Top 7 Tips for Building Rapport Over the Phone
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Top 7 Tips for Building Rapport Over the Phone
Calls can effectively nurture sales—particularly when salespeople focus on building rapport over the phone. Call agents who create a trusting relationship with customers cultivate more profitable sales than those who don’t. This is because customers like to converse with salespeople who ‘get them,’ consequently being more willing to purchase from them. As such, placing rapport-building at the forefront of customer-facing interactions can increase customer loyalty and help you build a receptive (and profitable) customer base.
This article will explain seven best practices for building rapport with customers to ensure that your customer conversations yield the most favourable outcomes.
Best Practices for Building Rapport With Customers
1. Be an Attentive Listener
When conversing with customers, you must listen more than you speak. Although it sounds obvious, most people have trouble implementing this advice. Salespeople may feel the need to interject during customers’ explanations to show customers that they’re present. However, to build a good rapport, you have to resist the temptation of chiming in when customers vent or express their concerns.
When you listen carefully and take in what customers are saying, you can extract a lot of information about your customers, particularly regarding their needs, concerns, and pain points.
To further encourage customers to talk—and simultaneously show you’re listening —you can express confirmatory tokens such as “okay,” “mhm,” and “right.” These convey that you’re paying attention to what customers are saying and not just waiting to sell your product.
2. Mirror How Customers Speak
Another method of building rapport over the phone, improving relationships, and increasing the likelihood of sales is to mirror your customers. When you mirror someone, you match their behaviour. A study by Northwestern, Stanford, and INSEAD revealed the power of mirroring in negotiation scenarios. It showed how mirroring could benefit both parties significantly, resulting in more mutually-beneficial outcomes.
During phone calls, there are multiple ways you can mirror your customer. The overarching goal is to match customers’ communication styles. If you’re generally outgoing and bold in conversation, more introverted and soft-spoken customers may find you intimidating and overwhelming. As such, they might feel disconnected and may not resonate with your offers.
Adapting your conversation to each customer doesn’t mean you have to rid yourself of your personality completely. Instead, you have to ensure your conversational skills are flexible enough to adjust to customers’ communication methods. Try to align your pace, talk time, and infliction with customers’. Being aware of these speech characteristics and incorporating them in your conversation can help you build a good rapport and generate more sales.
3. Use Customers’ Names
To help with building rapport with customers, you can use customers’ names throughout phone conversations. Not only do customers love hearing their name, but it’s also a great way to grab their attention when they’re drifting off mid-conversation. When people hear their name, they perk up and give you their full attention. Additionally, using customers’ names helps you appear more skilled at your job; while most people have a hard time remembering customers’ names, you’ll seem more competent in comparison. Lastly, using customers’ names can quickly help with building rapport over the phone, as customers perceive you to be more caring, attentive, and empathetic.
4. Gather Customer Data
Besides helping you form a more comprehensive understanding of your customer, collecting customer data and integrating it into conversations is essential to building rapport with customers.
The most effective sales calls result from knowing your customers, what they’re looking for, and how they like to interact with your company. This information can help you understand your target customers, ensuring your communications are tailored to their needs.
There are two key ways to obtain this customer information and build a good rapport. The first way is to ask customers questions over the phone and make notes of their answers. Some questions you can ask them are:
- What are your short and long-term goals?
- What do you perceive to be your greatest strengths? What would you consider to be your most significant weaknesses?
- Do you often encounter [common pain points] in your team?
The second way to get to know your customers (and implicitly build a good rapport) is to track their behaviours across various channels. Tracking customers’ behaviours across online and offline channels (e.g., phone calls, social media, emails, SMS) can help you understand what type of communications customers like to receive. Consequently, you’re able to create, deliver, and tweak your content and offers to suit customers.
IwinBACK’s omnichannel automation solution can help you gather insights into customers’ behaviours. It can allow you to obtain a granular overview of customer behaviours across email, SMS, and phone calls. Read more about iwinBACK’s tracking capabilities!
5. Cultivate Shared Interests
Excelling in customer-facing jobs requires you to find mutual ground with customers. This can allow you to build rapport and cultivate profitable customer relationships. Whether this common ground is based on similar hobbies, interests, or upbringing, acknowledging these during conversations can help you foster genuine conversations. Additionally, they make customers feel more comfortable during phone calls and keep the conversation flowing.
6. Sound Human
When focusing on building rapport over the phone, it’s essential to maintain fluidity throughout your conversations. This entails limiting language that’s too robotic or scripted. If all your conversations sound like you’re reading off of a script, you forgo the possibility of human connection and genuine conversations.
There are various things you can do to cultivate authentic, human conversations. Firstly, keep your scripts as dynamic as possible. Following the same standardized script word-for-word with all your customers may result in stale and mechanical discussions. This may make customers feel uninspired and detached. Therefore, you should aim to use your scripts solely for guiding purposes. Doing so ensures that you convey the main points but leave out the nitty-gritty details that may come off as inauthentic.
Another method of building rapport over the phone is to add a personal touch to all your customer calls. Using the customer data you’ve gathered, you can resonate with customers using relatable topics and experiences. Don’t be afraid to direct casual conversation if you perceive it would work best with specific customers. This flexibility ensures you bond with customers while sounding as natural as possible.
7. Give Genuine Compliments
Sincere compliments can be an excellent method of building rapport over the phone. It conveys appreciation and makes customers feel great while portraying a positive image of your company. For example, if they’ve spoken about recent achievements during the call, complimenting them can go a long way to help you build a good rapport. An important thing to note, however, is that authenticity is vital when complimenting customers. Overdoing compliments can end up sounding fake and condescending. This may make you seem disingenuous, repelling customers from conversing with you.