4 Key Steps To Building Trust, Respect, & Rapport

Anytime you are communicating with other people, your ability to create trust, respect, and rapport quickly is going to be the key to your success.  Now building trust, respect, and rapport is all about establishing a relationship with the person or people you are speaking with. Whether you are in a one-on-one sales conversation or speaking to a small group or a large group, it is going to require the same basic techniques. There could be a wall between you and that other person/s so it is your job to remove that wall.

Here is an acronym, WALL to help you remember this strategy.

W – Watch

If you are speaking with a group of people,  you will need to determine who the leader of the group is, who the centre of influence is, who the socializer is, who likes to have fun, and who the analyzer is.

You need to be very observant of the people with whom you are communicating as well as their surroundings and who they are with. That is going to give you your first indications of how you may want to open a discussion with you. If you are speaking with a group of people,  you will need to determine who the leader of the group is, who the centre of influence is, who the socializer is, who likes to have fun, and who the analyzer is. How you approach each of those people is going to need to be different. If you are meeting with a prospect or a client in their home, be observant, look around the home. Look for clues, conversation starters, things that might create some common ground between you and them. If they are coming into your office, try to observe what they are seeking. What are they looking at? What are they paying special attention to?

A – Ask

Based on your observations, when you first interact with that person, you then can move into the Ask. Asking questions is the single best way to establish trust and rapport. By asking questions that show a genuine interest in what they want, what they need, and what their interests are, you will encourage them to slowly start opening up and trusting that you have their best interests in mind.

Examples of questions you could ask:

  • What is the biggest challenge you face in your business?
  • What brought you to our office/shop today?
  • What type of product or service are you looking for?
  • What other types of products have you tried?
  • Whose services do you currently use?
  • What else do you think would be beneficial to your business?

Asking something that is non-threatening and definitely not pushy is the best way to start. While you are asking questions, always be watching for any cues or indicators that might help guide you to your next step.

L – Listen

Active listening is your most valuable tool for establishing the trust, respect, and rapport that will help you to be successful with this person/s.   When you really listen to what people are saying and show them that you truly focused on their conversation, they will feel appreciated. So many sales and marketing professionals ask all the right questions, but they don’t really listen to the answers.  When that happens you can miss the clues that can guide you to a successful sale completion. In addition, the very best questions to ask are open-ended as they will provide you with more insight into what matters or concerns this person.  One word answers can be specific, however, learning what they think or how they feel will provide you with much more information about their needs and wants.  When you combine your listening skills with your observation skills, you are going to be much better able to determine if the questions you are asking are moving you toward building that very important rapport.

L – Learn

Learning how to build rapport is about trying different approaches, watching the reactions, and listening to the answers.  When you observe the end result it will provide you with the knowledge that you may have to try another approach when you next meet with this person. There is no one right way to build great rapport with others, however, everyone who is in sales, marketing, and speaking can agree, it is something you absolutely must do. So by learning what works for you and learning what works with your audience, your customers, and your clients, you will become much more effective.

  • So Watch for clues.
  • Ask powerful questions.
  • Listen actively to the answers that they are giving you.
  • And Learn from every single interaction.

If you become a student of building trust, respect, and rapport, then over time you will see your success rate greatly increase. In addition, you are going to see your ability to generate those feelings much more quickly which will enhance your sales and outcomes exponentially.


Sandy Chernoff
Sandy Chernoff
SANDY'S 30 years of didactic and clinical teaching in study clubs and continuing dental education, coupled with her almost 40 years of Dental Hygiene practice bring a wealth of experience to her interactive soft skills workshops. With her education background she easily customizes interactive sessions to suit the specific needs of her clients. Her energetic and humorous presentation style has entertained and informed audiences from Victoria to New York City. Sandy’s client list includes law firms, teaching institutions, volunteer and professional organizations and conferences, businesses, and individuals. Her newest project is turning her live workshops into e-learning programs using an LMS platform. Her teaching and education background have helped her to produce meaningful and somewhat interactive courses for the learners wanting the convenience of e-learning options. As the author of 5 Secrets to Effective Communication, Sandy has demonstrated her ability to demystify the complexities of communication so that the reader can learn better strategies and approaches which will greatly improve their communication skills and ultimately reduce conflict, resentment, disappointment, complaining, and confusion. As a result, the reader will be able to increase productivity, efficiency and creativity, improve all the relationships in their lives and ultimately enjoy a happier, healthier existence! Sandy blogs regularly on her two websites on the various soft skills topics that are featured in her workshops and e-learning programs.

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