Relationships and the Legs They Stand On

One of the best aspects of a sales career is the number of people you meet and the relationships you can develop along the way. “Can” being the key word. You will meet a lot of people, but establishing and developing a relationship takes work. Relationships in general, take work. Be it family, friends, business or any relationship in between; you will need to put in an effort.

This post is the first in a series of four; identifying what I believe to be the foundation of any strong relationship.

The first attribute: Rapport

Rapport is simply our ability to relate to one another. Often rapport is established by sharing common interests, experiences or opinions. To me, this is probably the most simplistic “leg” supporting our relationship “table”.

Connect with those around you; be interested and ask questions to people you meet; be engaged and responsive. These are all traits we have been practicing since we were too young to even know what we are doing. My two-year old daughter builds rapport without uttering a word (although she often will not stop talking). She will show off a toy of her’s, wildly wave her hand, scare (or “boo”) you, and offer random hugs (something we’ve got to work on for later in life). Establishing a connection with those around us is a basic function of human beings.

A key to any relationship is building rapport, genuinely building rapport. I urge everyone I work with that if you don’t have something in common, please don’t pretend to. Be honest, and share your thoughts. Rapport can be gained in a healthy conversation: as long as it is genuine.

“Rapport? You mean like, ‘You run as fast as you can, and I’ll throw it as far as I can’?” – Jeff Kemp, when asked about his rapport with receiver Jerry Rice.

6 thoughts on “Relationships and the Legs They Stand On

  1. Hey Chris, I like that you mentioned not to pretend to have something in common if you don’t. Rapport and relationships are built on trust and pretending ruins the foundation of trust. It may also stop further questions / exploration that could lead to finding out something in common.

    • Good morning Laurie. I once had a manager who instructed reps to “Look around a prospects office and find something you can talk about. Even if you don’t care, fake it.” Yikes!!

      Thanks for your comment!

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