The Three Principles of Rapport

Building Rapport

Building Rapport

In the world of selling, there are three principles of rapport. Working with them will increase the probability that your potential clients will buy from you:

  1. Buyers like salespeople who are like them.

Have you noticed how friends adopt each other’s behaviors? Friends tend to talk to each other at a similar speed and with a similar volume. Friends tend to adopt similar behaviors such as in their postures, facial expressions, and gestures. This same exchange of behaviors occurs when you establish rapport with buyers. You and your buyers will gradually begin to adopt similar behaviors. As your behavior becomes more like theirs, you make it easier for your buyers to like you.

If you doubt this, think about the last time you were with someone who used drastically different postures and gestures than you. At first, you would have been uncomfortable—trying to recognize what those postures and gestures meant. In effect, you were trying to translate that person’s body language into something to which you could relate. Once the understanding was there, you probably felt more comfortable. It wasn’t a matter of whether or not the other person was likable. It was more along the lines of whether or not you understood him. [Read more…]

When an Objection isn’t an Objection – Guest Post

mikebrooks_speaker2When an Objection isn’t an Objection – Guest Post by Mike Brooks, aka Mr. Inside Sales

When is an objection NOT an objection? When it comes at the beginning of your presentation.

The blow offs you get at this stage are merely initial resistance, and the last thing you want to do is try to overcome them. Instead, you must acknowledge you heard them and direct your prospect to get your proposal, quote or other material so you can engage with them and deliver your presentation.

This is easy to do if you have the right scripts and techniques to accomplish this.

Here are some sample scripts to deal with the initial resistance you get when closing:

Initial resistance #1:
“I looked it over and I’m/we’re not interested.”

Response #2:
“I didn’t expect you to be interested; our marketing department hasn’t yet figured out a way to get our prospects to call us back – and that’s why they hired me! But seriously, this (product/service) has some great features that aren’t readily available in the (demo/material/information) I sent you, and it’ll only take a couple of minutes to find out if they would be a fit and benefit you. Tell you what, do yourself a favor and spend a few minutes with me to find out how and if this would be right for you. Grab the information/quote/brochure and let me cover a few things – do you have it handy?

Initial resistance #2:
“I don’t have the time right now.”

Response #1:
“That’s fine ________, we’ll schedule a better time to go over this. Quick question, though: when we do get back together on this, what are some of the areas I should be prepared to go over with you?”

Initial resistance #3:
“It’s not for us/me.”

Response #2:
“It may appear that way now ________, and you may not have enough information nor understand it well enough to be interested. In fact, most people I call back feel the same way you do – they think this is (Quickly list one or two perceived negative points), so I don’t blame you for not being interested. I wouldn’t be either if that was true. But ________, that isn’t how this (product/service) works. To begin with (list two or three benefits that contradict the first couple of negatives you just gave). These are just some of the things you need to be aware of before you make any decision. Do yourself a favor and get that (quote/demo/email/brochure) and I’ll show you how this might work for you, too. I’ll be happy to hold on while you grab it.”

Initial resistance #4:
“We looked at your material and this just isn’t for us right now.”

Response #2:
“No problem ________. Tell you what let’s do – because things change, and while this is fresh in your mind, let’s take a few minutes now to match up how this can help you when the timing is better for you. Is that (brochure, quote, demo) handy, or do I need to hold on while you grab it?”

Initial resistance #5:
“We already have a supplier or dealer or service person.”

Response #1:
“I know and we spoke about that earlier. Remember, I’m not calling to have you replace your current supplier/company, rather, you were looking at this to see how you might improve the results of what you’re currently getting. Tell you what, do me a favor and grab the (demo, information) and let me show you how, if you decide to branch out in the future, this might help you (fill their expressed need from your first call). I’ll be happy to hold on while you grab it.”

Do you see how this works? Again, do not try to overcome the initial resistance you get when closing, instead, be prepared for it and earn the right to present your product or service!

