Better Ways to Build Rapport

Be relevant to your prospects by understanding their issues and demonstrating you are qualified to resolve them.


We all know the importance of building rapport during a sale, and we also know that people tend to do business with people they like, know or trust.

What people don’t understand, though, is that talking about the latest sports scores or schmoozing about vacation spots is not an effective way to build rapport when you’re trying to sell something.

Related: 7 Ways to Build Rapport With Anyone

When you do, you’re often just lengthening the call, diluting your message, and this gets you no closer to the deal than you were before you wasted all that time.

Build relevant rapport

If you want to truly connect with your prospect and build the kind of rapport that will influence and lead to a closed deal, then you need to learn how to build what I call ‘relevant rapport.’

Relevant rapport means taking the time to talk about the issues your prospect is going through or what they’re trying to solve, and then expanding on these relevant issues and letting them know you understand exactly what they’re trying to accomplish and then explaining how you are uniquely qualified to help them.  

Remember, your prospects have a need that they are looking to you to help them fill, and the more they feel you understand their needs and can help them, the more likely it is they will engage with you. And the more they engage, the more you’ll learn what it will take to make the sale.

So, how do you build relevant rapport? You start by asking questions related to their specific work related issues. For example,

Instead of asking:

“So where did you go on holiday?”


“Now that you’re back from holiday,
I’m sure you’ve got lots to catch up on.
How can I help you?”


“You’re probably buried now that you’re back from holiday. I’d be happy to refill your normal order from last month and take that bit of business off your plate. Would that help you?”

Instead of asking:

“Are you excited about the upcoming game this weekend?”


“As we head into the last quarter, what are your top three priorities for increasing revenue?” 

Then layer by asking:

“You know _________, I’m working with another client who is facing the same challenge this quarter. What I proposed for him is to (then explain your solution). Do you think that might help you as well?”

Solve business challenges to develop trust

The point of relevant rapport is that your prospect will like you more and trust you more if you show an interest in their problems related to business, rather than their problems or activities outside of business.

Related: 5 Secrets of Successful Opening Scripts

Remember that your prospect is under just as much pressure to do their job as you are to do yours. I mean, ask yourself: Who would you be more interested in talking to – a prospect who wants to talk about the latest diet, or a prospect who wants to place an order? Thought so.

I challenge you this week to go out and begin connecting with your prospects on issues related to what they are doing for eight to nine hours a day – trying to get their jobs done. When you can show them how to do that better, faster or easier, then you will have truly made the connection with them that counts the most. That’s what building relevant rapport is all about.