2 Tips to connect and build rapport immediately for sales success

Want to connect better with people on the phone or in-person and build rapport today?

Over the past few days, I’ve had two readers reach for advice on doing better outreach.

One reader wrote, “never had a role like this before, and I’m desperate to succeed and be the best I can be for myself and the company.”

Another one writes, “thankful for any help I may get because I am a millennial x 3, so this is not natural.”

So I’m sharing two tips you can apply now.

Just be people with people.

My best advice came over 20 years ago when I was a 22-year-old business development rep (BDR). I was calling to setup up appointments for a small sales training company.

In my first two weeks, I had zero meetings booked.

I felt dejected and worried about paying rent. I tried to sound experienced and professional, calling people who had way more knowledge about sales than me.

My Sales manager Julie said to me, “just be people with people.” I was 22, after all. Just own it and be me.

Here’s what I did:

I started talking about my first inside sales job, how excited I was, and how much I knew I had to learn.

More importantly, I was interested in learning about them and if this training might help their team. The result?

I scheduled three appointments that day. My vulnerability became my strength to connect. It wasn’t about my experience; it was just about being myself and doing the work.

Often, I could hear smiles from the managers I called. Some shared how my story brought them back to being in their first sales job too.

Just be people with people.

Listen with empathy

Are you listening (like many people) to confirm what you already know? Alternatively, are you looking deeper to learn something new? The difference is huge.

Here are some quick things you can do right now to improve sales calls:

  • Ask yourself: What’s the motivation behind what they are saying?
  • What do you notice about how that person is speaking?
  • How does their voice sound? We can hear the emotion. Face to face, you can also notice body language, microexpressions, eye movements, and more.

Listening with empathy goes beyond active listening because you’re tuning in to process two levels, what’s said and also trying to understand why.

If you listen with the intent of figuring out what you’re going to say, then you aren’t hearing them. They will feel it.

Here’s a quick test: After they finished talking, can you repeat back at least the last three words of what they just said back to them?

By doing this, you’re going to tune in to listen, and by being present (i.e., being fully engaged), you’re going to connect more effectively.

In sum, be people with people and listen with empathy, and you’ll connect immediately.

You may also like:

How Customer-Hero Stories Help You Connect Better

Putting Empathy in Account Based Marketing

How to Use Conversational Marketing to Get More Leads

Getting Sales Enablement Right to Increase Results

B2B Roundtable Podcast

About the author 

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing.

He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.

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