Rapport is the real connection a business and a customer seek to achieve during their time working together. This is developed based on the assumption that both parties are genuinely interested in getting to know each other and want to add value. Understanding the importance of rapport and being able to establish a healthy, open relationship is one of the most indispensable skills and should be the paramount focus of all interactions. There are four fundamental principles of establishing and building good rapport that should be noted:
- Open communication
When businesses operate with the willingness to speak openly, they are fostering a safe and comfortable environment to share and learn about their customer’s needs. Focusing on communicating clearly from the onset of any relationship will build trust. It should be part of company culture, internally and externally. When open communication is practiced and held as the standard within a company, it is naturally welcomed to those external to the company such as customers and suppliers. Speaking openly encourages collaboration, cooperation, and effective decision-making.
Every business should embrace transparency as a means to improve relationships, service and loyalty. Find innovative ways to grow a deeper dialogue with your customers. Not only should you be transparent in business, but also your ability to be personally transparent can strengthen the bond between both parties. When business professionals display real human qualities, others appreciate and take interest in their vulnerability. Whether it’s sharing a little bit more about your personal life during a meeting (in a way that is relative to the conversation and isn’t perceived as self-interested) or by sharing personal thoughts, ideas, or interests on social platforms like LinkedIn, your customers will notice your effort in being yourself.
- Listen more than talk
Customers respond well when they feel someone has a sincere interest in them. If your customer is speaking, and expressing real concerns or interests – listen. Demonstrate that you are fully engaged and have their complete attention. By showing that their voice is the most important in the room, they will see that you genuinely care and have an interest in what they are saying. Every interaction is important, so don’t discount the conversation… even if it’s a short one.
- Ask the right questions
The value of your services and ability to achieve success for customers is directly reflected by your ability to ask the right questions. Make sure you understand the goals and objectives of your customers before proceeding. Don’t be afraid to ask something again or rephrase the question. Proactively clarifying what your customer has said will ensure you are both on the same page. Assumptions will only hurt you. Ask the right question, and produce the right outcome.
Take away: Transparency, clear and open communication all the way. Always. If you have questions about how to build rapport with your customers, contact us today for a consult.