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Building great rapport with customers

Sales are often built on our ability to build relationships with customers and for
this we need rapport. This is more than small talk. It is more like a common
understanding between 2 or more people.

This module will help you to-

Build rapport
Inspire customer confidence
Adjust your style to match your customer

Pacing and leading

If you have ever noticed people in rapport they behave in a very similar
fashion. Two friends at the bar may be standing identically. They dont know
theyre doing it, but it just happens. We can engineer this to some extent over
the phone. Like all rapport skills it demands great attention to detail. Listen
carefully to how the customer is speaking.

How fast/loud are they speaking?


Are they cheerful or very serious?
Are they formal?
Are they using technical language?

From this you can take your own lead and adjust your approach so you match
theirs. The customer will not realise what you have done, but the conversation
will immediately feel more comfortable.

Remember the details

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Everyone likes to be remembered-it makes us feel special, so if you have
spoken with a customer before try to remember the details. Its a small thing
that makes a big difference and could provide a useful shortcut to rapport.

Speak their language

We all have a preferred way of processing and presenting information. Some


of us need to see stuff, some of us need to hear stuff and some of us need to
feel stuff! Its part of our makeup and we give clues to our preference in the
way we speak.

Someone who likes to see stuff will use visual language like This looks
good
Someone who likes to hear stuff will use auditory language like This
doesnt sound right
Someone who likes to feel will use kinaesthetic language Im not
comfortable with this

Sell the right benefit

Understanding our customers better can help us to identify the right


benefits too.
A visual person- It looks brilliant and it has a great display
An auditory- The sound is really clear and it makes a nice click
A kinaesthetic- The keypad is really sensitive

How can you present your products?

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1st Impressions

If we want to inspire trust and confidence in our customers we need to get it


right from the start. Before you take or make the call ensure that you can focus
just on this customer. Have everything you need to hand.

Scrabbling around or a working pen or a piece of paper, or the information you


need could undermine all your good work in the eyes of the customer.
Start the call with a lively and enthusiastic greeting. You should be please to get
this call and you need to sound it!

Pacing and Leading

The pace and volume of our speech should mirror that of the customer. We
instinctively talk at a pace that is comfortable for us.

Consider:
A customer who talks slowly could become confused by a fast talking
sales person.
A customer who is talking at speed may be in a hurry and could feel
frustrated or patronised by a slow talking sales person
Take your lead from the customer.

Tag questions

We can use questions to build rapport or commonality. Questions at the end of


statements that make disagreement difficult.

E.g.-Rapport building is really easy, isnt it?

Here are some more tag examples-


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-Didn't you?
- Isn't it?
- Have you?
- Will you?
- Won't you?
- Haven't you?
- Wouldn't it?
- Don't you agree?

Youve got my email address,..................


Youre not leaving early today,.......................
Joseph is so lazy,.....................
You arent hungry........................
Those flowers are lovely,..............................
You havent seen my glasses...............................
It was a very interesting game,.....................................
Tennis is so boring,.............................
She isnt a very good swimmer,..............................
Im not sure. It starts at nine,...........................
I cant remember. You need 50 points to win,.........................
How is your headache? It isnt getting worse,.............................

Speak their language


We need to match the language we use. If a customer uses jargon then we can.
Rapport can be reinforced through using phrases the customer themselves has
employed and although they might not notice, sub consciously they will
appreciate it.
Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic
Most people have a preference for how they process information-Visual, Audio
and kinaesthetic. Look at the table below for some phrases and words to look
out for. If you can present information in a way that the customer likes to
process it then you have a real advantage.

Phrases Words You say...


Visual I see what you Appear, Aspect, Do you see what
mean Clarify, Dark, I mean?
I have a hazy Demonstrate, Would you like to
notion Expose, Flash, look into other

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Show me what Hindsight, Glimpse, offers?
you mean Illusion, Perspective, Picture the
Youll look back Show, Spectacle, situation
on this and Fantasy, Mirage
laugh

Auditory We are on the Alarm, Articulate, Does that ring a


same wave Ask, Discuss, Earshot, bell?
length Gossip, Harmonise, Have you heard
That rings a bell Hear, Listen, Loud, about our new
Thats music to Mention, Music, deals?
my ears. Tune, Eloquent, Listen to this for
They are living in Synthesize a spec list
harmony
Kinaesthetic Keep in touch Affected, Cold, Firm, I get what you
I can grasp what Flow, Gentle, Grasp, mean
that idea Grip, Hold, Hard, Lets see what we
She is a warm- Heated, Hunch, can get hold of
hearted person. Impact, Touch, Feel, How would that
They are just Rough feel?
scratching at the
surface

Key Learning

Create a great 1st impression


Be alert to the customers style and adjust yours accordingly
Match your pace and tone to theirs
Use tag questions to build commonality
Identify how your customer sees (hears or feels) and use the right
phrases yourself

FUNCTION EXPONENT OTHER EXAMPLES


Offer Would you like me to
send some more
information?

