In sales, it is essential to build relationships, but it takes time. Rapport is the art of building a personal connection with someone. It requires emotional intelligence and strong interpersonal skills. I learned how to build rapport as a nurse, but it helps me in my sales career.

In both sales and nursing, we have pain points. In nursing, patients would come in at the most vulnerable points in their life. Without quickly building rapport, it would have been hard to get patients to trust me and allow me to provide the care they needed. Like a sales relationship, rapport building can help us identify prospects pain points and provide the care and attention they need.

Developing rapport is essential in every relationship.

In this blog, I discuss and provide top tips in building rapport which is essential to a successful sales relationship.

Why Building Rapport is Important in Sales

Building rapport helps us with the initial connection we need to build relationships. Rapport takes us to a more personal level and helps us get comfortable within specific environments. Through creating and maintaining rapport with both current clients and prospects, we can ensure we are getting the most out of relationships and add value.

A prospect could stay suspicious of you, the company, and the product/service until you establish rapport. Trust is one of the most significant variables in purchasing decisions. With rapport, you are more likely to close a deal successfully and show the prospect you care about them rather than just the sale itself. With trust, we can help clients identify and find solutions to their challenges, which will help close sales. Without trust in a relationship, it will hinder the selling process, lengthen the sales cycle, or cost you the sale.

We often focus on communication. However, verbal communication is not always enough to establish trust and relationships. Rapport requires many different skills to build trust and effectively communicate with other people. According to specialists, 55% of communication is through body language, 38% through tone of voice and the remaining 7% is delivered through words. Individuals need to communicate with a thought process to build rapport.

5 Top Tips for Building Rapport

For some people, building rapport comes naturally. However, if that is not you, don’t worry as it is a learnable skill. Below are some ways that you can start to improve your skills.

Find Common Ground

Relate to the other person by identifying a shared experience or opinion. It could be one of many things but find common ground and show empathy. It is essential for connecting with other people and demonstrates a great understanding of what they care about. Even if you don’t have anything in common, you can still create rapport by having a sincere interest in them. By doing so, it reinforces your connection for future conversations.

Ask Questions

A good salesperson builds rapport by asking open questions. It can eliminate the conversation from getting uncomfortable and result in small talk. Don’t jump right into a rehearsed speech. Ask appropriate questions based on some initial research you carried out. You will acquire information about what is important to them by asking questions, which you may use later. However, make sure these are the correct type of questions. We want more meaningful discussions, and we get those by asking great open questions.

Actively Listen

Give your full attention and be in the moment with somebody as they are speaking. Based on your nonverbal communication and the next question you ask; they will know you are listening. Listening is an underrated skill so if customers think you are listening, you establish trust and build great rapport.

Sales Performance: The Impact of Active Listening, is a previous blog where I delve into the importance of listening.

Remember Names

Using a person’s name is an effective technique to establish rapport. It is true not only for consumers but for everybody you interact with. Remembering names is overlooked but it makes a good impression. It could be that you remember the prospect’s name or the names of their children, friends, and colleagues.

Body Language

You do not have to be a body language expert, but the nonverbal communication that we show is essential to building rapport. When speaking with somebody, make sure you face them, make comfortable eye contact, and perhaps, mirror some of their expressions. You must show empathy and acknowledge what they are saying.

Be aware of body language signals that indicate they’re losing concentration or disinterested so you might need to change your approach. We are not always face-to-face, so the tone of voice and tonality are crucial as it portrays a person’s character through a non-visual medium.

Building rapport is important as it helps build trust and focuses on the other person. The more you build rapport, the more successful you will be professionally and personally.

Listen to my podcast episode Why Building Rapport is Important | 5 Top Tips if you want to learn more.