A past salesperson friend of mine used to talk about rapport but he pronounced it as “rappert”, which is kinda funny with today’s lexicon. This article is about finding different ways to build rapport for effective communication.

Rapport happens when you are creating something personal with someone else. You create a personal connection when you share something personal that the other person can relate to. Ask questions. Learn about the other person. Come from a place where you genuinely WANT to learn, and not just to further your own sales agenda. Ask questions. Something like “What do you hope to get out of working with us?” Now, here’s a question for you. How often are you listening just long enough to think of something you want to say, something that will top their story? Be honest! Guilty as charged.

I’ve been guilty of this in the past, and probably will in the future unless I stop and think before I speak and heed my own advice here. When you do this you are puking all over the client. It’s detrimental to your sales and your business. You can’t do that. Learn about the other person and suppress the need to blurt out a response to everything they say. Rapport is all about understanding a perspective, and knowing where a customer is coming from. Most people just want to be understood. They are there in your meeting (whether it’s a phone, email, virtually or in-person) to hopefully find out if you are a proper fit, a solution, to their problem. They may not be able to afford you or they may have a different idea or vision than you. That’s OK.

However, when you come to an understanding of where they are and what they want, then you are better suited to be able to serve them. Business is about serving and not selling.

Here’s another tip on rapport. Words mean things. Your homework assignment (if you choose to accept it) is to record yourself during your next sales meeting or interaction with your client or customer (just audio is OK). If you ever say, “So I wanted to tell you about…” Stop the recording right there. The word “tell” should never come out of your mouth. Don’t tell. Ask your client. Say, “I’d like to find out.” Or “I wanted to know” or “I’d love to learn about…” Think about yourself for a second. Do you ever like to be told something? No. You’d love to learn about something, but you never want to be told. Again, your homework is to record yourself at your next sales meeting and write down how many times you say the word “tell”. How many times you say that word is a report card on how well you’re connecting with the client and how well you’re building rapport.

Rapport happens when you create something personal with a client when you understand their vision and what they want to create.  Resist the urge to blurt out a response without first understanding them. Create your report card. Work on replacing the word tell with sentences that benefit the client and not your ego.

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