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3 Best Practices for Building Rapport with Market Research Focus Group Participants

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3 Best Practices for Building Rapport with Market Research Focus Group Participants

rapport with market research focus group participantsAt Communications For Research, over the years we have developed and delivered hundreds of focus groups for clients in a variety of industries, from manufacturing to retail to B2B professional services, and the list goes on.

While each focus group is unique and must be aligned with project-specific variables, there are some core principles that we rely on to meet our clients’ expectations — and one of the most important is building strong rapport with market research focus group participants. Below are three best practices that we use to maximize success: 

  • Start building rapport well before the focus group starts.  

Rapport-building does not start when market research focus group participants show up for their session. It must begin from the moment participants are contacted through email or over the phone. That is where the foundation of a trusting, transparent and collaboration relationship is laid. This effort may also include providing participants with items ahead of time (e.g. documents, videos, photos, samples, etc.) so they can become more familiar with the subject matter. Plus this helps get participants excited and invested about making a meaningful contribution to the focus group.

  • Ensure facilitators are completely prepared.  

As noted, preparing participants is certainly important — but ensuring that the facilitator is extremely well-prepared is critical. Essentially, participants can have no doubt that the facilitator is competent, capable and in charge. Importantly, this does NOT mean the facilitator must be a “control freak” — in fact, this is precisely the opposite of how they must behave! Rather, there can be no concern among participants that the facilitator is struggling to move things in the right direction. Just as airline passengers must know the pilot is ready and able to fly the plane, participants must know that the facilitator the market research focus group is a trained and skilled professional.  

  • Read, translate and act upon body language.

In a market research focus group context, body language speaks volumes — and it must be read, translated and acted upon in order to achieve successful outcomes. What’s more, body language is not just a one-way lecture; it is a two-way conversation. As such, our facilitators ethically and appropriately use tactics such as SOLER (sit squarely, open posture, lean towards, eye contact, and relax) to ensure that all participants — and not just those who are extroverted and talkative — are engaged, involved, feeling safe and valued.

Learn More

To learn more about our best practices, principles and strategies for developing and delivering successful market research focus groups — and how we can integrate them into your market research plan to translate data into business intelligence— contact the Communications For Research team today. You’ll speak with our co-CEO Colson Steber about your business goals and get advice on how to achieve them. He will be able to create a customized plan to create the best results for your company while still meeting your budget and timeline needs.

For more information on market research and how it can help marketing agencies, download our FREE eBook:

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