Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Building Rapport

Using small gestures to help build rapport with your clients.

The rapport you and your company has with clients is central to the overall success of your business.  People rarely conduct business with companies they dislike and it's easy for competitors to steal customers away when rapport is weak.  These realities underscore the importance of utilizing every opportunity possible to continually develop strong relationships with each and every one of your company's patrons.

As a business professional, it's often easy to think your clients only appreciate big gestures.  Maybe it's helping them reach an important deadline or finding a solution to a major problem.  Of course being the hero is a great way to build rapport and reinforce their choice to work with your company.  Often what gets missed, though, are the small gestures for strengthening the relationship.  It is in these small gestures where a huge opportunity can be found.

Small gestures can often have as profound of an impact as the big ones.  Sending a follow-up email message after a client meeting to summarize the key points of your get together goes a long way to demonstrate you understand their perspective.  This helps affirm that you care enough to pay close attention to his or her needs and goes a long way to fortify your relationship.

Another small but effective way to build rapport is with greeting cards.  A hand-written thank you card is a nice touch and goes above and beyond normal business practices.  Birthday and anniversary cards are also great to help convey you care.  The holiday season provides another good opportunity to strengthen your bond.  Send cards to all your patrons and prospects to show your holiday spirit and wish them the best for the new year.

There are many avenues to choose from when it comes to building rapport with clients.  Of course it's vital to take advantage of the big opportunities.  Remember though, small tokens go a long way in showing your appreciation and how much you care.  Take a holistic approach to building rapport and you'll continually strengthen the foundation on which you can increase your business.

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