Building a good rapport with potential customers can do wonders for heightening the chances of making a sale. However, starting a conversation with a client is not as easy as it looks.
Engaging with a potential customer requires you to shoot the questions in a manner that gives birth to natural conversations. Therefore, generic opening questions are a big no-no.
Sales reps often have a tiny window to build a genuine rapport with potential customers. Therefore, it is indispensable to use this short opportunity to best for making a sale. This is why rapport building questions are essential.
Before discussing what sort of rapport building questions you can ask to make a sale, let us first understand what precisely these questions are.
What Is a Rapport Building Question?
The ultimate aim of giving a prospect a call is to make sales. However, making sales is only possible when there is a meaningful conversation between the salesperson and the prospect.
Rapport building questions are the questions that are useful in creating a meaningful relationship with the prospect and that too in a short interval of time. It often helps the salesperson to break the ice.
With good rapport building questions, the salesperson can intelligently and subtly tell about the sales agenda. It is only when a salesperson builds a connection with a potential client that it becomes possible for the salesperson to sell a product or service.
With the right question, you can go beyond the surface level, superficial discussions and show genuine interest in helping the client. It helps in strengthening business relationships and building rapport.
Rapport building questions, as the name suggests, help you to build a rapport with the target audience. It keeps the conversation flowing and, in turn, creates a chance for positive outcomes for the business.
However, it is essential to understand that only good rapport questions are not enough; it is also equally important to come up with better follow-up questions and satisfactory answers for the clients too. Only then does the prospect feel that they are heard and understood. It
It will increase their confidence in you and will ensure them that they can rely on your capable hands.
To sum it up, rapport building questions are the questions that help the salesperson to connect with the potential client in a personal way. These questions help the salesperson initiate the sales pitch required to sell the products or services.
Unlike surface-level questions, these questions are engaging and lead to a discussion instead of a one-way conversation.
Let us now dig deeper to know the clear advantages of these questions.
Advantages Of Using Rapport Questions With Clients
As discussed above, we already know that rapport-building questions are critical to creating a meaningful relationship with a client which can ultimately help the salesperson to make the sales. However, there are plenty of other advantages too.
It’s time to check how rapport questions with clients can be beneficial.
1. More Sales
Firstly, the most important advantage of using rapport questions with clients is that it helps boost sales. A prospect will only invest in a product or service you sell when they know you are invested in the relationship.
Questions to build rapport improve the customer experience and guarantee a positive customer experience if done rightly. With a positive experience, the prospect has a higher chance of showing interest in the product or service that you are selling.
Lead acquisition becomes easier with good rapport questions, which further helps you expand your customer base. As a result, the sales productivity increases, and the business grows.
It helps increase the chances of conversion and often attracts more sales.
2. The Selling Process Gets Easier
Rapport building questions are good for establishing trust between you and your client. Not only do you get to know more about the client, but even the client gets to know you better. This bond is helpful in sales which mainly relies on transactional relationships.
The trustworthy relationship, in turn, makes the sales process extremely easy. With perfect trust, the clients know they can rely on you to offer solutions to their problems.
With the bridge of trust, the selling process smoothens up.
3. Better Reputation
A good rapport question promotes a better reputation both for you and your brand. With this reputation, it is also possible to set the desired price on the product or service you are selling, and the client will happily agree to the price because of the reputation.
Further, if you manage to give the client the perfect product or service after building a reputation, the customer feedback would be good too. In such a case, chances are high that they will not only leave a positive review but also recommend your product and service to others.
They can also trust you with the fact that you will offer them proactive customer service too. Also, it helps you to earn respect which can benefit you in the long run.
4. Helps You Stay Ahead In The Competition
You obviously know that your company is not the only one dealing with a particular product or service. The market is filled with many other competitors who will engage in similar rapport-building efforts. It is no secret that they will even reach out to the prospect to sell your products and services.
However, you can stand out amongst your competitors by building rapport. If your competitors are going with generic questions and you, on the other hand, are shooting the perfectly personalised rapport question, it is pretty apparent that the bond you will build with your client will be much better.
Authenticity with the rapport question is the key to building that perfect relationship with the client to stay ahead in the market competition. Unique questions will make them think and you might land up with an honest answer that can be helpful.
5. It Helps Build Trust
Building trust is essential in the sales process. Why would someone buy your product or service if they cannot trust you?
Therefore, building customer rapport through trust is of utmost importance. Rapport questions help you to build that trust with your client, which is essential to increase the conversion.
Preparing yourself with all the correct answers that can follow after the initial questions is crucial. Only when you have in-depth knowledge about the products and services you sell can you give a satisfactory answer.
Therefore, such questions should always be clubbed with satisfactory answers to increase the chance of lead conversion.
