Why rapport matters to your business

Building rapport is critical in business. It’s your tool for nurturing strong relationships while sharpening your capacity to influence others. When you establish rapport, you’re able to engage your team and customers on a human level where loyalty and connection occur. Whether you’re building rapport with clients, customers or your staff, you’ll find that creating harmony eases communication while nurturing a culture of innovation, respect and collaboration.

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Learn how to effectively build rapport
What is rapport building?

To really understand building rapport with clients and customers, you have to know what rapport building means. The rapport building definition is as follows:

Rapport Building, Defined

verb: Rapport building

1. Creating a relation or connection, especially one that is harmonious or sympathetic with another person.

Rapport building is achieving mutual trust and understanding between two or more people. It leads to deep listening, meaningful conversations and fulfilling relationships where everyone involved benefits.

How to build rapport and improve communication

When you take the time to establish rapport, you open doors for other people to align themselves with you and your business’ mission. As you learn how to build rapport, you’ll find that it dovetails with communication strategies that will elevate your capacity for influence.

Know yourself

When it comes to understanding how to build rapport for communication purposes, your first step is taking inventory of your personality. By getting in touch with your communication and leadership style, you’re able to connect with your truest self, which is the cornerstone of building rapport with clients, customers and anyone else. 

Practice empathy

Understanding how to build rapport centers on relationships. Research on corporate loyalty demonstrates that, by using empathy to develop authentic rapport, you humanize the customer experience to develop a mutually beneficial professional relationship. By introducing empathy and rapport into your client interactions, you gain the insight you need to innovate constantly to meet the customer’s ever-evolving needs. By being warm, authentic, open, honest and collaborative, you open yourself to the customer experience, ultimately driving greater profits. 

know yourself


Embrace new perspectives

Good rapport is the basis of effective communication in business and the rest of life. When you take the time to really understand someone, you’re able to see the world from the other person’s perspective. By asking rapport building questions and embracing others’ viewpoints, you’re able to discern the other person’s needs. This is the key to adding real value to customers’ lives. 

Master the steps of communication

Building rapport entails a five-step process to understand the other person’s communication style. To start, prioritize finding commonalities and communicating nonverbally to convey warmth and understanding.  Once you’ve established rapport, you can then progress to communicating information. This is where you must think ahead: What have you anticipated as possible objections? How open are you to continuing a conversation in case there is a disagreement? Do you have a solution you can offer? When you’ve discussed everything, make a concrete request: your clients or customers will buy into your services or your employees will be proactive about any changes that need to happen. Since you’ve established good rapport, they’re likely to respond favorably. 

Building rapport with customers

Why is it important to establish rapport in business? Building rapport with customers is the linchpin of a successful company. Rather than think of a business as a set of policies and operations, think of it as a collection of people working toward a shared goal where you’re always striving to provide the ultimate customer experience. In this way, a business is much like a family. When there is good rapport – a close, balanced relationship in which all parties understand each other and communicate effectively – your team can get the job done without intrusive interpersonal conflict. When you establish rapport, your customers will bond more readily with your product, and you’ll be able to create raving fans for life.

Building rapport with clients

Building rapport with clients is a little different as the relationship needs to be deeper. While you may never see your customers in real life if they are simply buying a product or service from your website or one of your stores, you should have a much more hands-on approach with good client. By building rapport with clients, you’re able to make a true connection, which makes your product and company relevant on a meaningful, human level. 

Building rapport also means leveraging your loyalty, where trust converts to continued business. In one study, survey respondents categorized companies as either “trusted” or “distrusted.”  When consumers didn’t trust a company, 63% refused its product, 58% criticized the company to a friend and 37% shared negative opinions online. When customers trusted a company, 80% purchased the product, 68% recommended it to a friend, 48% shared positive reviews online and 40% actively defended the company’s reputation. Trust and rapport matter.

Establishing good rapport is a leadership skill

What is rapport building when it comes to leadership? It’s simply one of your most powerful tools to create a team that works. Effective leaders hone their vision, courage and integrity while building their team and clientele through good rapport. 

Great leadership is characterized by a balance of business acumen, personal character and the ability to influence others – traits you can develop by building rapport. When you establish rapport, you employ the art of psychology, which helps you better engage with others. The ability to impact others creates upward momentum for unparalleled success

It is this capacity for influence that distinguishes great leaders from mediocre ones. As a business owner or manager, employee engagement is one of your most significant challenges. Statistics suggest that just 30% of American employees (and 35% of managers) are engaged on the job, meaning that up to 70% of workers are not contributing at full capacity. One study on the impact of managerial personality traits on morale found that when employees feel management is approachable, employee engagement is highest. Engagement increases even more when employees feel managers are approachable enough to discuss non-work issues, indicating a high level of trust. When you establish rapport, staff is more receptive to your feedback and even more likely to share their own. You’ll earn staff loyalty, and staff retention becomes a natural output of your business principles.

Rapport building questions

Building rapport with clients, customers and your team centers on asking the right questions. Here are some examples of rapport building questions that lead to deeper connections:

1. What are the biggest challenges you are facing as a company? In your management role?

2. What did you learn at the recent sales training? In our team meeting? When you attended this event?

3. What are the management dynamics of the new clients we have?

4. What could we do to make you happier and more engaged in your position?

identify the problem


5. What is one change our company could make to our services to increase your loyalty?

6. What do you think is the biggest issue our company is facing when it comes to increasing sales?

7. Who has been your greatest mentor and why?

How to build rapport does not have to be complicated. It’s all about having empathy for others, being curious about their opinions, asking the right questions and truly listening to – and caring about – the answers.

Want to learn how to leverage good rapport?

Learn how to effectively build rapport with Tony Robbins’ 7 Forces of Business Mastery free content series.