Building solid rapport with others is essential in business. Whether you’re on the sales side or the customer side, you need to be personable. When you can connect with people on a deeper level, you can establish trust. This trust in turn impacts buying decisions and encourages repeat sales and loyal referrals. Of course, having a stellar product is the real victory, but during your first interaction with the customer, they vetting more than the product itself – they are vetting you.
We sat down with Nate Hirsch, our co-founder and CEO, to discuss the keys to being personable and building rapport, even during quick interactions like a short phone call. With these keys, you can promote trust with those you interact with and leave them with plenty of positive feelings towards you and your company.
1. Identify who you are talking to
The first step Nate recommended was to understand who you are talking to. If it’s not a cold call, do your research. Often, the person’s company website can tell you a little bit about who the person is and what they value. You should also consider their age, career interests, location, and other personal aspects to get an accurate-as-you-can snapshot before you begin the conversation.
But even with this research, you should always be ready to adapt your approach once the conversation starts, which leads into our next point.
2. Let them choose the speed
According to Nate, one of the keys to good rapport is to “let the other person choose the speed of the conversation.” If the other person likes small talk, go for small talk. If they are quick to get to the point, you should do the same. Even the actual speed at which you speak should be adjusted a little to match your conversation partner’s speed. These adjustments help them instantly feel at ease.
3. Figure out what they want
When you are on the receiving end, not only do you need to identify the person you are speaking to, but you also need to identify what they want. Use the first few minutes of your conversation to do just that, and don’t be afraid to ask them outright. For example, you could say, “Do you want me to start from the beginning here, or dive right in?”
Asking how they found out about your company in the first place also often provides helpful hints about their conversation style and preferences. A customer who calls your phone line might be very different than someone who messages you on Twitter.
4. Show passion
It’s difficult to get people to care about something if you don’t care about it. Make sure that your energy and passion shows through in your voice (and gestures) when you talk to others. Enthusiasm is infectious. Nate even recommended walking around when you are on calls, since your voice receives a natural boost. He says, “If you’re just sitting in your chair, you tend to have a lower tone of voice and convey a lower energy.”
If you are concerned about being too enthusiastic, then make sure you are listening carefully to balance things out. This balance between listening and enthusiasm creates great opportunities. For example, if a prospect brings up a particularly aggravating pain point with you, that’s your time to excitedly respond and describe how your product provides a solution.
5. Never over promise
On, the flip side of passion, you should never over promise anything. Getting excited about your product is important, but misrepresenting it can be disastrous. You may get the sale for a day, but you’ll reap the rewards of poor reviews and negative referrals over the long term. “Never say anything that can be twisted in any way,” Nate explained. “There’s no benefit to tricking customers or prospects, so always avoid any gray areas when you make commitments. State everything as clearly as possible.”
By always making promises you can keep, you establish trust down the line. You’ll also be more at ease in initial conversations, since you know you are being 100% transparent.
Do you find building rapport to be a challenge? What are some of the best methods you know to establish trust and an immediate connection?
Emily Bell has worked in digital marketing for seven years, tackling projects for a wide variety of tech and PR companies, as well as a few of Amazon’s top third-party sellers. Her work has appeared in Entrepreneur, Influencive, Addicted2Success, Forbes, and around the web.