3 Best Ways To Build The Perfect Rapport In Sales
A good rapport building question does much more than break the ice between the salesperson and the prospect. It helps in lead conversion, which is pretty obvious by now. However, to increase sales, it is important to ask good rapport building questions and not just any questions.
Even though coming up with the right rapport question might look like a herculean task, it is not. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to build customer rapport perfectly in sales.
Your search ends here if you are looking for ways to build the perfect customer rapport. Let’s get started with the details now.
1. Focus On Personalization
All the prospects are different; therefore, you cannot throw the same question to everyone and expect the same answers and sales. Further, if you do not personalise the rapport question, the client will quickly identify that you are simply asking a generic question.
The result is that the prospect will end up losing interest in you very quickly.
Therefore, personalise the questions instead of generic ones to build rapport to match the prospect’s interest. You must be wondering how exactly to do this personalisation.
Well, it’s easy. All you need to do is run a quick background check and collect the relevant information about the person and company they work for.
After empowering yourself with this knowledge, it will become easy to personalise the questions to drive the prospect’s interest.
2. Throw Unpredictable Questions
Almost all the sales calls start with the same introduction and information. It is easy for a client who has heard the same thing repeatedly to lose interest in the entire process.
It is, therefore, crucial to come up with something unique that can take your prospect off guard. It is the best strategy to build the interest of the prospect.
Think about a unique statement or question and personalise it to meet the client’s requirement, and you are good to have a good conversation with the prospect. However, please note that you must surprise the prospect and now shock them while building rapport. Do not be intrusive.
3. Show Commitment Towards Your Clients
If your prospect ever had a bad experience with any sales reps, it is natural for them to be sceptical, even for you. Therefore, it is important not only to tell but also to show your commitment to them.
One way of showing your commitment to the prospect is by actively listening to their problems and queries. You can only come up with the perfect solution for them by paying attention. Further, empathising with the prospect is critical too.
It will help you to earn their trust and, further, make the sales process more manageable. Therefore, you should frame your questions to show your commitment to them. Also, feel free to add a personal touch whenever necessary.
17 Effective Rapport Building Questions To Boost Your Sales
If you are wondering, what are a few good questions to build customer rapport? Don’t worry. We have got it covered. You can try the following rapport questions to boost your sales with a prospect.
1. Is it true about what people say about your city/state?
Questions related to city/state can work as a charm to break the ice. It can be as simple as asking, “Is truly New York a city that never sleeps?” The magic of this question is that it is a pretty open-ended question. Therefore, there is a lot of scopes for your client to talk about their experience.
This question is great for establishing a personal touch with your client while building customer rapport without actually getting personal. If you think that you can build a connection with the city/state question, always go for it.
2. What are your top recommendations if I pass through your city/state?
This question is again related to city/state. A question like this suggests that the opinion of your prospect matters to you. In other words, it will make them feel valued. Further, based on their recommendation about their city/state, you will get an idea about their preferences.
With this information, it will be easier for you to personalise your questions in a manner that can interest the prospect. You can also develop other relevant city/state questions and personalise them to meet the client’s requirements.
3. Do you work from the office or remotely?
During the pandemic, many employees were forced to work remotely. It was a new experience for many; therefore, it is a safe question to know more about their office setup.
Further, it will highlight the pros and cons of their setup. If possible, pitch a solution to make things easier for them.
Such career-related questions can often come in handy in starting the sales pitch quickly. Also, it will provide more insight into their work setup and help you pitch your solution correctly.
4. I noticed previously you worked in XYZ company. How smooth was the transition?
In the present era, job switching is common, but still, it comes with its own set of problems. Raising open-ended questions about their current or former companies will allow the prospect to tell you about their experience. Further, you might also discover mutual connections, which again will build your credibility factor.
Additionally, how they elaborate the answer will help you to identify the person’s personality. This knowledge can be extremely helpful in pitching a product or service better.
5. I noticed you had earned X certification. How was the journey?
It is one of the excellent career-related questions to ask for building customer rapport on a positive note with your prospect. This question will allow the prospect to discuss their skills and achievements. In turn, it will help them feel valuable
You can check the LinkedIn profile of the prospect to see if they have earned any recent certification to shoot this question.
People love to speak about their achievements, and you can allow them to flaunt their achievements with this question.
6. Are you affected by the current situation?
Previously, the pandemic happened, and now the entire globe is facing the wrath of inflation. You can use this situation to know more about the client’s pain point. Further, you can share your experience and create a common ground between the two.
Most of the employees are currently in the same boat. Therefore, it is a clever question to build a quick rapport with the prospect.
