When you are just starting your entrepreneurial journey, winning customers, understanding their needs, and garnering positive feedback is synonymous with your startup’s growth.
In 2017 alone, 64% of Americans sought customer service, whereas 33% of customers abandoned businesses since they lacked a touch of personalization.
This is not as easy as getting on a phone call and showering them with offers. You need to understand that you may come off as insincere and superficial without the correct approach, which might consequently hurt your sales.
This article will discuss how to build rapport with customers and share some valuable techniques that will help you build a solid & cooperative relationship.
Building Rapport: 6 Tips to Master
Developing rapport is all about gaining the other person’s trust and making them feel like they are more than just a customer to you. When was the last time you liked an employee who seemed too bored/disinterested to interact with you?
Do it too much. You come off as clingy and forceful, do it too little, and your attempts seem superficial and phony. Here’s how to find the middle ground and build rapport that lasts after, during, and before your meetings.
Work on Interpersonal Relationships
When addressing a customer, try not to keep it all about the product. Instead, you need to shift the focus from yourself and show interest in their personal views and how they will benefit from the product/service. This will make them feel more comfortable, thus allowing them to vent freely.
This is when you should take notes and pick up on their point of view, understand what’s lacking, and act on it.
Train your employees and work on improving their communication skills to communicate with customers effectively. Things like frequent follow-ups, customized offers, and recommendations are a few things that might help.
Mirror the Customer
This comes down to something as simple as restating their problems coupled with supportive additives like ‘I understand/ You aren’t wrong when you say../I totally agree, etc’. This has two benefits. First, they can correct you if you have misinterpreted anything, which will make the situation clearer in your mind, and second, they can confirm that your understanding was spot-on.
You can pique their interest by asking questions like:
- Hey, I noticed that you reside in the City/State; I plan to travel there soon. Any recommendations?
- I have a friend who has been in that role (look up their interests and work history online); how has the experience been for you?
- How do you think your organization differs from the rest in offering similar services? What are the values that you go by?
You have to remember not to overstep the professional boundary even if you like interacting with them.
Fun fact: Making notes of certain words your clients say and repeating them in your replies will help you establish a natural connection with them. This is quite evident in online chat panels used for support-related conversations. Of course, you can do the same with their body language too! Here’s something that might help.
Consistency is Key
Devise a follow-up plan for every client based on their order volume and make it standard practice to reach out to them every once in a while. Consistent efforts will help them trust you better. You can also do so by keeping your promises, joining meetings on time, delivering before the set deadline, and offering services at discounts to high value/new customers are some small practices that will help you get by.
The Law of Reciprocity
To gain the benefit, you first need to give something. It never hurts to have someone owe you one in your professional life. If a customer has received a gift, they are more likely to give back, be it in the form of positive feedback or future order.
Use psychology to your advantage by learning about behavioral tactics. But how do you provide value if you are chatting with someone for the first time? By carrying out your due diligence.
You can find so much about a company by simply browsing online. See their business model and identify gaps and areas where they could improve; this is something you could use in meetings.
Practice Active Listening
People are seldom interested in a conversation that is not about them. So differentiate yourself from the competition and start being empathetic with your customers. Active listening isn’t just limited to hearing the customer but also includes timely responses such as “okay, yes, uh-huh” to give them the impression that you are paying attention.
On top of this, wear a smile to make your customer relaxed. Smiling is one of the best non-verbal techniques to look more accommodating.
Use concrete language and not use vague terms like ‘that item/ those/they’ when referring to a particular product. This might make your customer feel like you are uninterested and not paying attention.
Also Read: Making recommendations and offering free company merch or apparel is a great up-selling tactic. Here are seven reasons why company apparel improves morale and gives you a competitive edge.
Every customer is inclined towards services that give them tons of value at low prices. Therefore, when wanting to differentiate yourself from other companies, you will have to raise the bar by under-promising and over-delivering. This leaves a lasting impression on your customers, and they keep coming back.
That was a wrap of all the tricks that will help you build rapport with customers. Here are some rookie mistakes that you can avoid in the process:
- Not pronouncing their name right
- Always responding as per the script
- Not finding common ground
- Lack of appreciation
- Being afraid to ask for help
Tip: Do not sound too nervous, and keep your tonality in check when taking calls. On the flip side, being fast-paced might seem pushy. So find the ideal pace and speak thoughtfully. According to Toastmasters, the perfect rate is 120-160 words per minute.
Now that you know what it takes to solidify customer relationships, you can start working on rapport-building methods and sharing them with every member of your organization. Understand that this isn’t something that can be achieved in a day and will only be a product of consistency and self-lessness.
Here’s an article that will help you when starting your small business.
Thanks for reading!