A great relationship with clients is the successful salesperson’s key to resilience and results. It takes time and skill to nurture a positive rapport with people, but if you approach it with the right level of understanding and empathy, your customers will be confident that whatever you’re offering them is right for them or their business. They are also more likely to discuss you with others and open up further opportunities for you within their business or network.
Nausheen Khan, Team Lead, Customer Success at Datadog, and Natasha Stamos, Business Development Manager at InfoTrack AU, have some valuable tips for building rapport and establishing that all-important trust in you and your services.
Trust is everything! It is the foundation of any successful relationship, including in sales. There are many ways to maintain trust and connection but the fundamental things to remember are to always be honest, transparent and consistent, and to have clear boundaries. You need to also be reliable, supportive and understanding, both when things are going well and when they’re not.
Ultimately, when you have a rapport with someone, you’re better placed to influence them. They will be more likely to accept your ideas, to be more open, and to share information, which all leads to creating opportunities together.
Rapport can’t be measured tangibly and therefore rests on the ability of a salesperson to build an unseen connection. This connection is based on trust which in general needs to be achieved within the first minute – or even seconds – of a conversation.
Above all, honesty is always the best policy. If you don’t know, don’t lie or take a chance – the more honest you are with your client, the more easily you will be able to gain their trust and build rapport.
The truth is, rapport and positive customer relationships aren’t built overnight – you must make it essential to cultivate and nurture them at every touchpoint.
For me, preparation is key. The more you know about the customer and what they want, the better equipped you will be to build rapport and trust with them. Get to know their needs and wants and pain points. It’s also important to be consistent and timely in your interactions so the expectations are set early on.
The aim is to get your customer comfortable opening up about their needs, and feeling that you care about them and their business. To do this, you need to really listen, and make them feel heard and valued. This won’t only give you information about their needs, but also insight into the style of communication that best suits them. Some clients value a lot of chatting and will often make decisions based on how they feel about you. Others prefer things to be kept factual and focused.
You also need to become relatable – use past experiences and factual examples to show your authenticity and that you understand their needs. Then there is knowledge, which is power. You should ensure you undertake research about them prior to having conversations. Understanding their business, as well as having a solid base of understanding of your product and/or service, is essential for establishing trust.
Customers need to feel like they’re getting value from the relationship – if they feel like they’re being taken advantage of, it’ll be difficult to build a positive rapport. Always ensure you are aligning customer expectations with what you can actually deliver. If you set the wrong expectations, it will be difficult for them to trust you in the future.
Everyone has heard the stories of the over promising salesperson. Taking the time to build rapport is useless if there is no follow-through. Ensuring you speak the truth and deliver what you promise will strengthen the relationship and ties built with the client.
We all know that sales is based on numbers and revenue, but in order to achieve their targets, a successful sales professional must hone their rapport-building skills. It’s core to the process of getting customers to believe in you and your product, so invest the time and effort it takes to create good relationships and you’ll reap the rewards when those buying decisions are being made.
Thanks for sharing your insights with us Nausheen and Natasha!