Home > Social Influence > What is "Rapport" in Selling?

What is "Rapport" in Selling?

One of the most commonly used words on these threads is "rapport", and most posts suggest that it is something we want to "build" or "establish."

I'm not looking for semantics discussions here, nor am I seeking copy and paste dictionary definitions. Rather, I'm looking for real life examples.

Can anyone here, perhaps a member who has previously suggested building or establishing rapport, add some clarity with specific examples of such building or establishing that condition? - by Gary A Boye
Having a conversation verses talking at a person. - by rich34232
Having a conversation verses (sic) talking at a person.
Rapport certainly often develops when that happens.

A related thought: What if the prospect is intent on talking at the salesperson? Then what? - by Gary A Boye
Gary funny you have mentioned that specific question. With the trade that I have chosen to participate the trade has done very little in the past to increase the perception of a plumber. Many people (customers) have this idea of a butt crack person that cares little about their appearance, education, and communication skills. In the mind of many customers the plumber is not placed among the brightest light bulb on the tree. This perception leads to a large number of customers that talk at a plumber verses with the plumber.

I have encountered the talking too/down too frequently during my longevity in the plumbing industry. This includes the customers that are skeptics, know it all’s, and the people who have a belief the plumber lacks the intelligence to communicate on a level playing field. Sometimes I must attempt to change the perceived perception to a different reality that will match this specific opportunity for him or her. Typically the things I do already change the perception and experience.

When a customer maintains the talking at me mentality I must decide a few things first before I react to the behavior verses respond to that customer. The first discovery will consist of are we on the same page concerning the solution, budget, and product with the service. When we are on the same page the behavior has no bearing on the sale and is not and should not be an issue. This behavior may be the way this type customer communicates and would be consistent with their motive, mood and personality. It is not about me it is about the customer.

When we are not on the same page with solution, product, service, and budget I must decide if this is a waste of time with both of us and qualify this individual as not my customer today. If I qualify them as a customer I must then persuade and convince the customer to look at the situation from a different point of view presented in a logical manner followed by emotion. I do not throw out the customer when they are ready and able however are not willing at this time. The majority of this type customer do come around quickly and purchase with me. Those that do not are qualified easily as thanks for giving me the opportunity to meet and discuss this issue with you. If you need a question or concern answered please do not hesitate to give me a call. - by rich34232
Rich, I once used the term, "advanced generation nylon", and a woman prospect took umbrage, asking me to talk in terms she could understand. Of course, she was perfectly capable of understanding that cluster of words, but what she wasn't capable of was entertaining the thought that I could use such words.

I didn't fit the slot of someone she wanted to deal with. A control issue, really.

In my career, that type of incident has happened twice, for the same reasons I'm sure. In the second case, two school teacher prospects, a man and wife, had told a colleague friend of mine that I was "too rehearsed." Perhaps what they really FELT was that my preparedness made their own in front of a classroom seem pale by comparison.

You can't be too rehearsed if you don't rehearse. But preparedness is at the core of my beliefs. And for every prospect that has a problem with that, close to thirty thousand have bought. - by Gary A Boye
Gary with the people I have trained I have discovered that the vast majority react automatically towards this behavior and have great difficulty with finishing the sale. This aligns with preparedness with thought and responding verse reacting automatically in a defensive posture. Would you say that experience has taught you that valuable lesson or did someone point out the deficiency and then allow your experience to prepare you for success?

In my past I did not realize I just let this type person roll off my shoulder and would complete the sale however I had to have it pointed out to me and over time I have developed the ability to receive additional sales from people who display this type behavior.
- by rich34232
This thread seems the perfect place to ask for help with a certain type customer that gives me fits and I have not discovered a way around this behavior. It is very rare however it is also very difficult for me to give a proper answer or respond to help the customer get over the hurdle.

Here is the type behavior;

Highly educated person that has not found the job he or she has trained for and have had to accept a job less than their expectation and pay which has led to frustration on their part. It isnít that they cannot afford, need, or want the solution it is strictly how a plumber could make more than I do. I believe this to hit on the respect of the trade more than the respect of the individual as I receive the sale with very few of the customers purchasing more or additional work . - by rich34232
This aligns with preparedness with thought and responding versus reacting automatically in a defensive posture. Would you say that experience has taught you that valuable lesson or did someone point out the deficiency and then allow your experience to prepare you for success?
I am by nature not a reactive listener. I'm the opposite--a creative listener. It's inherent in me--so I had that quality which accelerated my sales career from the beginning.

In business, sales, and life itself, my learning has included the realization that some people emit a negative energy, while others emit a positive energy. If you noticed the ratio I described in my previous post on this thread, then you will know that walking away from that small percentage of people, who did not fit my qualifications for constructive dialogue, was insignificant. - by Gary A Boye
This thread seems the perfect place to ask for help with a certain type customer that gives me fits and I have not discovered a way around this behavior. It is very rare however it is also very difficult for me to give a proper answer or respond to help the customer get over the hurdle.

