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7 Ways to Build Rapport in Sales and Connect with People

blog author
Written by Mike Schultz
President, RAIN Group

Consider this: a CBS News / New York Times poll asked, "What percent of people in general are trustworthy?" 1

The answer: 30%. We're all pretty skeptical, right?

Not necessarily. At the same time, the CBS News / New York Times poll asked a similar group the same question, but with a slight difference. "What percent of people that you know are trustworthy?"

The answer: 70%.

This goes to show: when people get to know and like you, people begin to trust you.

Of course, there's a lot more to building rapport and trust than making a positive initial connection with someone, but it sure is a good start. Having a strong connection with someone makes them more comfortable sharing their aspirations and their afflictions with you, two things you need to know about your buyer if you want to succeed in sales.

In fact, rapport is so important, it stands for the R in RAIN Selling.

When you build rapport in sales, you want to make a sincere connection. Too often, chit-chat before a sales call seems contrived…because it is.

7 Ways to Build Rapport

If you're curious about where to begin with rapport building, the following questions will help get you started.

Questions for Building Rapport in Sales

  • How was your weekend? Anything interesting?
  • It was good to hear the short version of your background at the meeting, but since we're out for lunch, I'd love to get the long version. What's your story?
  • I have to say, I really like your (insert something about them…their lobby, the artwork on their walls, how friendly their staff is, or anything else you actually liked. Then, ask an open-ended question about that particular thing).
  • Are you from this area? Oh, interesting. I know people in…do you know (this person)? Oh, I've never been there, but I heard it's got the most amazing restaurants, the most amazing scenery, the most amazing fly fishing, or other thing you've actually heard.
  • Welcome to the town. Have you been to Scottsdale before? Where are you staying? What's that like? A lot different from Vancouver, wouldn't you say?

For more rapport-building questions, download our guide, 50 Powerful Sales Questions.

If you think these questions are pretty basic and straightforward, you're right. Building rapport doesn't need to be overly complicated.

Do what you can to create positive feelings and emotional reactions with your potential buyers. Keep these 7 tips for building rapport in mind and you'll be well on your way to creating the lasting relationships you're looking for.

1  Simmons, Annette. Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins: How to Use Your Own Stories to Communicate with Power and Impact. New York: AMACOM, 2015.

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Topics: Sales Conversations