Rapport is the foundation for effective communication and positive relationship-building. It stems from finding and/or creating common ground. The ability to build rapport with customers is vitally important. Why? Because, if you have rapport with your customers they are more likely to trust you, listen to you and communicate openly with you. This in turn enables you to interact more comfortably and work more effectively together. Rapport dramatically increases your chances of being able to take action and win business.
There are 4 main indicators that tell you when you are in rapport with a someone:
- you feel an openness/warmth between you
- you find yourselves agreeing with each other
- when you move, they adjust their posture to match your’s
- they are open to your suggestions… even though they may not necessarily be in agreement with them
Resistance from your customers is usually a sign of lack of rapport. The great news is that your skills in rapport-building can be easily developed and enhanced by practicing techniques. In general, people like people who are like themselves. So one of the easiest ways to build rapport and ensure store contacts feel comfortable with you is to be as much like them as you can. An effective way to build rapport is to match your store contact’s body language, voice qualities and types of words they use. This is called mirroring and matching. This means subtly and sincerely adapting what you say and do to suit the way they do things.
- their body language – posture, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, breathing, etc
- their voice qualities – speed, rhythm, volume, tone
- their words – key words and phrases as well as the types of words based on their communication style (Visual, Auditory, Feeling, Logical). pick up on the important words they use and incorporate them in your discussions
- their interests and experiences – this is often a safe place to start, understanding a bit more about them and what they enjoy doing
You can use these matching techniques just as effectively over the telephone, when matching voice qualities becomes even more important. For example, if the person you are speaking to is talking quickly and loudly, ensure that you talk quickly and loudly.
Remember mirroring or matching is not mimicking. Mimicking is probably a bit creepy… I once worked with someone who took it that little bit too far and copied everything the person did and said. They got resistance from their customer every time they tried to talk about their product. The customer put a barrier up and didn’t want to talk. But don’t worry, matching is something that we all do naturally when we are in rapport. By thoroughly understanding this process you can start to use it when you want to build relationships.
Building strong long lasting rapport filled relationships and you and your business will be healthy and successful.
Rapport is just one of the many topics we cover on our Sales Activator – Consultative Selling Programme. This programme is for anyone in a customer facing role that wants to develop skills they already have or learn new skills in order to make them even more successful.
Why not contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org today to talk more about the programme and to see if it is right for you.