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When it comes to client relationships, you can boil them down to one harsh truth – if a client isn’t a fan of you, forget about closing the sale. Luckily, with each new client, you have the opportunity to construct a meaningful rapport with them. Building meaningful business relationships requires practice and experience before you can become very skilled at it. For those of you having a hard time with cultivating rapport – this post is for you.

Be genuine

The first rule to follow when cultivating client rapport centers around your commitment to being genuine. Potential customers can sniff out a fraud a mile away, so drop the cheesy salesman act and be yourself. Customers will know the difference between talking to the real you and a persona you’ve built up specifically to sell them something. Not to mention, it’s easier for them to trust you when they know the real you.

Asses company environment

Before walking into any sales meeting, gather some insight about the company’s environment and culture. It’s imperative to always be yourself, but your approach does need to change with the company and situation. Let’s put this into perspective. Think about the way you carry yourself around friends and family compared to a professional setting. Both scenarios come with a set behavior expectation that would feel out of place if applied to the wrong one. The same goes for meeting with clients.

Make adjustments accordingly

In both examples given above, you’re being true to yourself, but simply adjusting to what’s acceptable behavior for the situation at hand. The same principles apply when meeting with various clients. You’ll walk into meetings that require a traditional business approach and others that are much more laid back. Understanding how to dial into what’s appropriate for any given environment puts you on the same page as your client and kicks things off in the right direction.

Don’t try too hard

If you want a client to like you, avoid being a tryhard. Going over the top for the sake of being liked will always have an adverse effect. The reason being, it’s easy to spot someone who desperately wants to be liked compared to someone being themselves. Trying too hard will leave you looking desperate and needy in the eyes of you client. Be confident and pay close attention to how much more receptive your clients will act towards you.

Make a connection

Lastly, make it a point to share a meaningful connection with new clients. The connection established in this first meeting will be the glue holding your relationship together from here on out. During the initial meeting with a new client, search for common ground on both business and personal levels.

This will be important for two reasons. The first reason pertains to the personal connection. It’s impossible to get to know someone if the only thing you discuss is business. In understanding each other on a personal level, you continue to form a stronger relationship. The other reason flips to the business side of things. With your connection to their business and business philosophy, you’ll continually grow a deeper understanding of their needs. This type of insight positions you to offer relevant products or services. Without it, you waste their time and yours by throwing everything at them with the hopes of something sticking.
Investing the time and care into building a solid rapport with your clients will always be beneficial. Your hard work will also set your client up to think of you as more of a business partner than a salesman. This is a position you want to strive for with each and every client. The best professional relationships work towards the client’s goals while simultaneously working on yours.