When the issues of customer feelings or values are raised, many salespeople get uncomfortable (you may be included), assuming that we’re moving into areas often deemed “touchy-feely” or an invasion of privacy. Yet those same people want to build trust and create rapport in their customer relationships. So, remember—rapport is a state of mind, which begins with feelings.

For some salespeople, building rapport comes very easy, while others never seem to learn how to do it. One of the keys to learning rapport is training that focuses on overcoming one’s cultural, emotional and perceptual blocks. Rapport is most easily developed in the early stages of contact. It is usually based on understanding how prospects think, feel and what their responses imply. Here are some simple guidelines.

  1. Undervaluing the appointment: The difference between a good or bad lead is usually the way it is handled. Continuously work on the language of needs assessment, such as, “What are your goals with this project?” or “How long has this condition been present?” and “What would need to exist in order to attain your goals?”
  2. Listen and Process Information
    Ask more open-ended questions and listen more effectively. This needs to happen in the early stages of a presentation, as the customer will perceive the salesperson as helping and caring. Learning to do it properly often requires an attitude adjustment coupled with extensive training.
  3. Customer Perception
    You are selling most efficiently when the buyer is convinced that it was his/her decision to buy. Notice that the satisfied customer often says, “I bought it from …” and seldom, “What’s-his-name sold it to me.” In other words, did they buy, or were they sold?
  4. A Positive Attitude
    The right outlook about who you are, who you represent and how you visualize the outcome of a sales situation often determines how your presentation is made and will be perceived.
  1. Put the Emphasis on Them
    In your presentation, stress more “you,” “your project,” “your home” and less I, we or me.
  2. Stop Telling
    Are your presentations void of a strong needs assessment? Are you utilizing excuses, defensive statements or even price drops to compensate for perceived objections or negotiations? Effective sales practices made with feelings of rapport don’t come off as a “hard sell,” they are classified as customer satisfaction selling.
  3. Closing is the Natural Conclusion
    It’s the satisfactory completion of each step in a sound sales methodology. In our series, Super Sales Training, we highlight the success of first-rate salespeople who carefully analyze every presentation that culminates in a “no-sale.”

However, don’t be misled. In order to sell more efficiently, you will still need to study, understand and utilize modern, proven sales techniques, then work on changing what you are doing and/or how you are doing it.

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