A Little Rapport Goes a Long Way

4 Nov

The First Customer 

As a 19-year-old male with minimal fashion knowledge, I was nervous about working in a jewelry store this past summer. When my first customer came in, she asked if Ms. Harrington, my boss, was available. I explained to the customer that my boss was not present at the time and offered my assistance in showing the customer jewelry. After half an hour of exhaustively trying to sell the woman jewelry with no success, I saw my boss walk through the door. “Ms. Harrington!” the customer exclaimed, “It’s so good to see you!” The two talked like old friends for hours, but throughout the conversation my boss had found a way to persuade the customer into buying ten different pieces of jewelry.

The Loyal Customers

At the time, I simply assumed that this was unusual, but throughout the summer I realized that almost everyone who entered the store seemed to have a good relationship with my boss. Even the stingiest of customers seemed to frivolously buy several pieces of jewelry if they could talk to my boss. I realized that the reputation that my boss had built with each of her customers made them more willing to buy from her.  Throughout time, each customer thought of her as a friend because she implemented a few simple methods to build a rapport with her customers.

Being Friendly.  I know this first method seems obvious, but it is incredibly important and sometimes overlooked. My boss would treat every first-time customer like a good friend. Customers felt much more comfortable returning to the store knowing that it had such a friendly environment. 

Building Trust.  To help customers feel more confident about her prices, my boss would urge customers to look at other local jewelry prices to compare. After comparing prices, customers began to trust our store and return with confidence that we had the lowest prices.

Getting To Know Loyal Customers. This tip can turn a return customer into a life-long customer. As clients began to feel more comfortable with my boss, they would begin to have long conversations with her, sometimes even about their personal lives.  Regardless of how much other work my boss needed to do, she would find time to chat with her customers. Through these conversations, my boss turned repeat customers into loyal friends.

Building a rapport with clients is necessary in assuring future business. Whether you work in a multi-billion dollar corporation or a small retail store, building a strong relationship with clients is an essential step for developing a successful business.

by Travis Lawrence

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One Response to “A Little Rapport Goes a Long Way”

  1. Angela Chen November 21, 2011 at 1:28 am #

    Travis,

    Thanks for such a great post! Like you said, both multi-billion dollar corporations and small retail stores need to work on making customers comfortable and happy. Additionally, I believe that treating all customers equally is as important as making one customer happy.
    For me, first impressions go a long way. There are stores by my house where salespeople will only offer you service if they think you can afford their products. I refuse to enter any of these stores who selectively pick and help “wealthy looking, well-dressed customers.” Store owners and their sales people need to build positive relationships with all customers to risk alienating potential sales and ensure loyalty in the future.

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