If you’ve ever felt like you just couldn’t connect with someone, then you know how frustrating it can be. Whether it’s a colleague, client, or customer, not good in building rapport can make communication difficult and often unsuccessful. Building customer rapport is a important skill in any sales professional setting. 

I remember when I was first starting out in my career and I had trouble building rapport with some of my clients. It was so frustrating because no matter what I did, I just couldn’t seem to connect with them on a personal level. Thankfully, over time I learned that building rapport is actually a skill that can be developed! 

If you’re struggling to build rapport yourself, here are some tips that might help:

What is rapport?

Establishing a connection with someone is what builds rapport with them.

Building good rapport with someone is a great way to understand them better and serve them.

Rapport building is essential to developing a strong working relationship with someone. It’s important to be genuine in your interest and honest in order to build trust.

It’s important to build positive relationships with the people you work with. But it takes effort to create a healthy level of rapport and communication.

Some people are naturally gifted at making small talk.

Even if you struggle to make small-talk and you aren’t good at building business relationships, you can master the art of developing rapport with others. Like any other soft skills, it’s an ability you can improve.

Why Does Rapport Matter?

Building rapport is important in personal and professional relationships.

Companies tend to hire people they know will be a good fit with their existing employees. This is because they find it easier to build personal relationships with people who they already know.

There is better rapport with the prospect.

This bond is important because we all have a tendency to want to be with ‘people like us’.When we first meet someone, we start to try and build rapport. This is why small talk exists, it allows us to find common ground with others and create a shared bond. This bond is crucial as we are more likely to want to be around those who are similar to us.

This social connection is important, because we tend to gravitate towards people who are similar to us.

If you want to build rapport with someone, it’s helpful if you have things in common. It’s easier to find shared ground and things to talk about when you’re similar.

You have common ground, and things you both know about.

This makes it easier to build a relationship with your prospects, and to communicate in general.

While it may seem obvious, we all find ourselves wondering from time to time:

“He/she is lovely, I’m sure, but we really have nothing in common.”

Rapport is important because it helps to create a shared frame of reference between two people. When rapport is lacking, it can make working together more difficult and work place communication more challenging. However, even in these circumstances, it is still possible to build rapport and develop a strong relationship.

6 tips to help you break the ice and build relationships

It can be intimidating to try to build rapport with someone, especially if you don’t like small talk. Building rapport means focusing on your strengths and using your personality in order to build a genuine connection.

1. Understanding yourself is the first step to understanding yourself

Before you start a conversation, the first thing you should do is to be honest with yourself. It’s not about trying to fake it. To build this skill, you don’t need to be the most outgoing person or the most introverted. No matter what communication skills you have, anyone can build rapport.

You can identify your strengths and weaknesses so that you can use them in future conversations. Let’s say, for example, that you don’t think small talk is your forte. That’s okay! Instead of engaging in small talk with new acquaintances, engage them in deeper conversations. Ask them about their pets or their work history. Although these are simple questions, they help you to get to know your team members better.

If you are introverted, you might feel tired at crowds or networking events. That’s fine, too. Prioritize 1:1s, coffee chats, or even brief watercooler conversations with individuals. Instead of trying to force yourself to attend every networking event, lean into your strengths.

2. Practice active listening

Building rapport is only possible when you listen. Active listening, also known as listening to understand, refers to the practice of paying attention to what the other person is saying instead of worrying about what you might say next.

As a customer support rep, active listening is a great way for you to make meaningful connections and make the best out of the sales conversations. You are more likely to listen to what they have to share than if you are focusing on your own thoughts. This helps you to understand them better and makes them feel more at ease around you.

3. Keep your body language positive

How you listen is just as important as how you look. Even if you are paying attention, distractions or disinterested nonverbal communication may unintentionally distract people.

Check in with your body language and facial expressions during a conversation. Are your arms crossed? Are you making eye contact with anyone? These little things can make a huge difference.

Particularly, ensure that:

  • Do not forget to mention

  • Encourage others to make encouraging sounds and gestures

  • Smile

  • Eye contact

4. Look for commonalities

It is easy to establish rapport by looking for commonalities between you and another person. Are there common interests? A similar past? It’s often easier to make a connection with someone if you have something in common. This common ground can be used as a starting point for deeper conversations.

This can be done by paying attention to your coworker. You might see a coworker wearing a sweatshirt that was earned at college or displaying a photo of their children on their desk. Perhaps you have heard that they have a similar work history or that you both love cats. Find something you can share with them to build a deeper connection.

5. Develop your empathy

Even if you don’t have much in common with the other person use empathy and curiosity to build trust. This involves focusing on the needs of the other person and how you can help.

Is the other person new to work? Perhaps they need a friend. Perhaps they had a bad day at work. If they are open to a coffee and chatting, ask them. Building rapport is about building a relationship with someone. You can do this by tapping into your emotional intelligence.

6. Ask open-ended questions

Open-ended questions can be used to find common ground. Open-ended questions encourage the other person to share more information about their past. Open-ended questions can be used for any topic. Instead of asking “How many years have you been in marketing?” which is a one-sentence answer, ask “How did you get started in marketing?”. You’re asking the same thing but asking for more details.

7. Take notes

You might consider taking notes about what you learned about someone to help you remember to follow-up later. I don’t recommend that you keep any private information about someone. However, it is a good idea to record small details about their lives that you might forget once your busy schedule takes over.

If a colleague mentions that they are training for a marathon in the future, take it down so you can ask them questions when you see them again. Write down their names and how many children they have. People feel special when you can recall details about their lives and when you follow-up.

Building trust with colleagues is only one aspect of getting support for ideas. However, when we use these  methods, we are laying the foundation to achieve our professional goals. Building relationships and trust with our colleagues is key to effective workplace communications. When we take the time and get to know each other, we position ourselves for success.

What is the key to building rapport?

The key to building rapport is to be genuine and authentic in your interactions with customers. It’s also important to be interested in the other person and to show that you care about them as a person. When you do these things, it creates a feeling of mutual respect and trust that forms the foundation for strong customer relationships.

How do you build rapport with a client?

Building rapport with a client is important in order to establish trust and create a positive relationship. There are many ways to build rapport, but some common methods include being friendly and personable, active listening, and showing genuine interest in the client.

It is also important to be respectful and professional at all times. By taking the time to get to know the client and build rapport, you will be able to create a strong foundation for a successful working relationship.

What are the 4 elements of rapport?

The four elements of rapport are: trust, respect, common goals, and communication. Rapport is the foundation of any strong relationship, whether it be personal or professional. Trust is essential in order for people to feel comfortable opening up to one another and sharing information.

Respect is necessary in order to maintain a healthy relationship where both parties feel valued. Common goals help to keep both parties focused on the same objectives and working together towards a shared outcome. Communication is key in any relationship as it allows for the exchange of ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

Is building rapport a skill?

Building rapport is a skill that can be learned and developed over time. It involves developing relationships with others, understanding their needs and wants, and being able to communicate effectively. It is an important skill for anyone who wants to be successful in business or in their personal life.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to build better relationships with the people you work with, or the customers, then building rapport is the skill you need! By learning how to read people and understanding their communication style, you can start forming stronger bonds with those around you.

So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and start practicing your rapport-building skills today!


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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
This post was generated for LeadFuze and attributed to Justin McGill, the Founder of LeadFuze.