Building Rapport and Trust in a Virtual 2D World

Creating rapport has always been foundational to relationships.

We all like to do business with people we know, like and trust.

Previously, for sellers and buyers this was easier to develop in face-to-face environments but in a virtual setting there are several significant differences.

Reading facial expressions and body language on video is difficult, time seems faster paced, more business agenda driven with less pauses. And the natural engagement points upon arrival, greeting others or sharing a coffee are all absent.

So, finding ways to build rapport in a virtual world where it is challenging becomes especially important.

There’s no question, trust is essential for selling and if you don’t establish rapport, you put trust at risk.

How can you overcome this issue successfully?

You must take the lead and proactively create opportunity, time, and space for rapport-building virtually.

To build rapport, be thoughtful about engaging, before, during, and after virtual meetings.

Before meetings email and social media engagement has become even more important. Use the opportunity to set the scene and tone for the meeting.

Mention you’ll have video on for the call, this sets the expectation and encourages others who may still be getting used to being on camera. Even if the other person doesn’t have their camera on make sure you do. Seeing your face is a motivating factor in building rapport with the other person and often they will end up joining you on video during the meeting.

Here are four principles to building rapport in any situation:

  1. Empathy

Show personal interest in the other person. Listen actively and care.

You don’t need to make this complicated, simply ask them:

“What’s it like for you living and working from the same place each day?”

“Have you found good some ways to keep active mentally and physically?”

“When all of this turns around what are you most looking forward to doing?”

As you listen carefully to their answers, you’ll build rapport naturally as you learn and share about your family, pets and interests.

You can also ask:

“How have things changed in your business over the pandemic?”

“Have you had to innovate or make changes to improve performance?”

These are simple questions.

I’m often asked by experienced salespeople – ‘Are there more advanced ones?’

The answer is no. Showing genuine interest isn’t complicated you just need to care about the other person, their lives and what they’d like to achieve.

  1. Be Authentic – People like people who are genuine. You should ask the above questions but if it sounds like you’re going through the motions you’ll come over as insincere and it will be counterproductive to your relationship. Keep it simple, Keep it real.
  1. Find Commonality – Do some preparation and check to see if you have any shared contacts, companies, charities or interests in common. You could miss excellent opportunities to connect simply because the topic didn’t come up in conversation.
  1. Collaborate – During the meeting actively look for ways to interact together, share in mapping out issues on a Whiteboard or show a graphic visual for discussion. Working together and collaborating to understand and solve challenges is a brilliant way to build a relationship virtually.

In a Nutshell

Virtual rapport doesn’t happen by chance you need to take the lead.

Proactively create opportunity, time, and space for rapport-building virtually.

To build rapport, plan to your engagement, before, during, and after virtual meetings and even via email or social web.

  1. Empathy: Show personal interest. Listen and Care.
  2. Authenticity: Keep it simple. Keep it real.
  3. Commonality: Find shared connections.
  4. Collaborate: Engage & Interact together

Dedicated to Your Sales Success!


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