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Five Tips on How to Build Rapport

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ― Maya Angelou

When dealing with people — customers, prospects, colleagues, friends, family — it’s important to think about them not as creatures of logic, but as creatures of emotion. We are all human beings, and we engage our whole selves in conversations and relationships. Some people call this IQ and EQ, left brain/right brain, and even new brain/old brain.

The point is:  People are complex beings who often draw on emotions more than logic, knowledge, or intellect when making connections with others. There’s a dynamic — changing energy or chemistry that passes between people. This is the basis of building rapport.

5 Tips for Better Rapport Building

How can you be sure building rapport is positive? Here are five tips on how to build rapport:

  1. Be Positive: When engaging with another person, your attitude affects the kind of rapport that you build. Are you smiling? Is your body posture open? Do you exude confidence and enthusiasm? It’s not about being someone you’re not or looking like an excited cheerleader. It’s about showing genuine interest and being authentic in who you are.
  2. Be Present: Be mindful of the person you’re trying to build rapport with. Listen carefully to what he/she is saying. Try to understand his/her world and focus of attention. Notice body language and how he/she does and says things.
  3. Be an Active Listener: More than hearing words, active listening involves noticing tone of voice, how the person is feeling, and what he/she is not saying. It could mean synthesizing what the person told you into a larger context so that you can share experiences. Be curious about the other person and the words and sentence constructions he/she uses. And, listen without judgment. All of these aspects help to leverage empathy, which comes across in multiple ways: tone of voice, eye contact, word usage, questions asked, and the sincerity that you project.
  4. Be Looking for the “Yes”: It’s easy to connect with some people. Whether it’s their personal style of communication or something else, they just resonate with you. You “get” each other. And, there are others in which you have no immediate connection with whatsoever. Instead of jumping to conclusions and making assumptions about this person, look for a positive aspect — a “yes” — that you can relate to.
  5. Be Aware of Purpose: In the world of sales, we are constantly seeking to help someone solve a particular problem. Approaching with the mindset of, “What can I do to help this person?” helps in establishing rapport. More than just going for the sale, you’re focused on helping another individual.
About the Author

Richardson Sales Performance is a global sales training and performance improvement company. Our goal is to transform every buyer experience by empowering sellers with critical skills so they can create value to buyers and drive meaningful conversations. Our methodology combines a market proven sales and coaching curriculum with an innovative and customizable approach to learning that ensures your sales teams learn, master, and apply those behaviors where and when it matters most — in front of your customers. It’s our job to anticipate change in your industry so that your sales team can focus on fostering long-term relationships, becoming indispensable partners for their buyers.

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