How to Build Trust and Rapport in New Business Relationships

When Brendan Kane scheduled a Fox Business interview, he never planned to bag a presidential candidate.


Kane, a social media influencer strategist, thought his Kennedy show interview was simply another media spot. Until he landed in the green room with Democratic presidential candidate John Delaney. Kane later admitted he didn’t even know who Delaney was – he just wanted to have a good conversation. But as they visited about their lives and interests, Delaney was quickly drawn to Kane’s magnetic, genuine personality.


One warm conversation bloomed into a partnership. Before the day was over, Delaney asked Kane to help him with his political social media campaign.


Sell Yourself, Then Sell Your Products


Do you want to create a rapport that quickly builds trust with others?


This starts with meeting people organically and connecting with them authentically. Brendan Kane never tried to sell John Delaney anything; he just took an interest in his life and story. It was Delaney who eventually pitched himself to Kane!


Great business relationships start with rich personal interactions, including conversations that flow from an authentic, nonthreatening place. Are you looking to sell yourself so you can then sell your brand or product? Here are three tips to get you started:


1. Offer non-judgmental validation


People feel heard and valued when you seek their opinions and input without judging them.


Seek the other person’s opinions and thoughts without jumping to conclusions. While you don’t have to agree with what they say, adopting an attitude of acceptance means respecting a person’s feelings or values as valid, even if they are different from your own.


If this is difficult for you, taking time to imagine yourself in the other person’s place can help you be more open and empathetic.


2. Listen with your full presence


Do you ever talk to someone who seems distracted? Even as this person listens, you can see a thousand thoughts racing through his head, as if he can’t wait to cut in and speak his mind.


One of the best gifts you can give someone is your full presence and attention – to truly listen. Beneath all the swagger or struggles, everyone has a story to tell. People are longing to be seen and heard, and when you ask questions and actually hear the answers, you’ll be amazed how quickly connections are built.


3. Establish a time constraint early in the conversation


Have you ever been sitting in an airport or your office chair when someone unexpectedly approaches you to start a conversation?


This scenario can be unsettling for many people because no one wants to feel trapped in an awkward, unplanned discussion (especially with someone they don’t fully trust). To quickly set an associate at ease, preview the end of a conversation before it starts.


Say something like, “I’d like to visit with you about ____, can I grab 10 minutes of your time?” or, “I’m on my way out, but before I left, I wanted to ask you _______.”


Enlarge Your Influence


Building rapport is critical for nurturing strong relationships and amplifying your influence on others.


When you build relational bridges, you will engage people on a human level, foster transparency, and fuel a culture of innovation, loyalty, and collaboration.

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