Building Trust and Rapport
“Building Trust and Rapport” was the headline in an invitation I received in the mail for a full day sales seminar being held at a local hotel. The small print listed trust and rapport as a “necessary sales skill,” but it caused me to ponder: is building trust and rapport a learned skill or an earned component of a relationship? Are buyers adverse to the idea of a salesperson “learning” how to build trust and rapport? Does it seem contrived and insincere to discuss a “method” for demonstrating these personal attributes? And if so, might a buyer have their guard up when meeting a salesperson for the first time?
We asked some real buyers for answers to how trust and rapport is built between themselves and potential seller: What does trust and rapport mean to you?
The net out of their answers was this: Rapport is a component of trust. Trust means that I can depend on a seller to figure out if and how what they sell is going to be in my best interest, based on my needs and circumstance, AND, I can trust them to walk away if the product or service they represent is not a fit for my needs.
Salespeople Destroy Trust While Trying to Build it
Salespeople can be their own worst enemy when trying to build trust and rapport. Most often this misalignment, perhaps innocently, includes the presentation of their “solution” before doing a complete diagnosis of a buyer’s needs. Sellers also often try to manipulate the prospect by telling him/her what they need and then trying to close the business too soon. Neither of these tactics build trust and rapport. They destroy it.
The Trust Quotient: How To Enhance It
Trust is based on three key components: rapport, reputation, and reliability.
Rapport. The personal feeling or connection we have with someone; how much we like or dislike them as a person. Factors that positively influence rapport are:
- Demonstrating alignment with a prospect by asking situational questions about their needs
- Listening attentively
Reputation. The external perception/proof that you or your company has value in the eyes of others. A good reputation can come from:
- A positive reference from a satisfied client
- Results that you have helped to generate for a similar organization, as published in case studies or white papers
Reliability. The ability to demonstrate to prospects that you are consistently dependable, demonstrated by:
- Doing what you say you will do when you said you would do it
- Providing honest insight into areas that are relevant to help them grow their business
Trust is an important foundation of a successful sale, but it doesn’t take a full day seminar to learn how to develop it with a potential customer. Use the three R’s outlined here to keep you on the upside of trust and rapport.
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