Building rapport today is manipulative and it simply doesn’t work because you think it’s something to check off in the process of getting the sale, and your prospect or customer can smell the insincerity a mile away. Just to make sure you and I are on the same page, building rapport is finding something outside of the transaction that you, the salesman, have in common with your prospect. Building rapport is a squirrelly term that’s hard to grasp and can feel forced on your side because it’s something you’re supposed to do.
And just like the much overused and under delivered word “service”, building rapport has got to go. I can make this easier for you by recommending that you create a connection instead. This is how you really engage a person, not a prospect or a customer, but another human being doing their best to get through the day. I don’t care what business you’re in, that true purpose of your business is to create and keep a customer. Yup, you’re really in the relationship business and the sooner you understand that the sooner you can really start to thrive instead of just getting by.
Creating a connection is all about seeing the person on the other side of the transaction, asking questions that allow you to understand their issue, uncover their emotions, and demonstrate to them that you’re on their side and will only do what’s best for them. It’s not about memorizing the “magic” questions, it’s about connecting with another human being, seeing their problem through their eyes, and making sure you can really help them. It’s about asking great questions that get your customer thinking and then actively listening to their answers to hear their logic and their emotions.
Yes, this does require you to slow down a bit and step out of the hustle and bustle of the activity that fills your day so that you can get to know the person across from you in person or on the phone. Isn’t this what you want when you’re looking to purchase something? An ally that will truly help you navigate waters that are unknown to you?
I know you’re thinking but I’m so busy now! And I get that. But let me ask you a question. How much of your day is spent in building up your confidence to make a sales call? Or to overcome the fear of being perceived as overselling? Or trying to convince someone to buy from you now? Imagine that time goes away because you’ve made the investment to truly understand your customer’s needs, wants, and desires, made the entire visit about serving them and exceeding their needs, and you know in your heart of hearts that your recommendations will exactly meet their needs. How much time a day will you save? Lots I’m willing to bet. And the other very cool byproduct of this is your competition will never be able to steal them from you because they aren’t your customer anymore, they’re your friend.
Stop trying to build rapport and start really connecting with your customers and you’ll show them just how AMAZING you are!
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