01 november 2019
What on earth is 'Rapport'
Pretty much every sales expert will tell you how important it is to build 'rapport' with your prospects. Along with that, they will offer you various techniques and strategies to teach you how to do it. Or that is at least what they claim to do...
It is not about the 'How'
Take this article for example build-rapport-in-sales-and-connect-with-people. Nice read with lots of practical tips and tricks, but it is all too obvious. Most of you will probably think, hey I am already doing all of this, right? It doesn't really go deep enough. You will end up being a friendly guy with a nice smile on his face and a warm attitude.
And another one is techniques-for-building-sales-relationships. Great communication techniques, and you should certainly try to master them all. They will turn you into a rapport-machine, like a robot, doing the right things but without a heart.
It is about the 'What'
I believe you should concentrate more on the content of communication with customers. Not to forget about tips, tricks and techniques, but to add 'heart and soul' to it. Why? Because I believe that customers today are used to speaking with people who are well educated and trained in skills, so this is an area where it is difficult to be different. We are all used to watching perfectly orchestrated commercials and videos, and with this experience we have learned to not-believe the perfect picture. Somebody doing the right things right isn't necessarily trustworthy anymore. It is actually the other way around, we have started to love a bit of imperfection! We believe the clumsy one, not the smooth operator.
Allright then, forget about skills for a while, let's find some emotional content!
The internet has made learning about customers faster and easier. Even a quick online research session should be enough to provide some solid questions in areas that matter to the customer.
Here are some quick tips on how sales professionals can use the internet to research information that will help them build rapport:
- Personal information can be found through Google searches and alerts, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Strava and other social sites. You can see where the customer has worked and where, what blogs or articles he responds to, what he likes to do in the weekend with the family, etc. You will be surprised how much is freely available.
- Personality style used to be more difficult to assess before meeting someone, but it isn't anymore. If you are familiair with profile assessment like DISC or Insights, you have probably already learned how to assess quickly during the conversation and how to adjust your own behaviour to be effective. Here comes the trick: Using an online tool like Crystalknows does the assessment for you and recommends behaviour, before you have even met someone in person. Install the free chrome extension and everytime you search somebody on LinkedIn, you will get loads of valuable information. See how-do-i-use-crystal-in-linkedin if you are curious to start right away.
Now you know what creates 'rapport'. Don't bother too much about your techniques, ask your customer about things that you know matter to him, and show behaviour that harmonizes with his personality style.