Establishing rapport is paramount for increasing sales and developing long term, repeat clients.
Some of you might be more inclined to believe that increasing sales is dependent upon a well delivered sales presentation or slick closing techniques. Others may rely on ‘low balling’ the competition or outwitting them with a wider range of products or features. Although each of these strategies reaps some rewards, long term sales is really about relationships. People purchase from individuals and companies they know, like, and trust. This relationship is the essence of rapport.
What is rapport?
Generally, I think rapport is considered to be one of those intangible elements like ‘chemical attraction’ or ‘personality’. In fact, I’ve heard several people insist that some individuals were just ‘born to sell’ as if it a genetic element were involved. Overall, I agree that charisma is attractive to some clients. Unfortunately, those who depend upon a glowing personality tend to ‘shoot from the hip’. Therefore, they are not adhering to a consistent sales process that is simple for the client to follow. In addition, they may be depending upon ‘charming’ the client into the sale which can be perceived as pressure or insincerity.
…the deepest level of relationship between two individuals in business which involves sharing common ground. Rapport is established when harmony and accord have been reached between both parties. This does not mean the individuals involved agree on every issue. It means they have attained a mutual respect for each other’s opinions.
We have created a sales training methodology we call Rapport Mastery™. It refers to possessing the skills and the genuine desire to develop relationships of mutual trust and affinity. The key to this is in having a genuine desire. There is no place in our sales skill training for surface level tricks such as mimicking behaviors with the intent of manipulating unsuspecting people. Rapport Mastery™ is a life style. It is a transparent way of dealing with people and doing business at all times. Unquestionably, Rapport Mastery™ involves enthusiasm for the success of others. In the sales setting it includes helping a client find a solution to a problem or filling an unmet need.
How long does it take to establish rapport with another?
Like Rome, rapport is not built in a day. Obviously, it is not realistic to believe you can create a deep trust and affinity with someone in a minute or two. Although each of us naturally ‘gels’ with certain types of people, there is no way to create this level of trust in the short term. It is a step by step process.
How will I know when I have reached this relational level?
You have probably established rapport with several individuals already. For example, has anyone ever asked for your opinion about a book, movie, job opportunity, doctor, or civic organization? The individuals who are seeking your advice are those with whom you have established rapport. Take a moment and jot their names down. This is your inner circle of individuals who consider you as their trusted advisor.
The individuals with whom you have developed rapport know, like, and trust you. As clients, they will purchase from you repeatedly and provide quality referrals.
Therefore, look at the names you have listed. Are they clients? If not, add them to your list of prospects. They are ‘low hanging fruit’ and likely to purchase from you. Continue adding to your list as you think of others this week.
How to develop this relational level with others
Basically, developing trust and affinity with new or prospective clients requires three steps:
- Building Trust:
- Under promise and over deliver: Delight your client by going the extra mile.
- Be 15 minutes early for an appointment and return phone calls promptly.
- Deliver what was promised, when it was promised.
2. Building Affinity
- Smile. Do you know that since the first televised debate in 1960, the presidential candidate who exhibits the largest smile has won each election?! People are drawn to others who smile.
- Be likable. Never complain to your clients about anything. Everyone is carrying more than enough trouble in their lives. A cheerful, optimistic attitude is attractive to be around.
- Be the first to apologize. If there’s been a mistake, take the blame. Remember the two rules for dealing with customers: 1) The customer is always right. 2) If the customer is wrong, refer to rule #1.
3. Discover the two roads for building rapport. There are two different ways individuals build relationships based on their unique behavior style. We help you identify which approach will be best for you and master the skills needed in our free eCourse below.
Download our free resource “The 3 Keys for Building Rapport”
Most importantly, your long term success in sales and business requires building unshakable relationships with your client base. Once developed, these relationships will produce repeat business and quality referrals for securing the future of your business.
Joe Pici has been ranked in the TOP 30 sales trainers internationally by Global Gurus.
Contact him today for a FREE, 15 minute consultation on how you can sell more!