Saturday, June 27, 2009

Are You Sure You Want to Build Rapport with Your Prospect?

I once heard a story of a newbie salesperson trying to establish rapport to his busy prospect. It was the first time this sales rep met his prospect. Since he had already been taught before that building rapport was important in sales, he intended to apply it to that new prospect.

When this rep entered the room of his prospect, he noticed that there was a frame of fishing award or championship certificate, or sort of that, hanging on the wall. After taking a seat, the sales rep then opened the sales meeting with comment like this:

"Oh, what a great award you have! Can you tell me how you finally won that award?"

I know, this sales rep was actually attempting to create what we all call as ice-breaker. He expected to get a warm response by talking about his prospect's interest. Instead, this was the response he got:

"Forget about that damn award! Let's get down to the business."

Many salespeople have been taught that they should do a little light conversation about their prospects' interest to build rapport or ice-breaker. It's believed that it will make your prospects more relaxed and warmer. I also did this method in my sales, but I found it didn't really help my sales.

Put your feet on your prospects' shoes. They all are busy people. They have no time to waste to talk about their hobbies and personal interests. After all, they frequently meet insincere salespeople talking about their interests and hobbies. Now you come in to their office to talk about the same thing of which they know it's just your strategy to get a deal from them.

Again, sell like a professional. Come to them with your solutions, not your insincere care about their interests. Start your sales meeting with problem-oriented questions, not with stupid chat about fishing, baseball, or irrelevant question like "how did you start this awesome enterprise?". Make your sales meetings straightforward, relevant, and professional.

Instead of establishing that shallow rapport, there are more valuable things you can develop to create a deeper relationship to your prospects. These things are what I frequently try to show to my prospects. What are they?

They are trust, relevant solutions, and good service. I never use rapport to make my sales easier. In fact, it just makes my sales more difficult. Instead, I always build trust, relevant solutions, and good service. When you show these three qualities in your sales process, your prospects will respect you more than they do to those sales reps with shallow rapport. They will think that you are not just another salesperson trying to waste their time. In fact, they will start building rapport with you, not the other way around.

In fact, in B2B sales, that's what a rapport means: trust, relevant solutions, and good service.

No comments:

Post a Comment