OK, everyone in sales sing, “Getting to know you, getting to know about you; getting to like you, getting to hope you like me; getting to know you, putting it my way, but nicely;” you are precisely singing the notes that will make the sale easier to achieve.
If you find common subjects or interests with a prospect, you can establish a business friendship, and people are more likely to buy from a friend than a salesperson.
What do you do to establish rapport? Are you sharp enough to find something in common besides business after you open the conversation?
Just try these:
On the phone… It’s likely that you’re calling to make an appointment or some kind of follow-up, so focus on three things.
1. Get to the point in 15 seconds. If it’s a cold call, you first begin to establish rapport by getting to the point! State the purpose of your call immediately. It’s not necessary (and often a put-off) to ask the insincere “how are you today?” Just state your name, your company name, and how you can help the prospect. Once you’ve done that, there is a sense of relief from both sides. The prospect is relieved because he now knows why you’ve called. and you’re relieved because the prospect hasn’t hung up on you. Now you can go about the task of establishing some rapport, and setting the appointment.
2. Be happy and humorous. Is the prospect formal or friendly? Try to use humor at least twice during the conversation (but don’t force it.). People love to laugh. A quick, clean one minute story or joke can do more for buyer rapport than 10-minutes worth of sales talk.
3. Get to know something personal about the prospect. You can also gain insight by questioning, then listening. Prospect mood, home town, and personality will all be revealed in just a few minutes on the phone. I listen closely for speech accent. It gives you a clue where the prospect came from. A great subject if you’re well traveled, or come from the same place.
Listen for and be sensitive to the mood of the prospect. If he or she is short or gruff, just say, “I can tell you’re busy (or, not having the best of days), why don’t we pick a time more convenient for me to call.”
Sell the appointment with a personal touch. For example, if you’re talking to a basketball fan you might say: I know I can help you reach your computer training needs. With a ten minute appointment I can show you how we can help you in the first five minutes and have the other five to discuss who the Hornets should draft.
On an appointment in the prospect’s office… This is the easiest place to establish rapport. Look for clues as soon as you walk into the prospects place of business. Pictures, plaques, or awards on the wall, magazines subscribed to that don’t match the business. When you get in the prospect’s office, look for pictures of children or events, bookcase items, books, diplomas, awards, desk items, or anything that reveals personal likes and/or after business pursuits. Ask about an award or trophy. Ask about a diploma or picture. Your prospect will be glad to talk about what he or she just did or likes to do. THEN FIND SOMETHING IN COMMON — That’s rapport.
Try to engage him or her in intelligent conversation with open-ended questions about the interests you have in common. It’s better if you’re well versed in the subject, but the object is to get the prospect to talk about what makes them happy. If you can get the prospect to laugh, it will set the stage for a positive presentation.
When the prospect comes to your place of business… it is more difficult to establish common ground because you don’t have the advantage of the telling items that would be present in their surroundings. So… Be observant. Look at clothing, car, rings, imprinted items, their business card, or anything that gives you a clue as to the type of person they are.
Be friendly. Ask open ended questions just below the surface. (surface questions or talk such as the weather, or did you find the place ok, should be avoided at all costs) Try to find out what they did last weekend, or what they’re doing this weekend. Ask about a movie or television show. Avoid politics, their personal problems, and for goodness sakes don’t lament your personal problems.
People love to talk about themselves. Ask the right question and it’s tough to shut them up. The object is for you to find a subject, idea or situation that you BOTH know about or are interested in.
One last word of caution… budget your time establishing rapport. You’re on a mission. But I can assure you the mission is most likely to be accomplished if you have made a friend before make the presentation.
People love to talk about themselves. Getting a prospect to talk about themselves will give you a chance to find common ground, establish rapport, and increase your chance to make a sale.
If you establish common ground with the prospect, they will like you, believe you, and buy from you. The best way to win the sale is to first win the prospect.
Free GitBit…You are responsible for the sale. How responsible are you? Take the responsibility test and find out. Go to www.gitomer.com – register if you’re a first time user, and enter the words RESPONSIBLE in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org