min read

The Do’s and Don’ts of Building Rapport in a Sales Call

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Phillip LaChance
November 17, 2021
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Why Build Rapport on a Sales Call?

Sales is all about connecting through the power of human-to-human interactions. People are more likely to buy from someone they like and trust, this can’t happen without proper rapport building.

Too many salespeople get caught up in the process and lose focus on their individual approach to each call.  

When you improve the way you conduct your sales conversations, you create more influence, and engagement that you can leverage later in the relationship.

Let’s take a look at how you can avoid terrible rapport building, and how simple it is to create a process to make better connections with the people you work with.

The Do’s of Rapport Building


A business woman and man having a meeting.

Salespeople are great talkers. People become salespeople because of their ability to talk to others, but the greatest salespeople are even better listeners than talkers.

Great salespeople listen to what they are told. Too much listening in sales involves going “Uh huh, uh huh,” while you wait to tell them about your amazing product.

This can be important for two reasons. First, your prospect is talking and giving their concerns and information that will affect their purchasing decision. Secondly, people love to be listened to. It makes them feel important and wanted.

The power of listening can never be underestimated.

Understand Buyers Needs

A man going over a graph on a laptop to a woman

Everyone wants to focus on themselves and their needs. As sales reps, you need to garner the clients attention to get them to sign a piece of paper and hand over the money. Salespeople’s first instinct should be to focus on this.

The prospect is only considering their needs so it's crucial you understand those. If you’re reaching out to a prospect, then it’s more than likely your product will meet their needs, so it’s important to understand that. The more you understand that the more likely they are to engage with you.

Pay Attention

A man and a woman having a conversation.

Creating a connection with your prospect starts from your very first interaction. You want your prospects to trust you when you make a suggestion to them, so you have to set up a trusting relationship from the start.

The first place to look for increased sales success, then, isn’t the end of your sales conversations, it’s their beginning. Too many salespeople think that small talk is something we engage in before we get to the important stuff.  Most will try to skip over it because they think it’s a waste of time.

But there’s no such thing as small talk, it’s all a part of a broader, more important conversation.

If you skip over small talk, you skip over the first chance to build a relationship.  Talking isn’t always about sharing information, it’s also about developing a social trust.

This level of communication can never be pushed to the wayside. Asking someone how they are doing is so important to the sales process.  You’re not asking because you need to know.  You’re asking in order to show that you care.

The Don’ts of Rapport Building

Going too Fast

This happens when we focus on what we need. We try to skip to the end, to move it along, and close the sale.

Prospects don’t spend a lot of time thinking: “Gosh, I wish I was being pressured into a sale.” Take your time, rushing a sale will not help you or the prospect.

Bullying people into a sale may work occasionally, but they don’t enjoy it much, and they don’t renew.

Trying way too hard

Salespeople can get so excited that they have a great prospect that they end up going overboard and killing the relationship before it has time to develop. Here’s the fastest way to do that: spend the first few minutes bragging about how awesome you, your offering, and your company.

Prospects don’t care how successful you are, the awards you’ve won, or even how good your company is. Salespeople do this because they think that they have to start “adding value” right from the very beginning. It just sounds like bragging and that isn’t the way to gain trust and develop a relationship.

The less you try to impress, the more impressive you are.

Over Sharing

I’m sure you’ve been talking with someone during a subtle conversation and all of the sudden things go way too deep way too fast. You’re just chatting with someone you met at a party and all of sudden they’re telling you about how their friends never make time for them and treat them poorly.

This does the exact opposite of what you are going for: it pushes people away.

Don’t assume you have to be best friends with your prospects in order to create trust.  Avoid oversharing or pushing them to tell you their deepest thoughts and opinions, just create a friendship.

Building Rapport in Sales Calls

An older businessman having a happy conversation with a woman on a laptop.

Building Rapport is the foundation for every sales call. We all have different personalities and different styles. The key is to find a few guiding questions and ideas that you can bring into your conversations to help you build the relationship with the prospect.

Take your time, don’t rush, and keep their needs at the forefront. Implementing these few key ideas, and exterminating your bad rapport building habits will unequivocally improve your sales process.

Related: How to Handle Sales Objections