Whether you are starting to lead a new team or reflecting on your existing team, it is wise to understand how your rapport impacts your team’s sales success. Having a strong relationship with team members is vital to maximizing sales results. But just how do you do that?
Let’s start with what good rapport looks like: A close and reciprocal relationship in which there is common understanding, enabled by authenticity and caring. Let’s break this down to identify how best to build rapport with your team.
- Create the right environment: When you share about yourself transparently, you set the tone for authenticity. As leaders, you need to model the transparency you are looking for from your people. What are the most important things that you and your team need to achieve this year and why? Where are you most concerned? What team strengths do you believe can best be leveraged for success? If you share enough about your own thoughts and feelings, your people will feel more comfortable sharing about themselves.
- Accept their uniqueness: As leaders, you need to know each team member well, including what makes them unique. Understand what motivates them and what their goals and ambitions are—both professionally and personally. That means you need to engage them and ask questions to learn about what makes them tick. Do not leave it to them to bring it up. Ask yourself today—do I know those answers for each team member?
- Reinforce what motivates them: Identify their strengths. Salespeople get enough rejection in their role from the competitive marketplace. They need a leader that knows their potential and reinforces what makes them good in their role. To help them build on their skills and win more sales, identify the one key sales vulnerability you want them to work on and include that in your coaching conversations. This helps reinforce that you really understand them.
- Empathize: They need to know that you can relate to what they are going through and that you want them to be wildly successful. So tell them. Show them.
Doing these four simple things can build rapport and develop authentic relationships with new team members and re-energize existing relationships. A strong team has unmistakable rapport with their leader. So much so that an observer can easily see it in a meeting or note its absence. What would you want them to see in your sales team meetings?
Personal Challenge: How do you know if there is good rapport in meetings between a leader and the team? As an exercise, think about a team with great rapport and write down what you would see/hear into two columns: 1) observations of the leader 2) observations of the team. Now evaluate yourself by thinking as an observer of your own meetings. Highlight areas that you believe are missing. Focus on what you want to change. It could be that you want to add more laughter. Ask yourself how you can drive that behavior in meetings. Write down your ideas and try them out. If it doesn’t work the first time, try something different.