By Dale Isip

If you want to succeed at building relationships with co-workers, managers, or clients, you might want to learn how to build rapport with them. Since around 80 percent of jobs are secured through personal connections, and since 40 percent of closures in sales come from networking, building rapport with customers and colleagues alike is a valuable skill.

Developing such relationships, however, takes more than engaging in generalized small talk (although the latter can be an important skill as well). To truly build rapport with others, especially clients, you will need to be a little more specific. The following is a guide on how to build rapport with co-workers and clients, to build better professional relationships.

Person To Person

You should view building rapport as an opportunity to make genuine connections with others. Making these connections on a human level is incredibly important – even if your ambitions on a professional level are not realized, you will at least have built a strong relationship on trust and respect. From this, numerous possibilities can arise from such interactions – as seen in the strength of networking.

That said, there are better ways to make person-to-person interactions than others. For example, if you are speaking to a client, you might do well to ask how the weather is where they live, or how their week has been at work. A better way to build rapport, however, may be to personalize your interactions with your client through a lens of relatability.

If your client lives in Seattle, for example, you might be able to relate to them through a trip you took there, or possibly through their favorite sports teams. You could ask them about their experiences in the city and what they think are the best places to visit. Whatever you do, make sure you ask them with genuine interest and curiosity. Try to see them as someone with experiences you have never had, but ones you would truly like to know more about.

An Open Mind

When building rapport, it is important keep an open mind. You should strive to listen quite a lot more than you would usually speak. Then, you can comment on what the other person is saying in bits and pieces from your understanding of the information they are trying to convey. This requires being open to ideas and messages you may not know about or even agree with.

The more you take a detached approach to these interactions, however, the more you will learn about the other person. If this is a client, you will learn their likes and dislikes. You will be able to get a nonjudgmental view from their perspective. In addition to this, you might be able to serve them better knowing that (within reason) the customer is always right.

By being specific about other people and engaging in active listening, you will be able to better build rapport with others. This will help you improve customer service, network, and build dependable business relationships.