Customer rapport is often talked about in relation to telesales where success depends on whether you can build trust with your customers over the phone.
In this article, we share some of the reasons why building customer rapport is beneficial, and give you tips on building good relationships with customers.
The importance of customer rapport in telesales
Rapport can be defined as the ability to communicate well with someone, or, simply, a good sense of understanding and trust. When it comes to telesales, rapport is essential for building a good relationship with your clients. Through harmonious relationships, you can meet your business goals, increase your sales, and build long-lasting, sustainable contacts.
Customer rapport is also important on a personal level. On bad days, being in contact with customers all day can not only feel monotonous and tedious but also stressful. Some clients can get particularly hard to deal with, and maintaining an aura of professionalism may be extremely challenging. In these cases, the ability to communicate well is essential not just for keeping your business targets but also your spirits high.
Open the call with a smile
Ever yawned because the person in front of you was yawning? You’re not the only one. According to neuroscience, we are coded to mirror others. For this, a brain circuit called the insula is responsible, the area of our brain regulating our emotions. The psychology of mirroring translates into very specific consequences when it comes to sales.
As Tímea, one of our key account managers discusses, if you do not assess your own mood, you’ll end up automatically mirroring others. In telesales, this can get problematic when dealing with frustrated or impatient clients.
While it might be a challenge in the beginning, try making your reaction to situations with your clients into an active choice. Behave in a way that you want the conversation to go. Is the client rude? Be extra polite and see what happens. Is he being irrational and demanding? Keep a cool head and stick to the facts. Is he bored and uninterested? Take an excited, enthusiastic tone. And most of all, smile. Smile, even if you are on the phone, because it shows.
Having a longstanding career in telesales, Tímea worked for a number of years as a call center operator. She remembers listening to her recorded voice conversations, and being astonished by what she heard. In every single interaction, you could tell when she was smiling. “Simply starting the conversation with a smile lays ground for a completely different interaction. Both you and your customers’ mood will start off with a positive note, and in the long term, this will lead to quantifiably better sales results.”
Most importantly, remember to maintain authenticity. When you are communicating to clients, keep in mind that you are talking to another human being. This might simply mean listening to them with empathy.
Tímea discusses that showing empathetic gestures could involve very simple things. “When I had to make outgoing calls during my time as a telesales agent, clients would often pick up the phone in the middle of an activity (taking their children somewhere, going to the vet, etc.). If I managed to reschedule a call with them, the next time I called, I asked about the activity they were doing when we last spoke: how their dog was, or about their daughter’s ballet recital. The effect was immediate. Their tones changed and they became way more open to our conversation.”
Authenticity is important not just in your relationship with your clients but also in your relationship to the product or service you are trying to sell. If not necessary, don’t obsess about sticking to the call script. Try to explain why your product is relevant to the customer with your own words. By putting your own personality into it, you will sound more authentic instead of just another telesales agent who reads information from a script.
Remember to stand your ground
At the end of the day, sales is not about trying to desperately impress the person on the other side of the line. Behave with your clients on an equal footing. This establishes a sense of partnership and trust, regardless of whether or not you are communicating with them over the phone or in person.
When it comes to particularly difficult clients, standing your ground and establishing your boundaries can actually help your sales, as it makes you come across as consistent, reliable and ultimately, a trustable person.
Behave with others the way you would want others to behave with you. Remember the importance of customer rapport and open the call with a smile, stay authentic, and stand your ground. The power of mirroring can help increase your sales, build long standing relationships with your clients, and most importantly, it can help you maintain a healthy state of mind at the workplace.
More tips to handle customers better
If you found this article interesting, you might want to check out these posts about agent-customer interactions as well:
Customer service greetings
How to handle new and existing customers
How to win customers using conversational commerce