Rapport is usually thought of as a relation or connection made with a person | client. It is well-known that once rapport, when established, will make the sales process almost effortless. But what exactly is building rapport all about? Rapport is the process where you give the client the chance to trust you, your company, your ideas and your services. When you are seeking a prospective client’s trust, everybody knows that we only have one chance to make a first impression.
Rapport is built by our personalities. We have about one minute on average to find common ground with a prospective client, to establish a friendly conversation where they begin to trust us. This is absolutely never done in a manipulative manner, but simply something we all do when meeting a stranger. We all “size-up” a stranger to see if we can trust them – this is something that is built into all of us; it is part of our genetic make-up. For example, if you are meeting with a prospective new client and you are running late to the first meeting at their home and you know it is going to take you 15 minutes to get there, don’t tell them you will be there in 10 minutes, in this example your rapport is already taken a big hit.
Another way rapport is built is through ‘real practical networking.’ I am not talking about superfluous referrals from LinkedIn or referrals gathered by a door-to-door salesman where you gave them your friends’ names – then wishing you hadn’t… but rather solid referrals. We have all told a friend about an excellent movie we saw or a great book that we read – this is a genuine referral. CPA’s, smaller banks, credit unions, other professional organizations are also excellent referral sources for building rapport. Real Networking is talking about real connections of credibility due to us loving our experience with our company. If a professional does not believe in the credibility of their services or their company, it is going to be reflected in the way they seek rapport with the referring entity.
Another way rapport is built is by being intentional about pushing referrals into the market as part of the overall sales/marketing plan of the professional and this can be as simple as asking for referrals at every opportunity. “Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, I appreciate you allowing me to assist you in the purchase of your new home, and I know I represented you well; do you know of anyone else who would benefit through working with my real estate company?” or “Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, thank you for allowing me to sell your home for you, I was able to get you top dollar for your home, congratulations. I know you are going to be buying a new home, will you give me the opportunity to represent you in this transaction as well?” You get the point… There is no better way to build rapport than through a highly-qualified referral.
The bottom line is this: Rapport is connectivity and trust. We all tend to trust people and connect to people who understand “why” we do thing, not just “what” and “how” we do them. A professional may be selling the best service in the world, but if they don’t build rapport by figuring out the style of the buyer they are working with – they will miss the sale. They must be able to figure out the style of the person they are selling to and make sure they meet them where they are to be credible and come across a trustworthy. People will not become clients if they don’t trust a Realtor and the first stage of earning trust is created through developing rapport.