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The “5 C’s” of Building Rapport with a Web Lead or Call-In …

Posted by Shawn Friesen on Sep 20, 2012


Rapport:  [ra-pawr, –pohr] – a close and harmonious relationship in which the people concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well:  she had an instant rapport with prospective buyers.

Developing rapport with online or phone-based leads is a lot like building rapport in-person:  your goal is to build trust and harmony, determine needs, communicate a convincing case for your RV stock, come to a mutually beneficial agreement and ultimately turn a browser into a buyer.

Check out this example.  Here’s a real lead that came in for a real RV Dealer from one of their listings on


As you may know, whenever a consumer inquires about one of YOUR RVs on, you receive an email that looks like this. Take a look at what the consumer is asking above. Question: How would you “build rapport” and sell this lead? Feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you!

The “5 C’s” of Building Rapport:

1.  Capture (their Contact Information).

Quickly!  Get your prospect’s name and other crucial contact information into your Contact Management system (CRM or DMS).

This is huge!  No contact info, no relationship!

But, hurry!  Every second counts when a fresh lead calls in or emails you.  To compare and understand the urgency, answer this:  how long would you allow a showroom visitor to sit in your waiting room?  Speed matters. Capturing contact information matters.

2.  Connection.

This is your first encounter.  Connect.  Connection is critical.  If your prospect uses email, your reply should occur within minutes – always take the time, however, to double-check the prospect’s email to make sure you answered any and all questions.

If it’s a telephone lead, remember to ask questions.  Lots and lots of questions.  And, actually listen to their answers.  Questioning and listening and thoughtful responses are your keys to meaningful connection.

3.  Confidence.

Especially when they haven’t met you in person yet, your prospect needs to have confidence in you – and – your Dealership.

This is where you can let your in-depth product knowledge shine!

Knowledge inspires confidence.

And, don’t make the mistake of thinking YOU need to pose as “THE” ultimate guru, the enlightened one.  No.  There are great advantages to introducing the knowledge & expertise of the teammates and co-workers surrounding you.  It’s a confidence booster for all!

If the prospect is local, invite him in to see the RV you’re discussing and to meet your Dealership team over coffee.  If the prospect is distant, strike up conversation on a key topic of mutual interest:  How about the RV lifestyle and its benefits?!

4.  Credibility.

Professionalism builds credibility.  “Looks like a pro, acts like a pro, talks like a pro.”  “Hmm.  Must be a pro.”  Now THAT’S credibility.

And, another credibility factor:  If you’re rapid judging a buyer’s ability to purchase without really knowing, you’re most likely skating on pretty thin ice!  You’re risking the loss of your own credibility.  Not worth it.

Remember that since has a large number of scam detection systems in place specifically designed to protect consumers, your RV consumer inquirers (your leads) really appreciate this.  Your Dealership gains credibility because is a “safe haven” for RV consumers.  Now, build on that by sending your prospect a couple of testimonials, and links to your Social Media pages as well.

Credibility drives revenue.

5.  Collaboration.

Here’s the thing:  Every buyer wants to “feel good” about the price he’s paying for what he’s getting in his next RV.

And that’s where you, his collaborator, come in!

Leverage your collaboration and negotiation skills to HELP the prospect hurdle roadblocks.  Roadblocks like financing, monthly payments and the nitty gritty detail.

Get on your buyers’ team.  Become their collaborator.  In shining armor, if you must!

And, always be aware:  collaboration doesn’t end with the RV’s keys in the buyer’s hands.  Your Parts & Service Departments are profit centers as well.  Collaborating with your customers on Parts & Service not only develops monthly revenue, it also – drives REPEAT business.

At RVT, we are all about providing leads to RV traders.  The 5 C’s of building rapport with your prospects are here to help you grow and prosper your RV Dealership!

Quick Question for You:

What tips would you offer on the best way to handle an email that comes in saying:  “What is your lowest cash offer?  I’m buying in a week.  Not financing.  No trade in.”?  Feel free to leave a comment.  Thanks!

Author: Shawn Friesen

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