READ TIME – 6 MINUTES
Before the pandemic, yes all those years ago, building strong and meaningful relationships with clients tended to involve some kind of physical interaction.
It was the expected norm that business people would visit their clients, far and wide, to create a connection that would lead onto business partnership and sales.
Yet, as with almost every other industry, COVID-19 has completely altered the sales world and salespeople have gotten used to the new norm of virtual selling.
So… what is social selling?
Whilst people may argue that the traditional ways of in-person selling are better, there’s no denying that the business world has adapted to… and is favouring social selling.
Because it’s quicker, more cost and time effective, easier to plan and offers more opportunities with your clients.
In a recent IBM study, 55% of organisations said that the pandemic has resulted in “permanent changes to their organisational strategy”
Not to forget, the days that we used to spend travelling to visit our clients, we can now fill with multiple virtual calls and meetings…aka more sales!
Therefore, customer-centricity, which was always important, is now held at an even higher regard when trying to build rapport in a post-pandemic world.
So how can you do this?
Well we’ve put together some of the techniques we do ourselves here at AvA-V, that have been the foundation to securing and maintaining long-lasting and successful business relationships with all of our virtual clients.
As they say, the proof is in the pudding, so take it from us…
1. Humanise your brand and approach
Our first piece of advice, and potentially the most important one, is to humanise the relationship with your client.
We don’t want to lose the emotional connection that is built during a physical greeting.
Demonstrating empathy, honesty and emotional intelligence is crucial to building rapport… no one enjoys feeling like they’re talking to a robot – never mind buying from one!
On top of this, make it conversational, introduce elements of humour (if appropriate!) and ask questions to show your clients that you care.
Illustrate that it isn’t just another “transactional” call.
2. Establish trust as the foundation
Long-lasting relationships begin when trust is established.
Once you’ve humanised your approach and demonstrated that you’re personable and honest you’re already on the right track to building trust with your client.
But don’t stop there.
Be reliable, turn up virtually when you say you’re going to and go above and beyond what you’ve said you will – the same as you would if you were pitching to a client in person.
And then be consistent with your approach to really showcase that you’re a dependable and trustworthy business partner.
Our Specialist Sales Trainers dedicate a whole module on how to create trust with clients from the get-go.
So if you’re really looking to stand out and build rapport in a post-pandemic world, learn it in a 1-on-1 training session with the experts.
3. Use the correct communication method
In this post-pandemic world that we’re living in, it’s easy for all of us to fall into the routine and “convenience” of email and messaging.
But at AvA-V we couldn’t be bigger advocates of picking up the phone when reaching out to clients, in fact we favour it that much that wrote a whole blog about the power of picking up the phone.
The phone unlocks the potential of immediate rapport, real-time communication and offers you the space to ask your clients more questions… and gain more information.
You have the opportunity to create a great first impression over the phone by utilising your tone of voice, demonstrating enthusiasm and personalising the phone call to the client.
So next time you’re trying to build rapport with a client, pick up the phone and trust us when we say, you will see a world of difference in how the conversation flows and how the relationship grows.
4. Check in rather than check up
Being proactive and reaching out to your remote clients is essential to keeping the relationship nurtured and to demonstrate that despite the lack of in-person interaction, you care that their business needs are being met.
We’re not saying to bombard them with calls and video meetings, but regular check ins and discovering a routine that works best for them is key.
But to build rapport in a post-pandemic world… it requires effort.
Touching base via video call or phone call to check in on your clients will keep your organisation front of mind, and illustrate that you care about the ongoing growth of your client.
Frequent communication brings us on to our next point…
5. Discover points of interest
Developing a virtual bond between you and your clients can be done by discovering mutual interests.
This provides you with topic of conversations to build upon in your next call, to keep things rolling and if it’s none work related – helps the call become less transactional.
People buy from people. So find what distinctly interests your client and use this to your advantage when you’re looking to build rapport in a post-pandemic world.
6. Share your values
Since COVID-19, everyones concerns with the world, including the business world, has become front of mind.
Individuals are keen to know how organisations are operating, their sustainable practices and what they’re doing to better their stakeholders.
Meaning individuals are more likely to buy from business that share their values.
If customers believe that a brand is putting profit over people, 71% of there individuals will lose trust in the brand forever.
It is therefore important to align your company’s values to your target demographic and then incorporate this into your conversations as a way to build rapport with your clients.
Now we know that thanks to Covid, the world of sales has completely changed.
And a pro-active salesperson will take these tips and incorporate them into their approach to ensure they’re appropriately selling to the new ways of the business world.
And if there’s anything we’ve learnt from the pandemic it’s that the business world is ever-evolving.
So remain curious. Constantly boost your commercial awareness and adapt your approach to ensure you’re virtually selling to the best of your abilities.
If your team is struggling to build rapport in a post-pandemic world, or you’d like some extra guidance on how to transform these tips into your own practice, we’ve got the people for the job.
Our Specialist Sales Trainers have crafted modules from Proactive Prospecting to Digital & Social Selling to ensure your sales team know exactly how to successfully build rapport in a post-pandemic world.
So what are you waiting for?