Building Rapport for Better Business

Scott Mills, Ph.D.

building rapport for better business

Most of my clients hate selling. Marketing is something that they wish they never had to do. And networking is something they do but don’t really know if they are getting anything out of. When I want to teach them to make all of these activities much easier, we start with rapport.

What is rapport?


So what do I mean when I say “rapport?” I mean being able to understand the person you are talking to and allowing them to have the experience of really being understood. Sometimes we refer to this as getting on their map.


If you’ve ever met someone that you feel like you’ve known forever, you have a sense of what it means to be in deep rapport. We develop this with our friends. Perhaps we are even attracted to them because of it. But we can also speed up the process so that people have a deep sense of being heard and seen. The bonus is that then they tell us what they really need so we can find ways to help them.


Developing rapport skills is about communicating better


Just a note, sometimes people tell me that doing things intentionally to build rapport is manipulative. That’s just silly. We are always learning how to better communicate with people. We start when we are infants and continue to develop these skills. Our goal in having greater rapport is always to connect not to manipulate.


What this means in selling, marketing and networking is that all of these can be much more fun! Let’s take a quick look…


Better Rapport Makes for More Fun “Selling”…


In selling, we can realize that our only goal is to figure out if we are actually a good match for the need the person has. Pushing people in sales is just plain dumb. But when you understand what’s going on in their world and what they truly need, you can assist them making a decision that fit’s them best. That might mean referring them to other people or services.


Better Rapport Brings Clients to You…


In marketing, we want to be able to use the language and the images that the clients who most need us can really see themselves in. If you were coaching people on how to raise dogs and the only images you had on your website was of cats, it wouldn’t really reflect what they are looking for. People are doing this all the time in their language, actions and marketing materials. So when we understand our potential clients we can say things in a way that let’s them know we have what they need.


Better Rapport Makes Networking More Like Making Business Friends…


Finally, in networking rapport is essential. When you go in with an agenda to tell people about yourself you are only shooting yourself in the foot. Enter any networking event with the intention to learn more about other people. Be curious about them. Use their language so they will feel heard and seen. I guarantee that will be a better introduction to you than anything you tell them about yourself!


In the next three articles, I’ll break down some of the best things that you can do to build rapport easily and naturally. None of this is rocket science. In fact, you’ll probably find out that it’s really fun! And if you practice the skills with your friends and loved ones you might find that life gets a lot easier!


Scott Mills, Ph.D. brings science, spirituality and psychology to supporting business owners and executives in creating the businesses (and lives) that they have been longing for. For more information, please check out his website at

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