Keys To Building Rapport With Sales Prospects

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In order to be a consistent sales professional, it is critical to be effective at building rapport with sales prospects. Below are ways to be more effective in this area to help drive sales effectiveness:

Respect the Prospects Time
Regardless of the level you are selling into, one thing that you should always assume is that the person you are selling to is very busy. And with companies consolidating jobs, prospects are now busier than ever. With that being the case, the time that you need from the prospect to manage your sales process is very valuable. As a result, in order to build rapport, it is critical to show them that you respect their time

By doing some of the below, you will easily communicate that you respect the sales prospect's time and this will yield strong dividends in the area of rapport.

- Ask if they have a minute, are in the middle of anything, or are available every time you call them.
- At the beginning of every meeting, outline expectations in terms of focus and time, secure agreement. and then stick to the agreed time unless they chose to go over.
- Build your meetings and timeline according to one that matches their availability and needs.

Seek to Understand in Order to be Understood
Dr. Stephen Covey has written on a concept of "Seek to understand in order to be understood". This concept is very powerful and can be used in any area where you are trying to build and maintain relationships. When it comes to building rapport with sales prospects, this approach can be very effective. As a sales person, you are very interested having the prospect to understand you, what you have to offer, and why they should do business with you. And following Dr. Covey's philosophy, one way to help get them to understand you is to seek to understand them.

While part of understanding them comes from you learning about them by doing your research and homework, the more powerful piece of this is communicating to them that you understand them. This can be done by make presentations more about them then about you, sharing your knowledge of them in meeting minutes, and simply sharing in conversations that you understand the challenges that they are facing. Showing them consistently that you understand will yield strong results when building rapport.

Not too Aggressive
As a sales professional, it can be a difficult line to walk between being too aggressive and not aggressive enough with sales prospects and sales opportunities. While the right level of attention can be unclear and different from situation to situation, what is clear is that you do not want to be too aggressive when building rapport with sales prospects. If you are too aggressive, you may still get the business but the prospect might not have a great level of rapport and comfort when dealing with you and this could impact referral and repeat business.

The best way to manage yourself in terms of how often to communicate and how hard to push with prospects is to get guidance directly from them as to what to do next and when. If they say to call them back in two weeks and you call back then, then you are not being too aggressive as you are doing what they told you. But if they say two months and you call back in three weeks, you are going to take a negative step in the area of building rapport.
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Michael Halper has 1 articles online


Michael Halper is a certified coach that works with individuals and organizations helping to drive growth and improvement. For more information about coaching and development visit Compass Coaching you can read more about Building Rapport or Sales Coaching.

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Keys To Building Rapport With Sales Prospects

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This article was published on 2010/10/28