Build Rapport Authentically and Watch Your Sales Skyrocket!
In last week’s post, I discussed the importance of confidence in the relationship building and sales process. That it’s, in fact, the #1 reason people will buy from you! The bottom line is that people want to do business with people that they can relate to and that they feel understand their needs.
People need to trust that you can help them get the results that that they’re looking for! This really all boils down to your rapport building skills, which you can improve upon in several ways:
1. Dress to Impress ~ As unfair as it seems to be judged by our appearances, it really is true that you only have one chance to make a first impression! This does not mean trying to be someone you’re not….but a shower, unwrinkled clothes and matching socks are probably a good idea. 🙂
2. Make Eye Contact ~ It is essential that you are fully present with your prospect. Do not be planning your response, rather listen with the intention that their words will be the guide for a natural response from you! If you are not connecting in person, make sure you are free from all distractions (facebook, skype chat, kids, TV, etc.).
3. Pay Attention to Body Language & Energy ~ If you are with your prospect in person, be sure you have open posture by sitting with uncrossed arms and legs. Mirror your prospect with head nods, facial expressions and subtle gestures. Obviously this is something you have to careful about ~ you want it to seem natural, not like you are playing a game of simon says! 😉 And whether in person OR on the phone….Smile often! Also try matching their energy, tone and pacing ~ this psychologically tells the prospect that you are in agreement with them, which leads to increased trust.
4. Find Common Ground ~ What do you hear them saying they love that you do as well? Maybe it’s surfing, running, parenthood or nature? This may seem like trivial chit-chat, but this is actually the fast track to building rapport! And be sure to jot down some notes for future reference (kids names, pets, favorite activities, etc.)!
5. Be Authentic & Vulnerable ~ As Oscar Wilde said best, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken!” You are most engaging when you are speaking your truth! If you are uptight or anxious, you will find your conversations simply will not flow. Let the person see that you are human, and that you’ve struggle too. When you show empathy, your prospect will begin to open up more and more, because they will feel that you actually get where they’re coming from. Which is SO important!
6. Tune in to Their Learning Style ~ While we all use all 5 of our senses to process information, most people are pre-disposed to have a dominant learning style. For a visual learner, you will hear words (and want to say words) like: see, imagine, let me show you, big picture, it looks like and picture this. With an auditory learn, try: tell me more about, I’d love to hear, that’s music to my ears, and that rings a bell. For a kinesthetic learner, go with words like: grasp, sense, flow, in touch and solid. This is a more advanced technique, but if you tune to the language your prospect is using and mirror that back to them, you will dramatically increase trust and responsiveness.
7. Repeat What they Say ~ Pay attention to the adjectives they use and the way they phrase things. By repeating their words back to them, you are showing you are listening, and you are accelerating the rapport building process because they clearly relate to those words! Oh, and speaking of the words we are saying, do not forget that the sweetest sound on earth is your prospect’s own name! 🙂
8. Ask open ended questions ~ Be careful that you are not asking questions that can be answered with a yes or a no! Your goal is to learn as much as possible about your prospect….so you want to ask thought-provoking, conversation-starting questions. As a general rule, you should listen MUCH more than you talk. The secret to sales is hearing what your prospect needs, and then if your product or service fills that need, showing them how simply you can help!
Here are a few sample questions you can ask to get a conversation flowing:
What is the most important project you are currently involved in, in case I or someone I know can be a resource to you?
Who is your perfect customer/ partner in case I can refer you business?
How did you get started in _____?
What do you like best/ worst about working as a _________?
What do you do for fun when you are not doing _________?
What is most important to you personally and in business?
Have you had any mentors? If yes ~ What was the most valuable lesson you learned from them?
So those are 8 tips that can assist you in building rapport and exploding your sales results. The last thing I’ll leave you with is this: the very best way to master the art of rapport building is to assume that you have it from the very start!
If you have benefited from this post, feel free to share it with your friends and followers on the various social sites. And I’d love to hear in the comments, what is your favorite rapport building technique? Or perhaps, where do you find that you struggle in your rapport building process?