4 Strategies for Establishing Rapport With Prospects

with guest Phil Jones #Making Bank S4E28

Reaching out to people in search of new business can be one of the most daunting tasks any entrepreneur or salesperson faces. It’s tough. No one wants to talk to you, and even with those that do, you usually have to overcome a healthy amount of suspicion before you have any chance of converting them. 

Finding ways to make this process more simple is a big benefit to any business, and can leave you with much less of a headache at the end of the day. The key is not to come across the same way every other salesperson does, allowing prospects to brush you off before you have even presented your product. 

Sometimes, when you’re trying to make a sale, it can actually be better to take a step back. All the sales tactics in the world will only dig you deeper if your client is tired of hearing them. If you’re overselling, try to pull back on the reigns and use a different approach. Following these 4 simple strategies can help pull you out of that rut and actually build a connection with your prospect. 

  1. Take the focus off the product 

Ease up! Talking about the advantages that your product or service poses until you’re blue in the face doesn’t necessarily have the right effect. Obviously, your client needs to know what they stand to gain from working with you, but going on and on about the numbers can deaden interest and actually have a negative effect. 

Take time to talk about literally anything else. Sports, the best place to eat in the area, how you slipped on some ice in your driveway that morning and spilled coffee all over yourself, whatever (actually, bonus points for the last one). 

Make yourself human and, most importantly, get them talking. When they’re filling up the silence that means you don’t have to, and with a lightened mood it will be easier to ultimately get into the nitty-gritty details and make a sale. 

  1. Get to know them 

Make sure you’re taking some time to genuinely get to know people. In person, you can always find time to ask people about their lives, where they’re from, if they have a family, etc. Even on a short phone call, you can at least ask how their day is going or what is happening in their part of the world. 

Breaking stride to be a bit less formal will help your clients relate to you, which can go a long way towards building a lasting business relationship. If you’re too formal all the time, you’ll simply be viewed as a number, and as soon as that number no longer makes sense, you’ll be given the axe without a second thought. 

  1. Find commonalities 

Finding things you have in common with people is always one of the quickest ways to build rapport. Whether interests, shared problems and challenges as a business owner, or why you went into business in the first place, try to find some points that you have in common with your customer. 

Talk to them about your past and what drew you to your career – and be honest. Maybe it’s the freedom, maybe you wanted to innovate, or maybe it was just for money, plain and simple. Open up and be honest about yourself and you will eventually stumble upon something that you have in common with anyone. 

Once your client starts to see you as someone who goes through the same things they do and has the same interests, they will find it much easier to trust you and will actually want to hear what you have to say. Ninety percent of the problem in sales is that prospects are inherently skeptical. Once they already identify with and trust you, it is easy to walk people through the benefits of your products and how they can save time or money. 

  1. Draw the pitch out of them 

“The person in control of the conversation is the one who is asking the questions” 

Phil M Jones 

Instead of just hammering away at your clients, asking them to do as much of the talking as possible is a great way to take the pressure off yourself, get to know their needs, and, in some cases, even let them articulate why you may be a good fit. 

Ask them what other products or services they’ve used before, what solutions they have attempted to implement themselves, if any, and what an ideal product or service would be for them. Ask them not just to get them talking, ask to listen and understand, and they will readily give you great information that you can use to highlight the best parts of your own business, or give you ideas for a way to better the service you’re already offering. 

If they call you, ask them why they decided to reach out. What about your service drew them to you? Knowing if they are coming to you having done lots of research or you were simply the first result Google gave them gives you information about where their mindset is and how to proceed in the conversation. 

Asking questions like this also serves to build a connection and let your customer realize that you actually care about helping solve their problems, not just making a sale. When the customer really believes that you have their needs at heart, everyone wins. 

In the world of cold calling, meeting new people, and drumming up new business, establishing a natural rapport makes your life much easier. Building a relationship with the people you work with and those that you want to can help eliminate many objections before they ever come up, and can lead to long-lasting business. 

By not always focusing on the product, getting to know your clients, and asking the right questions, you will have a much easier time building trust, explaining your products, and making sales. Most importantly, however, everyone will be much happier with the process. 

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