7. What do you hope to accomplish?
It is another open-ended question designed to effectively understand your prospective customers’ challenges and what they plan to achieve. This reflective question can successfully open the floodgate of emotions and help you to connect with the client and create an emotional bond.
Even though it is a simple question, it is a personal question that effectively can build rapport with potential clients. Further, such questions make them reflect, and this, in turn, gives rise to an interesting discussion.
8. Where were you working before joining the current company?
Good rapport building questions go beyond the yes and no answers. Whenever possible, go for open-ended questions.
Further, the key to good rapport building questions is asking questions where the potential customers get to talk more and deliver an honest answer. This question will help you to know about their past experiences and the reason why they switched job.
Such career-related questions can also help you to know their roles in the company and their previous experience. It gives you more insight into them, and you can use it as a tool to create other effective rapport building questions.
9. I read your LinkedIn/Blog Post on ABC. What are your views on XYZ?
Flattery can give you plenty of opportunities, especially in the sales department. However, you do not want the flattery to sound insincere. It needs to be genuine because people usually can smell insincere flattery from miles.
Therefore, in the background check, put some effort into checking whether the prospect has written a blog post or not. Furthermore, you can check for recent company announcement or stuff like if they are participating in any future speaking events.
Such information is beneficial in building a working relationship with your prospect and shows that you are genuinely interested in them.
Also, giving the prospect a chance to share their views on a topic gives them the feeling that they are important to you. It is a great question to break down the communication barrier and give them a chance to discuss something they are passionate about.
10. What brings you here?
If a prospective customer calls you, it is a great question to ask them. Even though you might not be physically present together in the same space, this question creates a feeling of togetherness.
Also, the question indicates that you are happy to solve all their problems and questions. Additionally, it also shows that you would be happy to know about their experience. After learning the problem and its pain point, you can then work ahead to provide an effective solution to the prospect.
11. What can I do to make things easier for you?
Raising this question indicates that you are empathic toward their problem. Further, it is the perfect question to create an understanding and friendly persona.
It also implies that you are there to help your client achieve their goals and make them as smooth as possible.
12. What are the top issues you are facing right now?
This is a powerful question because it can help you with a positive outcome to pitch your sales directly. Also, this question will allow gaining more insight into the problems that they are facing.
Agree whenever required and connect with them. When listening to their answer, show empathy. Further, when they are done explaining the pain point, offer the solution in a manner that can highlight the features of your product or service that you are selling.
Only when they realise that your product or service can solve their most significant issues will they be more inclined to know more about it, leading to easy conversion.
13. How long have you been working for XYZ company?
Asking the potential clients how long they have been working in a particular company will give you information regarding their experience. Someone who has spent years with a company will have much more information than a newbie who joined.
Along with it, you can also talk about sensitive business topics if you lead the conversation in the right direction. Also, it will give the idea of whether the person with whom you are talking has the decision power for the company or not.
14. What is your vision for the business?
This is a great question entrepreneur or someone in a company’s top position. People love to talk about their dreams and the vision of their company. You can dig this question deeper further by asking about their sales goals.
Once you know their business vision, you can then pitch how your product or service can be extremely helpful in helping them accomplish this goal. When a client feels that your product can really help them achieve their vision, they will be more interested in learning more about it.
15. You went to XYZ college. How was your experience there?
Choosing a college is never easy for anyone. Also, sometimes, it is hard to land in a perfect college. Therefore, asking this question is a wonderful way to help your client open up.
Additionally, in answering this question, they might share personal details with you, which can help build the trust factor with your prospect. Most of the time, this basic information is readily available with a quick search on LinkedIn.
16. Imagine all your problems were taken care of. How would that make you feel? What would you do?
Hypothetical questions are great questions to help the prospect dream, making the discussion all the more enjoyable. Further, it allows you to know the issues that they are facing.
With this knowledge, you can customise your pitch to solve the prospect’s pain point. Further, it allows them to realise the issues that they are facing. Sometimes, the prospect doesn’t even realise that there is a problem.
Asking such questions helps the prospect to raise the issue themselves. As a result, the pain point becomes genuine, and your solutions will make more sense to them.
17. What are you hoping this will lead to?
It is a critical question to build rapport that will shed light on the prospect’s expectations. Subsequently, it shows that you are open to offering them a solution that can actually add value.
By asking this question, you give them hope and indicate that you are here to help.
You can go for any of these rapport building questions to build the rapport and break the ice. Always remember to carry warmth in your tone and nurture the conversation as much as possible. Remember, allowing the other person to talk more is the most important thing.
Rapport Building For Clients Who Don’t Like Questions
Not everyone is good at answering questions. There are both vocal and non-vocal people in the world. Rapport building questions work great for the prospect who are confident in speaking and are vocal. However, a salesperson might face a problem while building rapport with clients who don’t like questions.
