Part 2 of Fundamentals Week, and we extend the conversation about Rapport to when it goes wrong and salespeople mess it up. You not might think it is possible to screw up the act of building a friendly relationship – but it is very possible. And sales reps do it all the time, whether they are new or veterans.
Listen and use this episode as your guidepost to how NOT to build rapport. Avoid these strategies and you will find yourself creating a much better, more satisfying sales experience for your prospects. You will also close more sales that will stay onboard as customers for longer.
Welcome to Episode 12 of The Sales Experience Podcast. My name is Jason Cutter and I never have guessed I would have become a sales professional let alone train and coach sales people and companies on how to be consistently successful in sales by doing what professionals do, but here I am.
Let’s jump into the fun. The previous episode was about Building Rapport. If you haven’t listened to that one yet, I suggest you check it you continue. Okay, fine, finish this episode then go listen to that one. I would love you to listen to both, partly so you can hear ideas of what works and what doesn’t, but also because I don’t like focusing on the negative and what not to do. So check out episode 11 for the positive focus on rapport.
Alright if you have ever been a prospective customer who has bought anything from a salesperson, then you have experienced bad rapport building. We have all heard and felt it.
One way it is done wrong is when its not authentic. I have heard sales reps who are so fake and phony with their rapport building. They know that rapport is important to getting their emotional foot in the door, and they need to check off that box in their sales process, but when you listen to it from the outside you can just feel how ingenuine it is. Especially if you know the salesperson outside of those sales interactions and they talk about how much they don’t care about the prospects and they are just there for the money.
Don’t do it just to do it. Your prospects call tell you don’t care and their guard will stay up. It will not help build the friendly relationship rapport is meant to foster. You would literally be better off just jumping to the next part of your sales process and skipping over fake and phony rapport tactics.
I have also seen reps go hard on rapport building if they know that either a) their product or service is crap or a scam, and or b) people don’t like what they are selling, even if it does work, and generally throw out a lot of objections or barriers. I see this a lot with B2B sales where the rep feels like they must break a lot of ice to get their emotional foot in the door, so they spend a lot of time on shallow, phony sounding rapport building.
Usually this comes from place of fear. If you find yourself scratching and clawing to build rapport, then ask yourself why? What are you afraid of? Maybe you are a people pleaser and you are worried they won’t like you. Or maybe you don’t believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in your sales ability, then you will default to wanting them to like you a lot to help offset any tough questions they might ask you. And if they like you a lot they will hopefully buy from you even if you suck. Maybe even get those pity sales.
If you lack confidence because you’re new to sales or you are in a slump, then keep your rapport building to the minimum that gets the prospect warmed up to you and then move forward. If you don’t believe in your product or service, then either do more training or research to see the value it provides, or run from that company and stop selling crap to people. When you sell something you truly believe in you will find that you actually need less rapport building because you and your product or service will speak for itself and create the friendly relationship.
Again, if you feel yourself being pulled towards lots of small talk during the beginning parts of your sales interaction then examine why you do that. And maybe ask your manager for feedback on what they observe from the outside. You can really mess up your chances of closing the deal if you get the rapport part of the sales formula wrong.
Another silent way that rapport can kill deals when done wrong? When you enter the ‘friend zone’. You may not have realized it but you have done it or seen it. You are building rapport. You find out their favorite sports team and spend a while talking about that. Then you move on to other topics, and before you know it things feel like you could become friends. But that can become the issue if you are not careful.
As I said in the last episode, people want to do business and buy from people they like. But most people steer clear of doing business with friends. You see your friends differently than you do professionals. And your prospects might do the same thing with you. Its great that you have built so much rapport, but then now you are asking them to sign on the dotted line and pay you a bunch of money.
Now there is a way to be on the path to being friends with your prospects AND close deals. Takes confidence, skill, and a sales system that works. Mostly the confidence part. Because people will work with their friends if they are confident their friend is the best at what they do.
I know for me I have always broke this rule, where over the span of the sales experience I am moving the prospect through I build a bunch of rapport naturally as topics come up. Not as a strategy but just in the course of wanting to know about them, their problems, their life, and then it leading to a deeper conversation. And I can still close lots of deals because I have the confidence to take them through the process. I know we can cross that finish line whether we are just walking their together side by side, or we are holding hands and skipping along.
Remember that rapport is anything that leads to a friendly relationship. And the goal of that friendly relationship should be on that involves you helping them buy a solution to their needs, wants, desires or struggles.
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Until next time, always remember that everything in life is sales and people will remember the experience you gave them.