How Reading Fiction Enhances Rapport

Written by Hannah Farah

Hannah is a third year senior graduating from the University of Florida with a Bachelors in Business Administration with a Minor in Florida Teaching. She is very connected with her family and loves anything to do with the business side of all operations within corporations.

Photo by Dan Dumitriu

Reading fiction is an unheralded, but great way to expand one’s sales skills. It lets out anyone’s creative abilities, which are essential in rapport building, problem-solving, and critical thinking. While most people don’t think reading is a creative activity, it is more creative and interactive than everyone thinks. For example, my personal experience while reading fiction is just like watching a movie that I created. While reading, I view things in my own way and watch a movie in my mind. Obviously, the storyline is not created by me, but the way characters look, speak, and even their body language is up to my interpretation. 


Creativity is valuable in sales jobs, especially when building rapport with anyone you run into while cold calling. Building rapport is important in sales jobs because it makes it easier to close deals. Developing connections with strangers can be difficult, especially when you can’t even see that person. You have to use creative problem-solving and think outside of the box when building relationships in business. 

While reading and creating these kinds of interpretations, you are practicing those creative thinking skills that you can use later to build rapport. For example, instead of imagining what the characters look like from the book you are reading, you can imagine what the caller looks like based on how they speak, their tone of voice, and sometimes even their accent. Recognizing these traits while talking to someone and a bit of creativity will improve your chance of building relationships in business. 

The reason I say reading fiction specifically is because non-fiction books are supported by facts, which limits your ability to use those creative skills. Also, it is difficult to imagine someone’s appearance when most of the time we know who the person we are reading about looks like and are familiar with their prominent features. If you are reading a book about Elvis Presley’s life, we all have an idea of what he looks like. We cannot create our interpretation of what he looks like. 

Reading fiction helps bring out your creative side, even if you don’t realize it while reading. In turn, this creativity is carried over into our rapport-building skills while making calls and helps us close deals.

My Top 3 Recommendations:

#1: We Were Liars

This book is about a girl who goes away with her family every summer, but one summer has a tragic accident and is never the same afterward. When she returns for one last summer, something seems different about the island and all of her family members, but she can’t quite put her finger on it. You do not find out about the mystery until the very end, so this book forces you to do some creative problem solving by putting yourself in her shoes to figure out why everything is so different.

 #2: The Hawthorne Legacy Series

The last book from the series has not come out yet, but the first two are exemplary at getting your creative juices flowing, so I can’t imagine the third won’t. These books are about a girl who inherited billions of dollars from a stranger. The only catch is that she has to live in his mansion for a year with his four grandsons and their jealous parents. They all go on a journey to discover why she was chosen to inherit all of the money, considering she never met this man. While searching for answers, the old man set up multiple riddles before he died to help them figure out why it was her. The riddles are tricky ones that readers try to figure out with the knowledge they gain from the book. Similar to the experience while cold calling in sales, this series presents situations that help you with skills like creative problem-solving. 

#3: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

I have not finished this book, but I already see myself being very creative while thinking about this book. From what I know, this book is about a girl who is doing her senior project on a murder that happened in their small town almost five years ago. This news shocked the town because the girl’s boyfriend supposedly killed her and then killed himself afterward. Pip (the main character doing the project) begins speaking with witnesses, going through police reports, and investigating what happened and if it was all a setup. Like the other books, this one creates a mystery that gets you thinking creatively about what the small town looks like and what happened. All of this creativity can then come together and be put to work while cold calling in sales.

Victoria Zamitalo

Campaign Manager

Victoria received a BA in History and Economics from the University of Florida in May 2023. She is a driven sales professional with over 5 years combined experience in customer service, consumer relations and outbound sales, and is deeply passionate about fostering close relationships between consumers and sellers. She aims to train the next generation of sales professionals in not only the tricks of the trade, but also interpersonal skills that make sales the exciting and ever-changing industry that it is.

Mia Semel

Campaign Manager

Before graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability Studies, Mia took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, recruiting, and leading campaigns. She is an active listener and effective communicator, specializing in fostering genuine connections and finding common ground among differing perspectives. She aims to find practical, creative solutions regarding sustainable development, biodiversity and the climate crisis.

Kira Grieve

Senior Campaign Manager

Kira graduated from the University of Florida and received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hopes to visit all of the National Parks one day!

Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.

Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.

Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.

Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.

Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.

Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!

Josiah Blakemore

Growth Manager

Josiah has over 10 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!

Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. She enjoys refining her taste in music and visual art, engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices, and frolicking outside with her sidekick pup.

Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.

Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.