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Building Rapport in Sales

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Thu, Jun 30, 2022

Building rapport in selling is really all about being caring and friendly, asking the right questions, and offering great advice and solutions.

There are 5 competencies that make a salesperson strong at developing relationships in sales.


The title of this blog is also a highly searched keyword phrase on Google. Because we always try to write about topics that salespeople want to read, we are going to focus on this very important topic of how to build rapport in sales. I want you to think about a business relationship that you have that you think highly of, recommend, and will likely never leave. For my example, I will talk about our auto servicing and repair group, Donovan’s.

We have two cars in our family so we need a good service provider and we keep our cars on a regular maintenance program, so you might say, we are good prospects for this type of service. I found Donovan’s by following the general manager Chris over from another auto servicing group that was not nearly as good or memorable, but Chris was and is!

How to build rapport – Chris has always been courteous, happy to speak to me, remembers me and my car, does not keep me on hold, asks the appropriate questions about the issue needing service, calls me with the estimate, and has the car ready on time. In essence, he delivers. I would say that these are the components of rapport with Chris: genuine friendliness – he cares, consistency in availability, delivering the service needed, and advice and recommendations simply explained. When something expensive needs to be addressed, he will tell me what it is, why it needs to be fixed, and what happens if I don’t fix it. I never feel like I am being sold but I do feel like I am being taken care of.

Read the book – Go-Givers Sell More by Bob Burg and John Mann for more on this topic. Building rapport is just part of the business process for Donovan’s – if Chris does not answer the phone, whoever does is also friendly, caring, and helpful. They have found a recipe for success and it works. All of their people follow an approach that stands out from the auto servicing crowd. Additionally, after every service, their owner texts me to ask how they did. Now that is unique! I typically do not allow texts from companies but he is very specific in his question and once I answer it, that is that. That is not marketing or selling, it is building rapport! I feel like I can call the owner of Donovan’s at any time and talk to him directly, and would bet he will be as helpful, gracious, and caring as Chris.

One last thing about how to build rapport. When my son Steven was learning to drive, I reached out to Chris and asked if one of them would be willing to spend 15-20 minutes walking him around the car, helping him to change a tire if needed, checking the air pressure in the tires, checking the oil, etc. Chris (who is also the manager) did this himself and Steven learned some very valuable things about his car. He also remembers Chris each time he takes our car in for service. Did I mention that Donovan’s is not the cheapest auto service provider? That is not what I am looking for when it comes to something we depend on every day. However, they deliver more than what's expected at a fair price. Think about your business, do you do that? Nothing builds rapport like overdelivering on a service.

We use the #1 sales assessment in the industry by Objective Management Group which defines the 21 sales core competencies needed for sales mastery. Here are the competencies for Relationship Builder:

  1. Quickly develops rapport
  2. The relationship is the key factor to winning business
  3. Develops strong relationships over time
  4. Customers follow them to new companies
  5. Is extroverted

I would say that Chris and the folks at Donovan’s do a very good job on these 5 competencies, wouldn’t you? Building rapport in selling is really all about being caring and friendly, asking the right questions, and offering great advice and solutions. Think about what you and your people can do differently to build better rapport with your clients. It will extend the life of your relationships and they will tell others!

Free Evaluation of the  21 Core Competencies!

Topics: how to build rapport in sales, building rapport in sales


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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


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