As a Digital Marketing Consultant, building rapport with my clients begins with conversation designed to nurture a relationship that is based on mutual understanding. That means taking the time to relate to problems my clients solve for their customers and knowing the challenges they face. It’s also critical that I understand their goals, as it’s my job to help move their business closer towards them.
Build rapport by seeking common ground.
Getting to know people I conduct business with on a personal level enhances the professional relationship, allowing for the discovery of common interests. It creates a sense of trust, establishing a comfort zone for sharing information.
In fact, when it comes to sales in general, making an emotional connection with customers is key to providing a solid foundation on which to do business.
“Most decisions are made emotionally and then justified financially.”
— Speaker and best-selling author, Mark Jewell
Here are a few tips for opening avenues of communication and building rapport to develop a good working relationship.
When you greet an individual, be open with your body language, smile, make eye contact, and extend your hand to introduce yourself. Be sure to use his or her name during the conversation. We all feel more socially engaged when we hear another person say our name.
Everyone has a story to tell. To learn more about the other person, ask open-ended questions and show genuine interest in their responses. Allow them to fully express themselves without interruption.
Affirm that you absorbed what was said by offering feedback. Complementing the person on his or her business accomplishments or talents reinforces a positive connection.
Customers want to know that they’ll be treated fairly. If you’re selling a product, take the time to educate the consumer on its proper use and maintenance. If you’re providing a service, explain the timeframe for delivery of services, lay the groundwork for what comes next, and address any potential issues that may arise. Setting the tone upfront for positive results prevents misunderstandings and unexpected surprises.
Remember, people like people who are like themselves. We all share many of the same day-to-day joys and frustrations. The golden rule of “Do unto others as you would want done to you,” holds true. Validating the thoughts and feelings of others builds good rapport and serves as the basis for positive interactions. Not only will it encourage others to do business with you; it’s likely to result in future business coming in from referrals.