It can create a problematic situation. However, it is not a problem that cannot be solved.
For the clients who do not like questions, you can begin with simple questions like how are you or how is the day going? Asking these basic questions will push them to answer and will help them open up.
You can then begin with your introduction and tell the prospect how you know them. This will create a sense of familiarity between the two and will help push the conversation forward.
Instead of asking questions, you can then go ahead with statements like, “Generally, people working in your business or your role face XYZ issues. Are you facing any of such issues?” This is a close-ended question; a yes or no will help you better understand the prospect.
If the answer is yes, you can go ahead and start your sales pitch. However, if the answer is no, perhaps, you should get creative to make them realise there is actually an issue that your product or service can solve.
Further, maintain a warm tone while talking to such a client. Instead of making the conversation look like a forced interview, creatively turn it into a friendly discussion.
Top Qualities Before Building Rapport Question
Even though the above-discussed rapport building questions are good for making a conversion, to get the real question, you need to have the following set of qualities.
We have already discussed how personalisation can help you in landing a conversion. However, personalising the rapport building questions is possible when you conduct thorough research.
It is easier to start a conversation after researching the person’s background and the company they work for. Carrying out research will help you to create an instant connection with them. You can even use something as basic as their hometown for striking up a conversation.
2. Go For A Personal Approach
Your ultimate goal is to sell your product or service, but the thing is that you are not selling it to a robot but an actual human being. Therefore, a personal touch is essential in leading the conversation.
Instead of jumping from one rapport question to another, take an interest in their answers and see if the answer can lead to another question or conversation that can help you to pitch your ideas.
3. Quick Value Addition
You are calling your prospect to sell and not to gossip. Therefore, it is vital to add value to the conversation in the early stage.
Why would someone talk to you if they feel that you won’t be adding any value? Without the value addition in the early stage, even the perfect question will fail to bring you success.
Bring in their immediate notice how you can help them solve their pain points. This will also help fetch a quick yes from the prospect and can drive the conversation more productively. No more beating around the bush!
Bonus: Things To Avoid While Asking Rapport Questions To Your Clients
To ensure that the rapport building questions work for your clients, it is equally important to avoid a few things. There are do’s for building good rapport. Similarly, there is a list of don’ts too that needs to be avoided while asking rapport questions to your client.
Here is a list of things you should avoid while asking rapport questions to your client.
1. Do Not Rush Things
A primary objective that will run through your mind is to close the deal. However, rushing the conversation to close the deal as soon as possible is a bad idea. It is because rushing through the discussion will show that you are simply interested in selling the product or service and are not interested in genuinely helping the prospect.
Most of the time, rushing things will fail!
In fact, rushing through the conversation will make it extremely difficult for you even to start your sales pitch. Therefore, keep the conversation natural and do not think about the time duration when dealing with a potential customer.
2. Do Not Ask Many Close-Ended Questions
Close-ended questions can put your client in a tight spot as they will have to take a clear stand, which is sometimes very difficult. Instead, try to go for open-ended questions.
Firstly, open-ended questions are more comfortable to answer. Secondly, it will throw more light on the views and opinions of the clients. However, remember to ask close-ended questions whenever you find it necessary.
3. Avoid Controversial Topics
Asking about the weather is safe; however, asking about political views can be extremely risky. When you are framing the rapport building questions, avoid contentious topics.
Always go for safe topics to avoid an argument with the prospect. Remember, you are here to sell your product and service and not to engage in any kind of debate.
4. Do Not Get Too Personal.
Sometimes during a background check, you might land your hands on deeply personal things about the prospect. Avoid any kind of too personal discussions. Even though you are trying to build a friendly and meaningful connection with the client, maintain a safe boundary
You need to ask personal questions to build a rapport; however, at the same time, you also need to ensure that you are not asking too personal questions. Respect the boundaries with the clients.
5. Not Paying Enough Attention
Your job doesn’t end with just throwing a question at your client. You need to give your full attention to the prospect. Only when you are paying full attention will you be able to lead the conversation to your benefit.
Irrespective of the distractions you might face, give your prospect your full attention. If your client is even aware that you are not giving them your full attention, the deal can go out of the window.
The prime objective of the rapport building questions is to go beyond the generic questions to know your prospect better. Therefore, always keep a personal touch and stay open to your pitches. Further, keep personalising your pitch to meet the client’s requirements.
You can create meaningful and loyal relationships with your client with the right question. Instead of just scratching the surface that most salespersons do, you get to develop a deeper relationship with the prospect with the right question.
Rapport building questions are a great way to increase the conversion correctly, which will benefit you both the short-term and long-term.