What is Rapport Building? - Definition & Importance

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  • 0:04 Background on Rapport Building
  • 2:51 Importance of Rapport
  • 4:31 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Allison Tanner
This lesson will explain what it means to build rapport. It will also describe the importance of rapport building with customers and in the workplace.

Rapport Building

Jean has just started her sales career with Tech Solutions, and she's in trouble. She doesn't seem to connect with clients, she struggles to set meetings, and she can't seem to close deals and make a sale. Just as Jean is ready to give up and start a new career, Rapport Man (R.M.) flies in and pays her a visit.

R.M. tells Jean that she isn't a bad sales person, she just needs to learn how to build rapport. He explains that rapport refers to a relationship where there is mutual trust and understanding that all parties involved have the another's best interests in mind. Rapport building is the process of creating rapport and building trusting relationships between two or more people.

To help Jean better understand, R.M. draws a small diagram to show her where two people can build rapport with one another. First, he draws two overlapping circles and he labels the first circle 'you.' On the second label he writes 'others' and in the overlap he writes 'rapport.'

He explains that the first circle represents Jean and her interests. The second circle represents customers and their interest. If Jean only focuses on her circle she will seem selfish, and if Jean only focuses on meeting the interests in customers circle, she may seem desperate or untrustworthy. R.M. tells Jean to imagine she is a customer and the salesperson is overly eager to meet her needs. She might begin to think they are up to something or lying. On the other hand, if the salesperson is only talking about why they love the product and how they want to sell it, Jean will likely feel like they're cold and not interested in her needs.

Now, pointing to the overlapping area, R.M. says that he likes to call this the zone of rapport. This is the area where interests, common ground, and ability to exhibit empathy allow you to develop rapport. Connecting with someone in this area can help you quickly establish the characteristics of good rapport. For example, if the same salesperson identifies why the product meets your needs and theirs, then you are more likely to trust them. This is how you can build rapport. The connection between the two people is very important.

R.M tells Jean that some people are able to build rapport very quickly. These individuals have a unique ability to connect with others and immediately identify mutual interests. For others, it takes some time. However, some key characteristics of building good rapport include:

  • The ability to identify common ground that both parties can agree on
  • Using body language that indicates trust and understanding
  • Indicating active listening by asking the right questions and acknowledging what the person has said
  • Having empathy for the other person and their experiences

R.M. goes on to say that these characteristics of rapport are evident in a person's ability to connect with an individual.

Importance of Rapport

R.M. goes on to tell Jean that not building rapport is problematic because it can leave customers feeling uneasy, untrusting, and as if the company or salesperson does not have their best interest in mind. This will prevent sales and damage long-term success with customers.

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