In the sales world there’s a huge emphasis on learning how to build rapport and develop relationships. Sales gurus talk about this skill as the holy grail of sales.
“If you want to be good at sales then you have to learn how to build rapport.”
Rapport Building is Not a Sales Skill
New sales people are taught sales techniques to build rapport. But in case you haven’t noticed, building rapport isn’t a sales skill – it’s a life skill. If we forgot about just building rapport in order to be a great sales person and instead thought about building rapport as a basic function of our lives, just imagine how even basic conversations in your world could change.
Here is one definition of rapport: a relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.
Would You Do This?
Would you indulge me? Take just a minute right now and think about a conversation that you have been part of or that you have heard in the last 24 hours and ask yourself, “Was rapport used effectively in that conversation? How could it have been different?”
Rapport Building is a Life Skill
I would love to see training in Building Rapport become a central focus of how we raise our children and how we act as adults – not just when we are sales people, but in our everyday lives. As parents, if we model the behavior, we will not only teach our children, but we will become better at rapport building ourselves.
What are the key components of rapport building?
- Be positive and friendly – people will be more relaxed and open if you are the same way.
- Be curious – be genuinely interested in the other person, what their interests and thoughts are.
- Ask good questions that encourage people to answer without intimidating them.
- Be a good listener – listen to the other person’s responses and ideas. When someone is talking to you are you really listening, or are you just dying to reply back? Do you listen until they have finished, or do you cut them off? Do you focus on what they are saying, or is your mind drifting off to other things?
Building Rapport takes practice. When you are building rapport you want the other person to talk, not you. At first your little inner ego may say, “Hey, what about me? I want to talk about me!” But if you take the time to build rapport with other people, you will open up your world to so many new possibilities through the people that you meet and get to know.
So don’t save Rapport Building for sales people. It’s not a sales skill. It’s a life skill that really will make a difference in your life and in the life of others.
You can make a difference for someone today by building rapport with them. Who will it be?