Get Real! 5 Tips to Help You Skip the Sales Tricks and Build a Genuine Rapport
Remember when sales used to be pretty much all about relationships? Or at least prospects seemed to have more time to spend with you. And maybe you had more time (and money) to spend on them — on dinners, golf outings, etc.
A lot has changed in recent years. Many people will tell you that sales is a lot less relationship-driven today. Anyone can find the information they need and come to their own conclusions about your products and services. They don’t need you to tell them anymore, and they don’t want to to be bombarded with more marketing messages.
What many people do want, however, is something more genuine. Although you can’t rely on old school wine-and-dine tactics anymore, I believe that real relationships are more important than ever. Establishing an authentic connection with prospects makes the relationship worth their while. And don’t underestimate how much more emotionally satisfying this effort can be for you, either. It’s business, and it’s personal.
OK, so how do you create this connection with a prospective new client? We all know that a first impression can make or break an opportunity, so the pressure of creating a connection with a prospective client can also be stressful.
But it doesn’t have to be.
If you incorporate a few key elements at the beginning of every sales call, you’ll find you can quickly build rapport and set up successful meetings with ease. Use these tips to help you get in the right frame of mind and get you started off on the right foot.
1. Assess the Communication Style
We all have a unique communication style. We tend to interact more effectively with those who have similar styles. When you meet with someone who has a very different communication style, it can be challenging to make a connection. You can’t force it, but there are simple ways to bridge the gap.
Recognizing and understanding the differences goes a long way. If you’re interested in learning how to assess your communication style and how to assess others, I wrote a whole other blog about that. Check it out here.
2. Be Yourself
If you want to sound like a sales person, get on Google and search for “sales scripts”. You’ll find about 29 million results on how to create a “killer script”. Just fill in the blanks, and you’re ready to go!
Personally, I’d suggest you try a different approach and be yourself. I assume you don’t use the same opening every time you meet someone socially, so why do that when you open a sales call?
Get out of game mode, and into a mindset of enjoying a simple human interaction. In the first moments of a sales call, focus on understanding who the prospect is and what they care about, and strive to share the same about yourself. This interaction will become the primary connection between the companies, so you might as well make it authentic and pleasant.
Too often, I meet salespeople who have these great personalities, but when I listen to them on a sales call, they simply aren’t themselves. This “professional” facade comes up that blocks them from showing their true personality.
Sooner or later, your clients are going to see your true personality. Let go and let them see the real you from the first time you meet.
3. Be Prepared
Sales calls present themselves all the time. Whenever possible, take the time to do a little research on your client. Between social media and Google, there is no reason you can’t collect a little information on each and every new prospect.
Having a little background information shows you’re interested in your client. It’s more respectful, too, because you won’t waste their time asking basic questions you could have already known the answer to with a bit of effort. It may also help you later in the sales process as you frame questions, position your services and identify the best ways to help them solve their problems.
4. Make a Connection
Some salespeople believe in building rapport before they set up the purpose of the call. Others set up the call first, then begin building rapport. It’s up to you on how you want to approach this, but in either event, it’s critical to make a connection.
When you create a genuine connection with a client, you build trust. When you have trust, it’s easier to uncover the core issues that are holding them back and you can be much more effective helping them make progress.
Some people are very uncomfortable making small talk and frankly, in many cases, it’s not appropriate based on the person’s communication style. ) However, there are always opportunities to build rapport and create a connection.
Just to be clear, you don’t have to establish a warm, personal connection with every client. I have many clients who are very reserved and they only want to talk about their business. That’s totally fine; you can always build rapport by deepening your understanding of their business.
Don’t limit your interest in their business to whatever you’re selling. Try to get a full view of their company, vision, mission, industry trends, competitive pressures and how these things influence their role and outlook.
In either case, whether you’re building rapport around personal or business topics (ideally both), the focus should be on the client and your genuine interest in the issues that are important to them.
5. Establish the Agenda
Early on, it’s critical to let your prospect know what you intend to cover and how you intend to cover it. You want to outline the general format for the call. In any event, you want to show your prospective clients that you are organized and are going to make good use of their time.
You also want to establish the purpose of the call with a powerful framing statement. What is the reason you’re meeting with the prospect today? What do you hope to accomplish? What value are you positioned to deliver? Use your answers to form a framing statement that can help you set a positive, proactive tone for the call.
Make Your Next Sales Call More Down to Earth
With these ideas in mind, head into your next appointment with the goal of creating a real connection with your prospective clients. Sales is a process, and when you get this first step right, you set yourself up to close more deals, with fewer sales calls, less effort and a better feeling about the whole process.