Welcome to Fundamentals Week. While there are a million different ways to sell, there are some basic, fundamental go-to parts of every successful sales process. These must be done every time but will vary in energy required based on the product, service, and personality of the salesperson.
We start off Fundamentals Week by talking about rapport and why Building Rapport is so important.
Links from this episode:
Definition of Rapport: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rapport
Welcome to Episode 11 of The Sales Experience Podcast. My name is Jason Cutter and I truly hope you have enjoyed and got value from the first ten episodes. So far I have touched on the basics of expectation setting as well as the reasons why you want to be in sales.
Last week was mindset and based on the feedback and questions I have received, I am thinking I will do a second mindset week at some point in the future. There is literally so much to cover. I am glad we were at least able to talk about fears and feedback.
The theme of this week is the Fundamentals. This is another topic where one week of ten minute episodes is not enough, even considering that I am talking about sales fundamentals that span any and all sales situations, which means it will be high level.
For Fundamentals Week I wanted to cover five critical sales areas. At first I was going do one topic each day, and then cover them again next week but the ways that salespeople do them ineffectively. But instead, I am going to do each topic on back to back days, So this episode, as you already saw in the title, is about building rapport. Tomorrow will be about messing it up.
For now, let’s dive into how to build rapport. First let’s define what that term means.
Good old Webster’s dictionary – side note…Remember having to get up and grab the dictionary off the shelf to look words up, spelling and definitions? Remember having a bunch of dictionaries, one for school, one on the family book shelf. That seems so silly now. Makes me wonder…in 30 years, when we look back to 2019, what will we think was absolutely silly and us old people will tell the kids in 2049 about having to type to look things up or drive our own cars or cook food.
Any way…back to rapport. Webster defines rapport as “a relationship characterized by agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy.” The basic, kid friendly definition – according to their site – is a “friendly relationship.” Antonyms of rapport include coldness, animosity, and hostility.
When we are in a sales role, the first thing everyone is taught is about building rapport with each new prospect so that they will like you. The rule is mostly true – people will do business with someone they like and trust. It can be really tough to use persuasion in a selling situation if the prospect doesn’t like you, acts cold and indifferent, or even hostile towards you. So the first step is to build rapport.
Even though I disagree with how many sales people build rapport in certain sales situations, I do believe it is the key first step you must do. So what is included under the umbrella of rapport?
If its creating a friendly relationship, then its anything that makes it friendly, which can be tough when the prospect is expecting you to be that slick, slimy salesperson and they are coming to you with their defenses up by default. What are some rapport building strategies?
Telling jokes, finding out where they live or grew up to see if you know anything about it – or the home run is when you grew up in the same town. It can include finding out what sports and teams they like, then talking about it as a common interest. Talking about the weather. Asking some questions and then talking about anything that comes up where you share their view – which could include politics, religion, taxes, war, and so on.
My rule has always been to make sure your rapport building step is truly authentic and who you are. If you are not a sports person, don’t try and talk sports with each person. If you don’t know what’s going in politics or with taxes or the weather – then don’t try and talk about it.
We have seen someone else try and have a conversation with someone to build rapport – not just in sales, but maybe at a party, or at Thanksgiving… they try and jump in on the conversation to sound smart, or make friends, or not to be left out and it backfires because they don’t actually know what they are talking about it and the only thing you can do is sit back and watch the train wreck as it happens.
On a sales call or appointment always start with the rule of being yourself. Don’t try and be like any other salesperson on your team or that you have seen. Be authentic and real. If there is a rapport building topic that comes up then seize the opportunity to build a common bond between you and the prospect. But don’t force it.
Don’t be that rep who is grasping at straws trying to find a way to get the prospect to like them. I have heard a rep before asking ‘how is the weather?’ Prospect says ‘fine.’ ‘Do you like sports out there in Ohio?’ ‘No’ ‘Any good restaurants that you like to go to?’ ‘No’ And so on for what feels very painful and also goes on way too long.
Remember, the first step is to be authentic. Second, balance the right amount of rapport for what you are selling. If you sell something serious then build some rapport to create a friendly relationship and then get to business.
That’s it for this episode on rapport building. To check out the show notes go to the website. You can subscribe and listen to the podcast via iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, SoundCloud, Google Play Music, and through the site itself. If there is somewhere else you would like to listen to the episodes through, message me and let me know and I will figure out how to make that happen.
Until next time, always remember that everything in life is sales and people will remember the experience you gave them.