Making people feel special is one of the essential elements in forming good customer relationships. You can show that you think a customer is worth your time and attention in many ways. It is this ability to show that you feel this – and not just say it – that makes good customer relationships.
Here are our 6 key ways to build rapport:
- Be genuine. Before the first day of school, first jobs, camp, and any family get-together, Dad always said, “Just be yourself and everything will be fine.” This lesson applies to generating rapport with prospects and customers. As Oscar Wilde said “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”.
- Be warm and friendly. Chilly people get chilly reactions from other people. Approach rapport building with the intent to be warm and friendly. Smile, give a firm handshake, make eye contact, and engage.
- Show interest. No surprise to anyone, people are self-focused. This is quite helpful to those of us in selling because we need to learn about our prospects before we can provide the best solutions. People want to feel like they have an opening to share what they’re thinking, including their desires, fears, and problems. The more genuinely interested you appear the more relaxed and willing to share they’re likely to be.
- Don’t seem too needy. Most of us know someone who wanted to be liked, so he “tried hard,” but it didn’t work. In trying to be liked, he appeared needy and conspicuous. You cannot force rapport. Show interest, but don’t act subservient, overly friendly, or too pushy or you will only turn the other person off. Don’t come on like gangbusters.
- Give genuine compliments. Sycophants get nowhere, but genuine compliments are endearing. If you like the house, someone’s web site, or are impressed with their book, say so. If your prospect had a recent accomplishment, relay your authentic congratulations. This can go a long way towards building rapport and they’ll appreciate it.
- Read the culture. Always be yourself but, at the same time, you can adjust your approach to the other person and company. Don’t change who you are to fit the culture, but be aware of how the culture works and how it best responds.
If you think these tips are pretty basic and straightforward, you’re right. Rapport building is an area that doesn’t need over complication. Do what you can to create positive feelings and positive emotional reactions with people, and you’ll be well on your way.