9 Questions to Build Rapport with Your Sales Prospects

Monika Jahnavi

By 

Monika Jahnavi

Published 

May 5, 2022

9 Questions to Build Rapport with Your Sales Prospects

Table of Content

Did you ever find yourself typing questions like ‘How do I become a successful salesperson?’ or ‘How do I go from being an average sales guy to an overachieving one?’ If so, we’ve got you covered. While answers to these questions is a blog for another day, here we are going to talk about one important skill that will help you start your journey of becoming a good rep. Wondering what it is?

It is a tried-and-tested craft that successful salespeople swear by: the art of building rapport with clients! Building rapport in sales constitutes the backbone of the salesperson-prospect relationship. It is a skill that will help you excel at sales, refine your negotiation skills and transform those daunting cold calls and emails into profitable conversions.

And the best way to establish this relationship is through simple rapport-building questions.

So, what are rapport-building questions?

Rapport-building questions are the ones that help you connect with your prospective clients instantly. There are three types of rapport-building questions in sales: open-ended, hypothetical, and two-way communication queries.

Open-ended questions directed to the prospect allow them to openly discuss their interests and concerns. While two-way communication entails a back-and-forth conversation with both parties narrating their opinion or experiences.

This communication form fosters a solid relationship with the customer. Hypothetical questions on the other hand widen the scope of the conversation and deepen your understanding of the prospect’s current service provider or situation.

Rapport-building questions help the conversation flow freely, creating a genuine interaction between the two of you. Including them as part of your pitch aids in warming up the prospects ensuring a positive outcome of the sales call.

Moreover, you come across as a trustworthy partner with their best interest in mind. LinkedIn found that 89% of buyers consider the salespeople they prefer to do business with to be their trusted advisors.

You can meet your quota and succeed as a salesperson if you prioritize your prospect and aim to foster a genuine relationship with them. It also improves their perception of you and your brand or company, promoting current and future closes. Data shows that 80% of customers would purchase from a company again if they had a positive previous buying experience.

Nine rapport-building questions to ace the next sales pitch

Well-structured rapport-building questions spark a genuine interaction between both parties. These queries have key elements: personalization, professionalism, and authenticity. Personalization implies the inclusion of a personal touch in the conversation, like referencing their blog, LinkedIn post, or location in questions.

Here we bring you 9 examples you can use during your next sales pitch:

1. I saw your latest blog post on Topic A. What do you think about Situation X?

Reference the prospect’s blog or an article in which they were mentioned to add a personal touch. Moreover, ask the client’s opinion on a related matter relevant to your product. This question implies genuine interest and employs flattery, causing the prospect to open up.

2. You’re an alumnus of College A. I know someone who went to that school. What was your experience there?

Most people share their educational background on social media and enjoy discussing their experiences. You can also ask about their education during the call. Such a question may go like this: you’re an expert businessman; where did you learn these skills?

These questions rely on the psychological theory that people like to talk about themselves. You can make others feel good if you show interest in their lives. As Zig Ziglar said, selling is essentially a transfer of feelings.

3. Where were you before you started working at Company K?

When building rapport in sales, it is essential to find any common factors between you and the prospect. A company you used to work for may have previously employed the prospect. Leverage this information to establish a connection and center the conversation on the prospect.

4. You were recently promoted to manager at Corporation A. How’s the experience been so far?

Recently promoted officials may encounter new challenges related to their industry. This rapport-building question allows the prospect to express their concerns. Expert salespeople understand that customers want solutions, as 62% of buyers will meet salespeople when they are actively looking for a solution to a problem.

Therefore, salespersons communicate how their product or service resolves a problem. As renowned businessman Richard Branson stated, sell the problem you solve, not the product you offer.

5. If there were a product that could solve all your problems, what would it look like?

Hypothetical questions enable prospects to divulge their pain points and highlight their current solution's shortfalls. You can use this query to qualify a prospect’s chances of conversion, access their needs gap, and build a rapport with clients.

6. You’ve mentioned having challenges with situation X. What do you hope to accomplish?

Showing interest in the organization’s pain points fosters a genuine relationship with the prospect. Furthermore, this is your opportunity to act as an advisor or consultant on behalf of the client’s best interest. You can subtly pitch how your product is designed to solve their challenges.

7. Your LinkedIn posts feature many pictures of you volunteering at Institution Y. How did you encounter them?

Most people would be caught off-guard by a question concerning their volunteer work. They would also appreciate your attention to detail and find the conversation interesting.

8. The managers I’ve spoken to in the H industry mention [a detail about the job position]. Would you agree with this account?

This inquiry seeks to build rapport with the client while uncovering any problems they face in their businesses. Salespersons use this information to scrutinize the best strategies for lead nurturing. According to Forrester Research, rapport building in sales facilitates accurate lead nurturing that generates 50% more sales.

9. You’re bilingual. I also speak language B. Do you use this language in your official interactions?

Interactive questions increase the salesperson’s credibility and enrich the salesperson-prospect relationship.

Benefits of building rapport.

Having seen what rapport building in sales is and some examples to help you in your next sales pitch, it's time to go through some benefits that cultivating a relationship with your target audience can have on your career.

1. Lead acquisition

Building rapport in sales attracts prospects to your company and nurtures their interest in the business's products or services. These prospects can easily be converted into leads and form a part of the customer base.

2. Brand reputation

Questions geared towards building rapport are vital for improving customer experience. Good customer service boosts the brand’s reputation and enhances customer loyalty.

3. Customer relationship management

CRM encompasses all the strategies companies utilize to attract and retain their target audience, converting them to leads. 79% of salespersons must employ customer relationship management in their sales prospecting strategy. Rapport building during sales calls is a crucial part of CRM as it may be the first touchpoint a prospect has with the company.

4. Brand loyalty

Building rapport with clients amplifies their emotional bond with the company. Fostering a relationship with a prospect increases their consistent purchase of the brand’s products. So much so that 65% of a company’s sales are generated from existing customers.

5. Exquisite customer service

A Salesforce study discovered that customer service was a predominant factor in 57% of customers’ purchasing decisions. Creating a meaningful relationship with prospects by including rapport-building questions in the conversations refines customer service.

A Parting Note

A Harvard Business Review study found that more than 50% of customer loyalty depends on the sales experience. You can refine your customer’s experiences by signing up with us or even requesting a demo of our services. We employ modern techniques to revamp your business sales engagement for guaranteed success. Our multi-channel approach in sales automation ensures greater lead generation and revenue increase. Get started today!

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