Building rapport with customers is a key tool in business, helping to secure sales as well as maintain long-term business relationships with customers. While some people have a natural ability to form positive relationships and gain their customers’ trust, others find it difficult. However,anyone can learn how to build rapport by following a few techniques. Once established, businesses can use rapport to improve sales and customer satisfaction while customers will feel that they are better understood.
Be honest with the customer about whether a product is suitable and be realistic about delivery lead times. Trust builds rapport and a customer who feels understood and pleased with his purchase likely to return with future business.
Listen carefully to customer complaints and show empathy. Resolve issues rather than blocking or dodging them.
Remember the customer’s name and interests to show that they are valued. Use open-ended questions to find out more about a customer and identify common interests in a friendly, conversational way. Use this common ground to form the basis of future conversations. This will help you to seem on the same level, building rapport through forming a friendly relationship rather than a purely professional one.
Mirror the customer’s style to make yourself seem more approachable and to encourage a customer to open up to you. Subtly mirror the tone and volume of the customer’s voice and use similar body language.
Be warm and friendly so that customers will enjoy your company, be more likely to spend money and want to do business with you again. Take care, however, to gauge a customer’s mood as appearing bright and jovial can antagonise a customer with a complaint.