10 Rapport-Building Questions Every Salesperson Needs in Their Toolbox
As a salesperson, part of the job is quickly building connections with people in a professional environment. Finding common ground and building professional relationships while still staying on task and selling your product is no easy task.
Rapport-building questions are a critical element of any sales strategy. It is the act of creating relationships that will ultimately make clients feel comfortable when speaking to you. That means they are more likely to give you a call the next time they need your product or services.
Having a list of rapport-building questions that you can draw from will help you function better at mixers and get more responses from cold contacts. Keep the following questions in mind the next time you reach out to a prospect.
1. "Where Did You Work Before X Company?"
Studies show that people find it rewarding when they get the chance to talk about themselves. Due to the context of your conversations with clients and prospects, some of the best personal questions you can ask are career-related.
Both parties can relate to aspects of most careers, like striving for promotions or the daily grind. So, when you speak with your client, listen closely to what they say. Do not fill in the gaps with yes or no questions, either.
Instead, don't be afraid to ask what the client did before their current job. It's likely that they will be more than willing to tell you about their past work history or whether they got promoted to a higher position.
The career questions will naturally progress. You might even find that they are in a new position, and are nervous about the challenges ahead. That is your chance to offer some friendly advice.
2. "I Read Your Blog Post on X. What Do You Think About It?"
Mentioning that you read a blog post on someone's company page will show that you took the time to research your client's company. It will mean something to the client that you are willing to sit down and spend valuable time reading about their company.
Most people will appreciate the effort, and it will reflect well on you. Additionally, asking this question is a great way to bring up a topic that you know for a fact they are interested in. That way, you can keep the conversation going.
3. "I See You Live in X City. How Do You Like It?"
Outside of career-related questions, another great way to build rapport is to bring up is their hometown or current place of residence.
Go ahead and ask what time of the year is the client's favorite, and when it is best to visit. You can count on them having sufficient knowledge of their area. This is a topic that they are almost guaranteed to be comfortable and confident discussing, which will lead to a natural progression of the conversation.
Be sure to listen for something that you are not familiar with regarding their area. That could be a local custom or something that annoys the person, like an obscene amount of traffic. That is excellent fuel that you can use to keep the conversation going. And if you bring it up during any future conversations, they will feel cared for knowing you truly were listening.
4. "What Is Your Commute Like?"
This question could be a follow-up to the previous one about where they live. Go ahead and inquire about their daily commute, especially if they live in an urban area. Of course, don't ask them this if they work remotely though!
For instance, if your client lives in New York, there is a chance they take multiple trains or busses to get to work every morning. Or, maybe they live in an area with a high volume of traffic. A client with a difficult commute will share all of the trials they go through to make it to their office on time.
5. "If I Visited Your City, What Would You Recommend Doing?"
Show interest in visiting a person's city, especially if they seem proud to live there. Ask about what stores they like, or whether there are any sightseeing attractions. The client knows their city inside and out, so they will likely give you some tips about their top favorite things to do around town.
6. "How Has the Pandemic Affected Your Business?"
There isn't a single business that the COVID-19 pandemic did not affect. That is even more true for small businesses. Topics about the virus pop up naturally these days.
So, you can inquire about how the pandemic impacted the person's business. If you feel comfortable enough, you can even talk about how the virus affected you or your family.
That may prompt the person to speak further about their trials during 2020. The pandemic has given us all something in common, and many people like to share how they handled such uncertainty.
7. "I See You Went to X College. Did You Like It?"
Everyone likes to reminisce over their college years. Those are some of the most fun and memorable times of a person's life. Before hopping on a client call, do a little research to see where they went to school. Checking their LinkedIn profile will likely suffice.
That way, you can add it to your conversation. Again, this will impress the client and give them a chance to talk about their college pride and memories.
8. "My Family Member Wants to Be an X. Do You Have Any Advice?"
Here is a question you won't be able to use often. But when the chance arises, don't be afraid to take it. If you have a client that works in the same profession as someone else you know, you can ask them for advice.
You might have a child or other family member interested in an equivalent career path. Tell the client that, and then ask them if they have any advice about what classes or internships to take.
9. "What Sports Do You Like?"
Sometimes, you don't have to know anything about one another except for your favorite sports teams. Ask the client about their favorite players or whether they attend any games. It is even better if you both support the same sports team.
10. "What Are Your Weekend Plans?"
Sometimes, a client isn't very talkative. That can lead to a dry and awkward conversation. When in doubt, you can always ask about their weekend plans.
Are they going to dinner? Are they staying at home? With any luck, the client will tell you something interesting that will help you to spark up a discussion.
Build Rapport With Your Sales Prospects
It may seem like a difficult task to speak naturally with a client about their hometown or profession. Rapport-building is a skill that takes time, but it's well-worth the effort. Building relationships is just as, if not more, important to closing deals as the quality of the products you're selling.
Rapport building is just one piece of a sales prospecting strategy, however. For a complete guide on how to build lasting relationships with prospects and close more deals, check out our free eBook, The Complete Guide to Sales Prospecting. Click the link below to download.