potential client’s perspective; seeing things and experiencing it through their eyes.
This is something to use just at the start of your conversation, but more importantly ask you start asking deep-diving, open-ended questions during the sales process.
Related article: 15 Powerful Open Ended Sales Questions To Close More Sales
Matching & Mirroring
Matching & Mirroring is a famously coined term from Ericksonian Hypnosis, as well as in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). A Psychologist named Albert Mehrabian found that when we communicate, we do so both consciously and subconsciously.
When building sales relationships and rapport, be mindful that we are using:
- 55% of our body language to communicate
- 38% is our tonality
- 7% are our words
When building sales relationships, it’s important to be very aware of our body language and to match and mirror our prospects. This communicates directly with their subconscious that we are in common and is a quick and powerful way to build rapport.
Please note: don’t try this without role playing, or clearly understanding how to use the chameleon effect. By doing this incorrectly, you’ll risk breaking rapport and any chance of building sales relationships with the people you’re meeting with.
To learn more about learning this process, you can do so by clicking here and seeing what you’ll learn under the rapport module.
Questions For Building Sales Relationships & Rapport
So far, we’ve covered what is rapport, its importance, and the steps in building sales relationships and rapport. We’ve also looked at the importance of getting Now we’ll look at a number of questions you can potentially use to build commonality between you and your prospects:
- Tell me about your role?
- How long have you been in business?
- Tell me about your clients and who you’re trying to serve?
- Where did you work before you started working at ____?
- I noticed you went to ___ College – awesome! What did you like about going there?
- Do you have to travel much for work each day?
Remember – these examples are to get the prospect talking about themselves, and finding commonality between you and your potential client.
Building sales relationships and rapport is a powerful way to win sales ethically; yet lay the foundation for long term and profitable relationships.
Learning how to do it properly can be very beneficial for you and your business and should be something your whole sales team strives to learn.
If it is something you’d like to learn more about, feel free to register for a No Cost Sales Masterclass here.