Rapport is defined as a harmonious relationship characterized by an agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy. Have you heard of the 7-38-55 Rule? It states that 7% of meaning is communicated through spoken word, 38% through your tone, and 55% through your body language. How do we build rapport when we are prospecting over the phone?
What is “good” rapport? It is not about making friends. It is creating an environment where both parties can be open to communication freely and comfortably. Here are some tips for creating good rapport.
- Start the call off with a smile and positive body language
Even though the prospect cannot see you, your posture impacts your tone and mood. They will be able to notice shifts in your voice when you sit, stand, and/or smile. Smiling affects your tone and volume in a positive way.
- When addressing the other party, call them by their name
Being personable and using their name is one of the best practices and ways to get the prospect’s attention. Use their name often because it can be used to validate their interest.
- Match their communication style
Identify what type of communication style your prospect has quickly. Listen for words like “see and look” (visual), “hear and listen” (auditory), and “feel and sense” (kinaesthetic). Once you identify their style use those words back to them and they will feel better.
- Actively listen
Take notes as you are listening to the prospect. Then repeat it back to them in the form of a question. We have 5 tips for supercharging your listening skills here!
- Include your prospect by asking open-ended questions
Giving the prospect this opportunity to enter the conversation will engage them more. Great questions would begin with “How, When, Who, and Why…” and require more than “yes” and “no” answers.
- You are the expert
Discuss with the prospect who you are professionally and how you have the ability to solve their problem. You need to know everything about what you offer and the industry itself. How you demonstrate that will gain the respect of your prospect.
- Don’t get bogged down in the details of the problem
If the prospect is getting fired up and into the details of their problem, don’t let them go there. Keep them calm. A positive mentality is infectious and will lead your prospect down the path of working with you instead of against you.
- Be articulate
Always communicate clearly and professionally. Be upfront because consumers, like you, are very busy and want to know the nature of the call quickly.
- Be empathetic
Showing genuine empathy will help you access your prospect’s trust and it will lead them to accepting your solutions to their problems. Use phrases like “I understand…” and “That must have been…”
Remember your first goal in building rapport over the phone is to harvest a trusting environment. This is a special skill that not everyone possesses, but everyone can learn. You want to be able to build rapport efficiently, qualify the lead, present, address any problems, and close the sale.