How to Build Rapport in Sales

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One of the most important skills that a successful sales agent possesses in the process of constructing the relationship with customer is the ability to establish rapport. It is a universal truth that people buy from people they like. A fundamental question of whether clients like you or not will make a significant impact on how your selling process and the buyer’s decision process will go.

Thus, when you build a strong relationship with the help of rapport, the chance of closing a sale increases dramatically. It means that you tend to have more influence on the customers and they are more likely to value your contribution to the decision process and become “long-term” customers. Building rapport in sales is a process that takes time and requires discipline and preparation to ensure that proper implementation takes place. That is why, for getting successful results in sales, it is essential to know how to build rapport with customers.

Here are 5 main tips “how to build rapport in sales”:

  1. Do some research before meeting a client. Even a short Internet research will provide you with some relevant questions in areas that matter to the target customer. You can find information about their personal life (hobbies, where they worked before, where they live) as well as their business. Gathered information will help you to start a dialogue with open-ended questions and draw prospect’s attention so that they will have a possibility to talk about their work or problems.
  2. Find common experience. If you want to build a successful rapport and increase your influence on customers, you should interact with them and create shared experience. Being involved in a process, people develop a stronger liking for the people who are interacting with them. Thus, try to cooperate with them in identifying a problem, developing a strategy for finding a solution and coming to common terms and agreement.
  3. Listen actively. Active listening is a vital sales communication skill that is important not only for building rapport but for all other aspects of selling as well. If you can get people talking about themselves, you have made some progress. But if you show them that you actually listen to them, you make them feel important, appreciated, respected so that you can build a strong relationship of trust. Show empathy and concentrate on customer’s pain by using questions that show interest and your willingness to help. Don’t forget also to summarize the conversation because this very step sets a great listener apart from others. Repeating key points of what was said will not only sum up the main terms but also will make client feel heard and understood. Remember one golden rule “spend more of your time listening rather than pitching” for getting trustful relationship.
  4. Mirror and match (non-verbal language). Mirroring and matching are based on the fundamental principle that people like the ones who are similar to themselves. For developing quick rapport with a customer, you can mirror and match:
  • body language. By mirroring client posture or gestures, you send a positive subconscious message that you pay attention to their communication and show that you are on their side.
  • voice. The same can be applied to matching potential prospect’s intonation, speed, the pace and volume of the speech. This will help you to penetrate into the way they interact and get in tune with them.
  • communication style. For creating a quick rapport, you can use mutual language, that is using the same communication style and words as your prospect. For example, if your customer uses “credit card bill”, use exactly the same term.

The key thing in non-verbal language is to be careful what and how you say it in order not to mimic your prospect rudely because it can create opposite effect. 

How to build rapport in phone sales

It is easy to build rapport with someone whom you meet face-to-face. But what to do when you sell over the phone? In this case, you can use the same tips which were mentioned above (except non-verbal language). But, in addition, we have prepared for you some main points on rapport building over the phone:

  1. Speak with smile. A smile can be heard in the tonality of your voice and make your voice more welcoming and relaxing.
  2. Start conversation with warm-up questions. A simple question like “how is your day?” or “how are you today?” will help you to sound more friendly and “break the ice”.
  3. Pay attention to the tonality of your voice. In a call center, rapport options are limited because non-verbal language is not available for you. Therefore, you must rely on your voice. It’s not just words that are important for customers, but also the tonality (tone, pace, volume, intonation, etc.) with which they are pronounced.
  4. Try to use upright sitting position or stand up while you build rapport as the posture effects the tone of your voice.

As can be seen from above, rapport is considered to be one of sales languages. It’s not about making good friends with your customers, but creating a comfortable atmosphere where two sides cooperate freely and agree about common terms. Therefore, mastering rapport, no matter over the phone or in person, is a skill you must develop for gaining success in sales.   

Tanya Gonchar

Expert in call center process automation, Head of Marketing at Voiptime Cloud. Interested in customer service, B2B sales, marketing, business analysis.

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