Establishing rapport with a potential client or with customers will provide many benefits for a small business. Establishing rapport allows the individuals to gain each others trust, and remain open to their ideas which translates to word-of-mouth advertising, and repeat business. For most small business owners, establishing rapport with their clients and customers is a great way to build trust in their business.
Consider someone that you do business with that has established a good rapport with you. Bet you feel comfortable, even glad to interact with them. My local dry cleaner is a great example. Over a period of a few visits he made a point to learn a little about me with simple questions, "Do you have far to drive to work?", "Do you need suits for work?". Each time I return he asks about my work, or commute, or family. I enjoy dropping off and picking up my dry cleaning even though our interactions are only a few minutes out of the day. Using rapport building, I've learned about him as well.
Building rapport is easy and only takes a few minutes. Here are a few steps to building rapport:
1. Take a minute to "chit-chat", get to know the individual - Use your visual observation skills to identify topics that may be of interest to the individual. Maybe it's a trophy in their office, or you can see they are stressed or in a hurry. "That's a nice trophy." Or, "It appears you are in a hurry today, how can I help?" Conversation starters can include the weather, or asking about their company.
2. Pay attention, listen to the other person - Practice active listening. You practice active listening by really listening. You can paraphrase what they said or comment on what they said to you to let them know you are listening. "Wow, sounds like that trophy took a lot of hard work on your part." Let's face it, most people will like others who seemed interested in them. Listening, asking questions about the person, and responding to show you are interested are great ways to establish rapport.
3. Mirror the other individual - Use the same gestures where appropriate, use similar language to theirs. This shows you are on the level with them and use of body language clues shows you are comfortable with them and are listening.
4. Look for shared experiences - Often in conversation someone may share an event, or action they have recently taken. If you've had a similar experience, share it with them. Don't try to upstage, just relate. One business owner shared that when she took time to chit-chat with a customer/client she often found they had something in common. If they didn't she would say, "I've never had that experience. What was it like?"
Building rapport only takes a few minutes, some concentration, and the benefits are great. You will not only make your client's/customers come to trust you, you will gain some friends as well!!!
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950 Eagles Landing Pkwy, Suite 422
Stockbridge, GA 30281