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Sales Strategy
Jan 14, 2019 | Canadian Professional Sales Association

Building lasting rapport with your prospects and customers is a crucial step in achieving sales success. Not only will a good relationship help you seal the first deal with a customer, but it will also lead to recurring revenue, upsells and referrals. Relationship building is no small feat, it’s not about creating one-off connections but continually nurturing and growing relationships. In fact, relationship building is an art. Read on to learn how to build a lasting rapport with your customers that keeps both your relationships and your bottom line, healthy and growing.


Be Genuine


There’s a lot of things you can do to build relationships as outlined in this article, but if your motivations seem disingenuous - as if you’re just out for a sale - then your efforts will have the opposite effect. If you really want to succeed in building lasting rapport then it’s important that you avoid cliches and show you actually care about your product, your customer and your business. But what steps can you take to avoid coming across as insincere when you actually do care? For starters, never fall into the trap of over-promising or over-committing. This not only stinks of desperation but worse will leave your customers feeling lied to and let down. Always act with authenticity, honesty, and integrity and take ownership of your mistakes.


Know Your Customer’s Personality Type


Another part of the art of relationship building includes taking time to assess your prospect’s personality type. A lasting rapport will look completely different from one customer to the next. While some people are happy to discuss their home life and interests, others prefer to keep things strictly business. Yet you can still build lasting rapport in both cases just make sure you understand your customer’s comfort level when starting out a new relationship. Whatever their preferences, a meaningful relationship is always built on mutual trust and respect.


Listen


Discovering your customer’s personality style and earning their trust and respect requires you to pay attention. Listening skills are perhaps the most important tool in your toolbox when it comes to building lasting rapport. Through active listening, you’ll be able to start discovering their needs and preferences from your very first interaction. But building lasting rapport is not a onetime thing, you need to keep listening carefully as the relationship progresses. If you do, you’ll remain up to date on what’s important to them, how your product is working out, and what their changing needs may be.


Think Win-Win


No relationship is ever without conflict. The key to successful negotiations and overcoming objections with customers without damaging your relationship is to think win-win. In the consultative selling approach, you are a trusted advisor trying to do your best for your client and your company - always keep this in mind. Work hard to put your customer’s needs at the forefront and frame your proposals in negotiations as a way for both parties to get the best result.


Share Some of Yourself


A real relationship is a two-way street. You can’t hope to come across as genuine and build lasting rapport if you close yourself off. Of course, what you reveal is up to you and your own comfort level as well as that of your customer. But if your customer shares a personal anecdote, it’s a good gesture if you share one too. Sharing some of yourself also means being yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not in sales; a successful approach is not one size fits all. To build lasting rapport you’ll have to find your own way with clients - you can’t simply copy what you see working for another rep. If customers feel that you’re being yourself, they’re far more likely to trust you and want to work with you. So let your personality shine!


Learn more about the consultative selling approach and building lasting rapport with customers the CPSA’s Fundamentals of Selling training program.


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