10 Better Ways To Build Rapport!


A sales trainer walks into a room of sales reps and asks them how they build rapport and guess how they respond?

“I generally look around my prospect’s office to see what they are interested in and make conversation based on what I see”

You saw that one coming right?

Do you think that approach might be a tad predictable too?

Just for the heck of it, here are 10 things for you to think about, beyond scanning the office for things to comment on.

1) How about Engaging In Meticulous Pre Call Planning? How about researching not only the company but the prospect. Already do that? Using Google? So does everyone! Make sure you are researching your prospect on Linkedin, Twitter, their blog. Use https://socialmention.com to see what kind of social networking foot print they are leaving. Oh and by the way, if you find something out about them like they sing in a band, run in 5k’s etc, don’t you dare disregard that. What’s everyone’s favorite subject again? You keep that in your back pocket dude! And make sure you keep listening for clues after the meeting too!

2) Respect the fact that they will in turn Google you! Having your own online footprint gives them the ability to start to get to know you. Remember that old sales axiom that “Customers buy us before the company”, well that process actually begins before they even meet you.

3) Consider using an agenda statement to begin your meeting. Doing so allows you to take control without being controlling and goes a long way in the “first impression” department. Here’s one that I teach my sales students.

First and foremost I’d like to thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. With your permission, I’d like to cover 3 things.

First: I’d like to find out more about you and your company, specifically any challenges or opportunities I might be able to help you with.

Next, share with you how we’ve been able to help other widget companies

Last, but not least, decide on a next step that makes sense.

Is there anything else we should add?

4) Ask Better Questions! The quality of our relationships rest in our ability to have quality communication. Quality communication comes from asking quality questions. When was the last time you took a good look at your Needs Analysis. Oh, and asking the questions others don’t ask, earns you more rapport points than commenting on that picture that the other 500 sales reps just commented on. Just sayin!

5) Understand This At All Cost: They have a story and want to be heard so . . . don’t be so anxious to check off question #3 (to rush to #4) that you fail to listen. And by the way, show some freakin empathy dude. When someone tells you how they got screwed over by their vendor or they got reamed out by the boss because of the TPS reports . . . that’s your cue to care. So listening, caring and . . .

6) Facilitate The Meeting. When you facilitate a meeting you don’t just stop at the first answer they give you. You ask continuation questions like “How so?” “What happened then?” “Tell me more”. Ask if someone has a different spin, get conflicting opinions out there, get everyone’s emotions going. A Note About Inclusion: Don’t assume that the least vocal from their team has the least power. Might be soft spoken but a behind the scenes ass kicker. Make sure you include them by asking for their thoughts. Yep, its that “everyone has a story and wants to be heard” thing again!

7) Strategic Use Of Silence: People have a nervous need to fill silence. Make sure it isn’t you. In fact, place some well thought out silence in after they respond. Just don’t wait too long, or they will pat your head and think you are your industry’s answer to Forrest Gump.

8) If you are going to “Mirror” someone, don’t just mirror their body language. Mirror the jargon they use. Mirror their sensory language. Example “I hear you” “I see what you mean” “I feel like this . . . “ You can even mirror the way they structure their emails etc but that’s a discussion for another day.

9) Make Promises: There is something about keeping a promise that we’ve come to appreciate since we were young. Instead of getting them those samples on Tuesday, promise like this: “Jane (make sure their name is Jane) I promise to get you those samples on Tuesday” And now the fun part, the icing on this delicious rapport building cake. Tuesday, when you see Jane again, you say “Here are those samples as promised” Say that enough times throughout the courtship and you are selling at a subconscious level. Actually, scratch that . . . they are buying you at a subconscious level.

10) Get A Tour: Something crazy happens when you leave the formality of a conference room . . . people lose their formality. Additionally, you create energy by moving and you get to learn behind the scenes stuff. Kind of a cool way to differentiate yourself too since most people don’t ask for a tour.

OK gang, there you have it. There’s certainly more we could have covered but my mission today was to get you thinking beyond the old “scanning around the office for things to talk about” thing.

And besides . . . what if they borrowed someone else’s office. Try recovering from that one!

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