How to Build Rapport in Emails and Texts
Hi! I’m Sherri Wilson, a strategist, educator, and introverted entrepreneur. I love entrepreneurs and I love helping you, my introverted friends, build a life and business true to who you are.
Today I want to discuss how to build and keep rapport in emails and texts. Now this can be tricky but both platforms remove 93% of communication—body language. Your client can’t see your facial expressions, stance, and gestures or hear your vocal tone, which is why there’s so much misunderstanding in emails and texts.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
I’d say the first rule of thumb is: IF AT ALL POSSIBLE CALL ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S A TOUCHY SUBJECT OR HAS POTENTIAL CONFLICT INVOLVED.
The second rule of thumb is: DON’T EMAIL WHEN ANGRY.
Two things your clients are looking for in your emails are TRUST and RELEVANCE. Don’t waste your clients’ time! Email is a necessary evil. It’s a love/hate relationship. You look forward to awesome emails from those you care to hear from but can feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of email too!
Ok, here’s how:
Match your customer’s writing style. This is similar to mirroring in body language for rapport. It’s something we do naturally in conversation but, again, there’s no body language in email and text. So you can match their style. Informal. Formal. Detailed. Not detailed. Short paragraphs. Long paragraphs. In fact, their writing style will give you clues to their personality. Long and detailed is probably a C. Short and to the point a D. Very friendly with tons of exclamation points and emojis is an I. And S will probably be more reserved but friendly.
Use positive language. Here are 25 top positive words for customer service:
Check spelling and grammar. Believe it or not, some people view misspelling and grammar mistakes as a sign of your character! Lol! But for most it communicates a lack of care, attention to detail, and can irritate them. I.e. if you don’t care enough to check spelling and grammar, how will you care about their needs?
Be personal! Use emotion, empathy, and some appropriate personal details. One of my favorite rapport building tools is the law of humor. Of course, it must be appropriate and relevant humor not some off the wall weirdo humor. Don’t use scripted responses or sound too business- like—like you’re a robot. Engage. If your customer lets you know they will be on vacation next week and then you resume correspondence, ask how their vacation was or express that you hope it was wonderful for them. And use emojis in texts. I know it can seem childish but they do trigger happiness and fun in the brain.
Mirror greeting and signature. One of my fave signatures is “Kind regards.” I love that one. It expresses warmth and my regard for them as my client. If you can have a picture in your signature, I highly recommend that. The more people see your face, the more they like you.
Keep commitments. If you say you’ll respond by a date and time, do it. If you can’t and need more time or get caught in a meeting, shoot a quick message and let them know. Don’t leave people hanging. Again, it communicates carelessness and lack of concern.
Acknowledge positive things they’ve done like, “Thank you for taking time out of your valuable day to meet with me.” Or “thanks for calling today. It was kind of you to clarify this with me personally.” Or “I’m so happy to hear this good news from you. You’ve worked really hard on this and I appreciate it!”
Don’t waste their time. Don’t send frivolous emails. And if you know something is complicated, then call instead. Nothing is worse than 500 emails and texts that constantly interrupt workflow over something that could be discussed and dealt with in 5 minutes on the phone.
Use video. I highly recommend 60-90 second videos with tips, valuable info, etc. of you. Then put the manuscript before for those who prefer to read. Again, the more people see your face, the more they like you.
And, finally, SMILE AS YOU TYPE. Seriously. It’s hard to be mad, irritated, or sound too impersonal smiling. When you smile, you’re releasing endorphins, a happy hormone. Have you ever called customer service or someone and you know they’re not smiling as they chat with you? It’s the same idea.
Really all of these tips can apply just as well to phone conversations. But it’s especially important in text because the usual cues your client uses to base conclusions on what you say and how you’re saying it are missing.
Well, that’s it. One of my blog posts I highly, highly recommend to compliment this training is “The Power of Words.” Even if you don’t want to listen or read the entire blog, watch the video on that page! It’s short and makes the point better than I can. Go to sherriannewilson.com. Sherri with an “I” and Anne with an “e.” Until next time, build the business and life you love true to who you are.