What is Rapport: definition and tips how to build it

Have you ever met people who can easily find common ground with others? Magically, they succeed in creating an atmosphere of trust within several minutes. Knowing how to build rapport can help you not only in everyday life but also in your marketing efforts. 

Let’s learn what rapport is and how to build it with your leads to boost your sales.

Rapport definition

Rapport is a close and harmonious relationship in which people understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well. The word itself is taken from the French verb “rapporter,” which means “to bring back.” 

In other words, rapport presupposes that what one person gives, another one gives back. For example, they may find out that they share similar values, beliefs, experiences, etc. 

Rapport in marketing

In terms of marketing, sales reps build rapport with leads to create a sense of trust and confidence. It’s a primary step to getting prospects eager to share their needs and pain points with someone who has an affinity with them.

The basis of rapport and long-lasting relationships is trust. And you can even calculate it. Trusted Advisor worked out the Trust Equation – a formula for measuring trustworthiness.

Trust = ( Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy ) / Self-Orientation

Ask yourself questions:

  • Credibility: Are you as good as you say? Do you know what you are talking about?
  • Reliability: Do you deliver on what is promised on time?
  • Intimacy: Do your clients feel comfortable with you? 
  • Self-orientation: Where does your focus lie? Do you have your clients’ best interests at heart, or are you doing this for yourself?
Trust equation

How to build rapport? 

In their attempts to look more “professional,” marketers nowadays don’t quite demonstrate their personality. Their marketing is often primitive, generic, and has no difference from others. Salespeople act as they would never act in real life, using boring heady words and phrases. 

As a result, they quickly lose customers’ interest. But what a success they could get acting more natural and human! This is where marketers need to build rapport.

There are a lot of methods to do so:

1. Coordination 

Coordination, also known as mirroring, means getting the same vibe with leads on verbal and nonverbal levels. Sales representatives define the following types of mirroring: tone and tempo, emotional, and posture. 

  • Tone and tempo mirroring means matching the tone, tempo, and intonation of a person’s voice. Try to mimicry the conversation speed. For instance, if your prospects speak fast, speed up your speech.
  • Emotional mirroring implies being a good listener to fish for your leads’ concerns and pain points. This helps you formulate additional questions to your clients using their words to understand them better and show empathy.
  • Posture mirroring means matching the customer’s body language by repeating their posture, hand gestures, breathing, and eye contact. But be careful not to overdo with repeating, as people can often take it offensively. Copy one particular body feature at first and, when you feel natural doing that, copy another one. 

In his well-known research, Dr. Mehrabian discovered that 55% of your message’s impact is defined by your body language, 38% – by your voice, and only 7% – by the content or words that you use. Therefore, while coordinating, pay your attention to body language first.  

2. Reciprocity 

Reciprocity is a powerful technique of offering gifts and favors to prospects, making them like you and feel obligated to you. The idea is to treat your leads as you would wish to be treated. Reciprocity can be material or emotional: 

  • Material reciprocity may include rewards in loyalty and referral programs, rewards given in return for some purchases, or free trials and demos of your product. 
  • Emotional reciprocity involves words that cause people to feel positive and content about themselves, such as “Thank you for your time,” or “It was a pleasure to meet you.” This will make your customers feel valued.

Here’s a video to get a better understanding of the role of reciprocity: 

3. Commonality 

Commonality is the process of finding common things with the prospects to build rapport.

People like people who are most like themselves. That’s the first rule of rapport. 

Michael Brooks, communications expert

Ask questions about their business, preferences, hobbies, etc. People like talking about themselves, and the more interest you show in them, the more comfortable they will feel with you and ready to trust. 

How to reach commonality with your customers online? Expose more personality on pictures and videos. Why are YouTube and Facebook so popular today? Because we’re extremely interested in what other people do and say. Benefit from social media by engaging with prospects:

  • Post videos to your website with you or your colleagues. It can be a simple short description of your product, but it will add authority to your brand. Prospects perceive it as a face-to-face conversation with a trusted source. In fact, people buy from people, not from companies. So, don’t hide behind your brand; use it to express your opinions, give advice, and, most importantly, be yourself!
  • Post reviews written by your customers. This will show how your company once helped solve some problems. It’s a chance for your prospects to find commonality with their issues and better understand how your product may help them.
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This will build rapport straight away and will make you unique in the eyes of a customer. 

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