Establishing Rapport
Rapport is what salespeople seek to establish in their relationships with customers. Business sales training experts know that rapport is the positive connection between people that is characterized by the kind of mutual understanding that promotes effective communication. With rapport as the basis of your sales relationship, you can build a trusting, loyal partnership – a win/win for both you and your customer. To succeed, you need to know how to build better sales relationships.

The Easiest Way
Perhaps the fastest way to establish rapport with buyers is to find what it is that you have in common. It could be as specific as a passion for ikebana or as general as being a parent. The sooner you find commonalities, the sooner you can begin to leverage them to greatly improve your ability to sell solutions to help customers succeed.

The Research
Randy Garner, a professor of behavioral sciences at the University of Houston in Texas, conducted research in the areas of social influence and persuasion. He wanted to explore which of two factors mattered most in establishing rapport with another person – Similarity or Familiarity.

The experiment was quite simple. Volunteers were asked to rate a fictional character on their “likeability and worthiness of being helped.” The results showed that when the names volunteers were given to rate were only familiar but not similar to the subject’s name, Similarity won out over simple Familiarity by about 25%.

One can extrapolate that the closer you can get to something that a buyer relates to personally, the closer you can get to having more comfortable, more valuable, and more effective sales conversations.

The Lesson
The lesson is that it makes good sense to learn as much as you can about your target buyer. Then you have an opportunity in your sales conversation to raise meaningful points of similarity between the two of you. When you do this authentically and with the right intentions of helping your client to succeed, you begin to build the rapport necessary to establishing mutual understanding and trust.

The Bottom Line
When you want to build better sales relationships with customers, don’t overlook the power of similarity. Commonalities break down barriers and open the doors to partnerships that result in better sales for you and, because of your help, improved business for your buyer.

To learn more about how to have more effective sales conversations, download  30 Sales Questions More Important than Budget When Selling Solutions

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