Here is the type behavior;

Highly educated person that has not found the job he or she has trained for and have had to accept a job less than their expectation and pay which has led to frustration on their part. It isnít that they cannot afford, need, or want the solution it is strictly how a plumber could make more than I do. I believe this to hit on the respect of the trade more than the respect of the individual as I receive the sale with very few of the customers purchasing more or additional work .
I don't understand your dilemma.

What has your income as a plumber got to do with your prospect's behavior? How would they know how much or how little you make? - by Gary A Boye
One of the most commonly used words on these threads is "rapport", and most posts suggest that it is something we want to "build" or "establish."

I'm not looking for semantics discussions here, nor am I seeking copy and paste dictionary definitions. Rather, I'm looking for real life examples.

Can anyone here, perhaps a member who has previously suggested building or establishing rapport, add some clarity with specific examples of such building or establishing that condition?
Not long ago, the parishioners at the Christ Lutheran Church in Park City, a Wichita suburb, thought they knew, and trusted Dennis Rader as did his wife Paula. Some in the church also liked Dennis. Many claimed to have rapport with him.

Of course most of us today have learned that he was the notorious BTK killer responsible for the murder of 10 people. It seems that what the parishioners knew, liked, and trusted were the illusions he generated that they called
rapport.

In my experience, what we know about a sales rep is what he or she is willing to reveal to us. What we like about sales people is their behavior that conforms with our morals and ethics. What we trust, is for the sales representatives to respect and align themselves with the sales industry standards of behavior. When these ideologies occur to our satisfaction we call this having rapport with the sales agent.

However, this rapport is actually the impact of ideologies culminating into recognized conformity that we merely assign to the agent. This is why rapport never leaves the indefinable abstract.
- by John Voris
A recent conversation between Jeff and I centered on rapport being closely related, or identified, by a common ground or shared philosophy.

In Gary Gagliardi's masterful interpretation of Sun Tzu's treatise on Strategy, The Art of War the Art of Sales (highly recommended), he discussed one of the five factors relating to skill in terms of selling: Philosophy. He wrote:
Selling begins with your sales philosophy.
When you sell, you must always sell in a way that shares your customers' goals.
You will share your customers' failures.
You will share your customers' successes.
With this philosophy, you need not fear or lie to customers.

- by Gary A Boye
Hi sorry for the delay it has been a very hectic week. Gary the customer surmises and takes a best guess due to what the company charges for the product and service. They do not know what I make. This type person has stated in the past they have gone to college and paid more to receive their masters and cannot get a job in that field. This is one that I hear due to the image the service trades hold with some people. This happens very rarely it still would be nice to help them out. I am always trying to discover ways to help the customers that are lost. - by rich34232
Rapport in selling to me is:

Getting to know the customers wants, needs, desires, motivations, goals, etc. It is the foundation that your sales will be built on from that moment forward and into the future.

It's getting to know the person on an intimate level. - by smurge
Rapport in selling to me is:

Getting to know the customers wants, needs, desires, motivations, goals, etc. It is the foundation that your sales will be built on from that moment forward and into the future.

It's getting to know the person on an intimate level.
Let's examine that idea.

Having gotten to know those things, what if you disapproved of the customers wants, needs, desires, motivations, goals, etc.?

Would that be rapport? - by Gary A Boye
Salespeople spend time, energy and concern trying to "Build Rapport." Most salespeople "know" rapport as being comfortable talking with each other and getting the prospect to like you. However, only about 3% of prospects care whether they like the salesperson that they buy from.

The most important buying decision factors are:
1. Trust in the salesperson.
2 Respect for the salesperson.
3. The reputation of the company.
4. The features and quality of the product or service.
5. A price vs. value assessment.
- by JacquesWerth
A recent conversation between Jeff and I centered on rapport being closely related, or identified, by a common ground or shared philosophy.

In Gary Gagliardi's masterful interpretation of Sun Tzu's treatise on Strategy, The Art of War the Art of Sales (highly recommended), he discussed one of the five factors relating to skill in terms of selling: Philosophy. He wrote:
Selling begins with your sales philosophy.
When you sell, you must always sell in a way that shares your customers' goals.
You will share your customers' failures.
You will share your customers' successes.
With this philosophy, you need not fear or lie to customers.


Hi Gary,

"You will share your customers' failures."

This one really breaks through the social barrier of human resistance.

We are always in the state of "saving-face." When someone reveals a weakness of any kind or type, they are demonstrating their willingness to be vulnerable at that level because they feel it is safe.

When our social armor falls away:
"...you need not fear or lie to customers."
It is very common for too much "playful" competition between associates, friends and relatives, for anyone to actually want others to succeed on a deeper level.

IMO, truly wanting someone else to succeed is also rare in the world of pedestrian communication. When someone shares their good fortune with us, we acknowledge him or her but on a cursory level.

It is not like a son or daughter who has the good news. With strangers we tend to lack the moral duty to explore further.

This rarity creates an excellent opportunity for an agent to truly:

"...share your customers' successes." - by John Voris
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