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Request Could you spell that for
me, please?
Giving bad news Unfortunately that isnt
possible with this type
of phone.
Apologising Im sorry for the
inconvenience
Giving good news Im pleased to tell you
that we have lowered
our tariffs.
Correcting Actually, thats a little
different.
Paraphrasing So you never received a
bill, is that correct?
Agreeing Yes, thats right

Summarising Right, can I just sum up


what we have agreed?

Disagreeing No, thats not helpful

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS MEANING
Aha Please continue
Oh Giving Sympathy
Huh I dont understand
Aha Now I understand
Erm Im not sure
Uhm Im going to interrupt you
Ahh Thats great news!

APPROPRIACY
Can you spell that, please?
I dont suppose you could spell that once again, could you?
Can you spell that?
Spell it again, will you?

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Could you spell that, please?
Would you mind spelling that for me?

Now put the following requests in the order of formality / politeness.

How would you request:


A loan of 50K INR from your close friend
Your bosss brand new luxury car for the weekend

What can you say to the customer?

Checking and confirming understanding.


If I understand you correctly...
So what you mean is...
Did you mean...
So what youre saying is...
In other words...
Let me check I understood...
Taking notes.
Let me take that down
Let me make a note of that
OK, let me write that down
Let me read that back to you
Could you hold on a moment, Ill just write that down

Ask for clarification.


I didnt understand your last sentence
I didnt get you
I didnt get the last part- could you repeat it, please?
What was that again?
Could you say that again?

Wh questions...

What
Who

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Where
Whom
Whose
When
Why
How

Fill in the blanks with correct Wh question word and make the answer.

........am I speaking to?.......................................................

.........happened to your credit?..........................................

..........did you send us the form?........................................

...........type of savings a/c would you like to open?...............................

...........can I help you?..........................................

............name is the a/c in?.............................................

.............didnt you inform us earlier?........................................

Meeting customers needs:

Transition statements

After providing you with.....Ive noticed a way in which we could help you
with....

After talking to you, Ive realised that we could also help you with....

From what weve been talking about, I think Ive a couple of ways that
could really benefit how you.....

From our conversation, its come to my notice that we could also hlp you
with....

Fab statements

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Features: It provides you with...... Its got.......

Advantages: .......which........

Benefits: which means that.....which will help you to....which is good for
you because.....

Commitment statements

Shall / Can I complete the application for you now?

How does that sound?

I can get that organised for you today.

To save you having to phone us again, I can take you through the process
now.

Shall I go ahead and sort that out for you now?

I can do that for you now if youd like.

Hands off statement

Ill transfer you to someone who can discuss the detail with you.

In a service transaction, customers want three things:

Security

Control

Self-Esteem

How do you provide these three things?

Through your:

Accessibility

Accountability

Commitment

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Enhancement

Positive regard for the customer

Things you need to know about the customer:

Service history (what weve done for them in the past?)

Competitive experience

Satisfaction rating

Complaints

Suggestions

Preferences

Life events

Hobbies

Family characteristics

Barriers in building Rapport:

Mannerism (using catch words & phrases)

Insincerity (canned presentation)

Too much conversation (verbal throw up)

Being overly familiar (too much intimacy)

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Stiff & closed verbal posture (rehearsed)

Nervousness (high pitch voice)

Too much enthusiasm (artificial sounding)

Procrastinations

Indecision & Inconsistency

Fear

Disorganisation

Things to remember:

Visualize whosoever you are speaking to

Speak from the heart, but use commonsense & patience

Quite your critical mind

Use the persons name

Make conversations fun

On Phone, 87% of communication is tonal

Appropriate talk

Never hang-up on anyone

Dont argue on the phone

Follow call back promises

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Assessment Role Play Sheet:

BUILDING RAPPORT
Responds appropriately Is usually able to Does not respond
to what the customer respond to what the appropriately to the
says and builds rapport customer is saying, customer verbally
(verbal nods/fillers etc.) however on occasions resulting in a
the conversation is transactional
transactional. conversation.
Uses dead time Fills dead time to Doesnt fill dead time to
effectively to build explain procedures. avoid unnatural pauses.
rapport/explain what
theyre doing.
Conversation with the On the whole is able to Does not maintain a
customer flows naturally maintain a conversation conversation with the
as uses a variety of with the customer with customer (interrupts the
questions appropriately, the use of some customer). Questions are
checks and confirms appropriate questioning. limited and/or
understanding and However, not always inappropriate. Doesnt
paraphrases when checking and confirming check and confirm
necessary understanding or understanding or
paraphrasing. paraphrase.
Uses a range of fillers or On the whole, uses a Repeats the phrases and
the uses the customers range of fillers and/or customers name too
name appropriately. the customers name much.
appropriately.
Uses the appropriate On the whole uses an An appropriate register
register (level of appropriate register to is used on a number of
formality) to suit the suit the context and/or occasions which does
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context or responses are on a few occasions not suit the context
clear and concise to help responses are long, and/or responses are
aid communication. complex and unclear, but mostly long, complex
do not hinder and unclear and lead to
communication. a breakdown in
communication.

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