The ability to build rapport with customers and prospects is vitally important. Why? Because, if you have rapport with your customers, they are more likely to trust you, listen to you and communicate openly with you.
This in turn enables you to interact more comfortably and work more effectively together.
Rapport dramatically increases your chances of winning a sale. Having rapport means that when there are tough issues to discuss, for example price increases, you can more easily find agreement and solutions, and move on.
Classic research by Robert Birdwhistle looked at how face-to-face communication was received and responded to. His figures suggest that your impact depends on three factors – how you look, how you sound, and what you say. His research broke it down: 55 percent body language, 38 percent quality of the voice and 7 percent actual words spoken.
Rapport involves being able to see eye-to-eye with other people, connecting on their wavelength. So much (93 percent) of the perception of your sincerity comes not from what you say but how you say it, and how you show an appreciation for the other person’s thoughts and feelings.
When you are in rapport with someone you can disagree with what they say and still relate respectfully with him or her. The important point to remember is to acknowledge other people for the unique individuals that they are. Rapport can be described as ‘when two people are like each other, they like each other!’ Rapport builds trust and without basic trust communication can become stilted.
When communication between two or more individuals reaches its optimum it’s said that a perfect rapport has been established.
On the other hand, when communicating with a customer or prospect is hard the situation becomes rapport-less. Some people we meet may inspire an instant connection and immediate trust, while another person can be very polite and charming, yet we don’t feel any connection with them and our communication feels unnatural. When two or more people meet they immediately start an automatic process of comparison with the other. If the outcome of this process is judged that the other person is similar in some way then rapport is established. When people are in a state of rapport they tend to respond easier to our instructions, suggestions and influence.
Is it any wonder that rapport is often seen as the foundation of all good communication?