Rapport Building in Sales
Having rapport can make all the difference in sales and for that matter in life. We have all had the experience of buying something largely because we liked the person who was doing the selling. Most of us have also experienced the opposite, where we wouldn’t buy bread from someone unless starving. That is the power of rapport. When you have it you can do no wrong. When you don’t, it will be difficult to get to the point of making a presentation.
One of the best ways to build rapport is to let go of yourself, your goals. Selling is not about you. It is about what the customer wants. Too many salespeople walk into a presentation or even a phone call, with an agenda. They are focused on themselves, focused on their goal, focused on getting their point across. Like most people they will not listen well to the customer or prospect because their mind is too busy framing their response and overcoming the objection. Yesterday, I received a call from a salesperson. I told her I was busy with a client and couldn’t talk now. She proceeded to do a very fast presentation without regard for what I had said. She didn’t care. She just wanted to make her presentation so that she could check me off her list. At this point, I didn’t care what she was selling because she was not listening and so I hung up.
I was a recruiter for many years in my own company so I know “sales”. What most salespeople need in order to improve is to listen better and take the focus off what they want. They need to get past their ego.
The following are some great ways to build rapport.
- Listen well. This means to actually hear what the prospect is saying and respond to that. Often people want to be heard and may actually spend time talking to you if they notice that you are listening. Once you have developed rapport you can ask if you could make a brief presentation or call back at a better time.
- Ask open ended questions based upon what the prospect is saying. How, when, why type questions will help you to gain information and allow the prospect to feel heard.
- Give the prospect what they want and yes, that may mean getting off the call.
- Smile, whether in person or over the phone, a smile can be heard in the sound of your voice. In a recent study the addition of a head tilt to the smile helped the rapport to increase.
- In person, use body language to make the other person feel comfortable. Subtly change your body language to mirror the prospects body language.
- Mirror the person’s language tone and pace. When conversing on the phone it is very important to slow down and take cues from the other person. Speaking too fast, in particular, lowers the level of possible trust.
- Let go of your ego. Have the desire to know this other person instead of inflicting your ideas and opinions onto them. Validate their thoughts and opinions. Remember that we like people who are like us.
If you use these techniques on sales calls whether in person or by phone your will notice that your level of rapport will increase and your sales will improve.