Rapport is all about highlighting common interests and establishing a mutual feeling of friendliness. When people like each other – whether in business, friendship, or both – they tend to help each other.
Most salespeople are naturally enthusiastic, positive, and outgoing people, but that doesn't necessarily mean everyone will like you off the bat. Here are three ways you can increase your rapport rating with prospects and customers:
1. Match your customer's style. Pay attention to how your customer prefers to communicate and get in step. Does your customer prefer to get right down to business, or warm up by engaging in small talk? What kinds of things does he or she find funny, interesting, or intriguing? If your customer talks quickly and loudly, make an effort to match that energy.
2. Trust builds rapport. Your customers will learn to trust you if you do what you say. Keep your commitments, call when you say you will, and always follow through. Be careful not to make promises you might not be able to keep. Too many salespeople make well-intentioned commitments, only to find themselves unable to find time to fulfill them. They may not always lose a sale because of this, but they're certainly not building the kind of trust that will make that customer anxious to give referrals.
Another way to build trust is to demonstrate that you're interested in their well-being -- beyond your own profit potential. Know and appreciate your customers' needs beyond your product. See what you can do to help them meet those needs. Little things like finding information for them or putting them in touch with other suppliers tend to make a big difference.
3. Practice reciprocity. When you treat people in a certain way, they tend to want to treat you in the same way. Find ways to treat your customers as valued members of your professional and even social circle. In life and in business, the little things make a big difference.