Would you like 16 more word for word scripts targeted to overcome initial resistance when closing? And, would you like over 200 other scripts and techniques to help you overcome resistance, build rapport with decision makers and close more sales over the phone? Then Click Here and get a copy of Mike’s completely Updated and Revised for 2014 ebook, “The Complete Book of Phone Scripts!” You’ll be glad you did!

The 30-second Elevator Presentation

Elevator

Prepare an Elevator Presentation, Not an Elevator Pitch

A short while ago, I ran a contest on Facebook for the best Elevator Presentation. In more common terms, it’s often call “the elevator pitch,” but those of you who are already familiar with my training, know that “pitch” is one of the nasty words I teach sales pros to never say.

The idea behind the Elevator Presentation is that you should be able to describe what you do for a living in a clear and concise manner. Usually the drill for this starts with “Let’s say you step into an elevator with one other person and will be traveling 10 or more stories together. Since you’re in sales, you are always on the lookout for new leads. What would you say to this person to build their curiosity and earn the right to contact them after the elevator ride is over?”

We had dozens of entries to the contest. Many were very good. Some made me realize that I need to teach this concept in greater depth. All were interesting to read and analyze.

The first key to a successful elevator presentation is to be able to give the other person a mental picture of the benefits you provide. This means you use great descriptive words. What you don’t do is say, “I’m a real estate agent.” “I sell insurance.” “I do taxes.” Saying those things allows the listener to mentally picture whatever their pre-conceived notion is about those fields of endeavor. You want to engage them, not turn them off.

Many of the contest submissions began with “I help people…” or “I help companies…” which can be a good start. Think about how you would finish that sentence for the industry or product you represent.

Another key element in a good elevator presentation is to end it with a question. It could be as simple as “Isn’t that great?” which is a request for agreement from the other party. Or, it could be an involvement question related to one of your benefits such as, “How would something like that impact your business?”

To give you some real-life examples, I’ll post the three winning presentations here along with my comments.

3rd Place Winner – Claudio Ingleton, Century 21 King Realtor®

“I help homeowners professionally market and sell their homes. I also help first time buyers invest in the ownership of a home.  We have an exciting way to ensure people get what they want in the time that they want. Isn’t that great?!”

Note that Claudio does not start the conversation with “I’m in real estate.” Remember the purpose of the 30-second elevator presentation is to explain benefits and build curiosity. Ending his description with a question encourages the listener to respond and engage.

2nd Place Winner – Steve Cohen

“I help companies generate more income by getting them found online and make sure they have the right marketing message so their phone rings and people walk in the door.”

The benefit of generating more income will almost always be of interest to anyone in business. Online marketing is a very hot topic these days with most businesses. Most people in business after hearing this statement will say, “How do you do that?” That opens the door for Steve to either continue the discussion or get permission to contact them after the elevator ride is over. Remember, you aren’t trying to sell your product in 30 seconds. You are selling yourself just enough to capture a new lead.

1st Place Winner – Eddie Allen

“For nearly a decade, as an independent broker, I have specialized in identifying and providing solutions, by utilizing an efficient consultation and an effective educational approach with successful measures. My quality services are designed to help people with their personal, business, and financial goals, in regard to their risk management, retirement planning, and wealth preservation needs, by making available economical, value-added, timely protection options. Is protecting the people you love, along with your future,and the things you value the most, important to you?”

Even though this entry is a little longer than the others, Eddie has built in credibility by mentioning his longevity in the field and that he specializes (great word). The adjectives used help build positive mental pictures in the mind of the listeners. And, Eddie ends with a question that’s difficult to say “no” to. Few people will ever say that protecting the people they love is NOT important. Once they agree with him, Eddie has earned the right to ask for their contact information and the opportunity to serve their needs.

Invest 10 to 20 minutes as soon as possible to write your own elevator presentation. It will help you be prepared the next time you have a brief encounter with someone who might either need your service or know others who do.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. For reprint permission, contact Judy Slack (judys@tomhopkins.com).

Using Phone and Email for Sales Conversions

phone email iconsAccording to Leads360’s latest report, The Ultimate Contact Strategy – How to Best Use Phone and Email for Contact and Conversion Success, “Lead response persistence is critical to maximize conversion. Making more than one call and sending even just one email can have a positive impact on lead conversion, yet 50% of leads are never called a second time and 59% of leads never receive an email.”

