How to Build Rapport and Trust with Prospects


In today’s increasingly competitive landscape, there’s one essential ingredient that will always define successful companies: trust. People aren’t interested in being sold products and services. They’re interested in making connections with companies they can trust to help them solve problems and alleviate pain points in their lives. In the digital age that is the 21st century, it’s even more important to build rapport and trust with prospects to encourage their continuation through the sales funnel. 

Of course, this is one of those things that’s often easier said than done. For starters, a customer-focused mentality is essential. If your team doesn’t have that, it’s time to train them on it. And when you hire new reps moving forward, you’ll want to make sure they have a customer-first mentality. 

What’s the difference between rapport and trust?

Too often, businesses get confused by the words used, and that prevents them from successfully implementing strategies for cultivating good relationships. Trust is pretty straightforward—it’s how much people believe in your company and its ability to provide products or services that they need or want. It’s knowing they can count on you to deliver not just something they can buy, but also helpful resources and insights that empower them to make smarter decisions. 

Rapport is similar, but it’s more about creating a shared connection. Shared experiences make people feel more connected to others. In sales, when prospects feel more connected, they’re more likely to continue on in the buying journey. Rapport is more about the interaction between the prospect and the sales rep—that chemistry that fuels interpersonal relationships is essential. 

Provide value 

The very first thing that you need to do if you want to build trust and gain people’s business is to offer value in every way that you can. Yes, you’ve got a product or service to sell and that should be packed with value, too, but it’s more than that. Value can mean having a blog filled with relevant posts and resources. Perhaps you have an eBook that you give to new visitors that sign up for your email list. The more value you can provide, the more likely you will be to gain the trust of your prospects. 

Listen more than you talk 

One of the biggest reasons that sales reps struggle to form connections is that they’re too busy talking to take the time to listen to the prospects. Yes, you have things to say, but the best thing that you can do is to listen, carefully and actively, and then respond accordingly. People who feel heard and valued will be more likely to convert than those who feel like they’re just being pitched the same sales script that everyone gets. 

If your sales reps are struggling with this, consider some upskilling and development with active listening. You can even do practice sessions and let your sales reps work together to improve their skills. 

Understand their pain points 

People are coming to you because they are seeking a solution to a specific problem or pain point. Even if you know you have the best solution, you need to make it clear that you understand the pain points that have been brought up. This goes back to listening, to a certain degree. You can’t know what people need if you don’t give them the time to tell you. 

Your prospects may not be able to articulate a solution quite yet, but they will be able to tell you what issues they’re having or what they are trying to accomplish in their search. That will allow you to show them how your company can be the solution they need. 

Help for the sake of helping 

The last thing people want is someone who’s only going to help if it benefits them in some way. You need to have a reputation for being available to help and provide a source of authority within your industry, even for prospects or people who aren’t going to convert (now or ever). Part of building trust is proving that you have something to offer and that you’re not just in it for the profits. Show this by helping when you can, and giving people support without expecting anything in return. 

Create personal, emotional connections 

You’re not going to form a best friend-like bond with every prospect that you encounter. However, you will need to be able to connect with them on a personal level if you’re going to build that trust and rapport. People want to know that you’re more than just a business trying to sell something. They want to feel like they’re working with companies that care about them and that can relate to their needs. 

You don’t have to get to know their kids and pets on a first-name basis or learn their life stories. However, you do need to figure out how to connect with them for a more personal relationship. You also need to train your sales reps on how to build these connections. For example, if you’re selling car insurance to a fellow parent, you might commiserate on the struggle of raising teens and teaching them to drive. 

100% transparency and honesty

Finally, a very simple and essential element for any business that wants to build trust and rapport: no matter what, never:

  • Lie
  • Withhold information
  • Charge hidden fees
  • Slander the competition in an attempt to gain admirers

While you’re building relationships, who’s fielding the leads?

Taking care of your prospects is your priority. However, you can’t possibly do it all on your own. With the help of the virtual receptionists at, you can ensure that you’ll never miss a lead, thanks to our 24/7 answering service. Plus, we can also help with lead intake and appointment scheduling, freeing up your time and resources even further. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to

Business Education
Lead Generation
Written by Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing Manager with He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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