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Building rapport activities are about developing mutual trust, friendship and affinity with someone. While in a face-to-face meeting, you might look at your appearance, find common ground on issues, or be empathetic to the person of interest. In the world of sales, building rapport with customers translates into good pre-sales research, shows Gabe Larsen, Director of InsideSales.com Labs.

He discusses three steps to building trust and creating a connection with customers in the Playmakers podcast, “You Suck at Building Rapport: 3 Steps to Build Trust in Minutes.

Building Rapport with Customers in the Post Cold-Call Era

Building rapport in an era when the cold call is dead takes time, shows Gabe Larsen. Sales representatives need to spend the time to research their leads. Research helps them avoid reaching the wrong people or to make sure they can form a connection to the right people.



There are many behaviors of trust that one can display in order to build rapport – acting with integrity, showing respect, being kind, listening and being responsive among them. For sales reps, trying to understand prospects before contacting them can be a trust factor.

“Cold calling is dead. You can’t reach out to people cold, or just start a conversation not knowing anything about a prospect. […] Have you ever received a connection request via LinkedIn that’s blank from someone that you didn’t know? It is one of the worst practices in social selling, and it is kind of awkward,” shows Gabe Larsen, during the podcast.

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Step 1: Lead Research in Your CRM

Rapport research should focus on either the company or the contact that you’re reaching out to, shows Gabe. You can go to many places to find reliable information about a prospect, but it is often easier to start with your own Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

“If you find sufficient rapport building statements [in the CRM], you end your research and begin prospecting. If not, then you move to the next step. After CRM you should go immediately to social platforms such as LinkedIn. You will have, and probably should not spend more than three minutes there and hit a variety of information points. […] If you’re able to gather, give the necessary rapport statements, you end your research and begin prospecting,” said the Labs Director.

Step 2: Sales Intelligence Applications

Companies that offer sales intelligence services are a great second source of information for a sales organization. They often have up-to-date information about companies and can also offer little-known gems like acquisitions or size and revenue data.

After social platforms you should go to key intelligence apps that work for your particular business and review those. That is going to be maybe a Charlie App or an Owler or a lot of them out there, GlassDoor. […] You shouldn’t spend more than just a couple minutes there and hit some key items,” says Gabe Larsen.

Step 3: Go Directly to the Source

The third and final step of the pre-research or building rapport should be checking with the source’s web properties. Company websites, personal websites for professionals, or other sources might help in your research process.

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“After intelligence apps, you usually where navigate to the company’s website. A lot of people like to hit this thing first, but I don’t feel like it’s as advantageous as going other places, so I usually hit this on the back side. There you will learn more about what the company does and how they do it, and I wouldn’t spend more than just a couple minutes there,” concludes Gabe Larsen.

Writing Up Your Rapport… Report

To conclude your research before the prospecting call, you should review your sources, organize the information and add it into your CRM database. Having all your info written will save you from having to work again on the same lead.

“You only want to do this exercise one time per prospect, so it’s important that you get it into your CRM so you can review the next time you reach out. Okay. With your statements captured, you’re ready to begin prospecting. The key is you’ve got to use those report statements in one of many or multiple communication channels that get your foot in the door and really ignite that conversation,” said Gabe Larsen.

To hear the entire podcast with Gabe Larsen, click here.