When leaving a voice message for a new lead keep it simple. Leave your name and number twice – once at the beginning of the message. Again at the end. Refer to the fact that you’re calling about the information they requested. Then, state a benefit of your offering to pique their curiosity to learn more (thus increasing the chances they’ll either return your call or accept your next follow up call.) [Read more…]

Understanding Your Potential Client’s Fear When Selling Financial Services

     Think for a moment about what the greatest enemy is to the process of helping people come to a decision that’s truly good for them. What is it that jumps in and brings presentations that were previously sailing smoothly along to a screeching halt? You may think it’s the financial aspects of your offering. Perhaps you think it’s the prospective client’s inability to make a decision.

     Well, if you think any of those things, you are right. But, with selling being what it is — a bottom line business — let’s dig deeper and find the bottom line of what lies between you and your ‘future client’ coming to an agreement.

     If you look at all the enemies to the sale that you and your associates can come up with, you’ll find they have a common denominator. That common denominator is a thing called FEAR. Fear is the greatest enemy you’ll ever encounter as a financial services professional. This includes your fear, the potential client’s fear, market and trend fears and so on. [Read more…]

Rapport Building – Step 9: Getting Down to Business

Smooth transitions are critical to sales success. As the orchestrator of your time with clients, you need to be prepared to move away from the niceties of the previous steps into the sales presentation without creating any fear in the mind of the potential client.

I suggest incorporating a gentle transition phrase or paragraph into your presentation to get down to business. Here is one that I teach at nearly all of my live events: “John and Mary, let me begin by thanking you for the time we’ll share. I hope we can consider this meeting somewhat exploratory, meaning my job today as a (name your industry) professional is to show you our dynamic company and how we are helping the people we serve here in the community.”

That works well with consumers.

If you were talking with a purchasing agent or decision-maker in the B to B arena, you might alter it like this:

“Bill, let me begin by thanking you for the time we’ll share. I hope we can consider this meeting somewhat exploratory, meaning my job today as a (name your company) representative is to show you our dynamic company and how we are helping other companies like yours.”

By using the phrase “somewhat exploratory” you are relieving any perceived pressure that you’ll be pushing them to buy something today. You see, just because you have the title salesperson or sales consultant or representative in your title, a certain amount of fear or resistance will be created in the mind of the potential client. They don’t want to get sold anything. But, if they’ve agreed to meet with you, they are curious about what your product can do for them. So, with the proper words, you will gently lead them down the path of the presentation you have prepared for them…helping them to gain the knowledge they need to have in order to make a decision that is good for them.

 

Rapport Building – Step 8: Act Relaxed

If you have a nervous or stilted manner when trying to establish rapport with clients, instead of relaxing them, you’ll put them on edge. If you’re nervous, they’ll get nervous and start raising their walls of sales resistance. They’ll question your reasons for wanting to talk with them. They’ll become suspect of your every move.

In selling situations, many of your clients will respond to your demeanor in kind. What that means is that if you come across friendly and non-threatening, they’ll feel friendly and not threatened by you. In other words, you get what you give. That’s why it’s so important to be well-prepared before meeting with your clients. [Read more…]

Rapport Building – Step 7: Giving Sincere Compliments

Step #7 in the Rapport Setting process is to give a sincere compliment to your potential clients. This doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Something simple is fine as long as it’s sincere. That means it must be honest. You would never compliment someone on their “lovely home” if it was a disaster. Likewise, you wouldn’t say you like anything that you don’t honestly like.

Rule of thumb: If you don’t like something, say nothing about it. Instead, look for something else that you do like or can honestly compliment them about [Read more…]

Dressing for Business

While it’s always a good idea to be dressed professionally, being overdressed can make your potential clients feel inferior. This raises their defenses about wanting to buy anything from you. On the other hand, showing up drastically under-dressed for your potential client’s environment may cause them to dismiss you as not being serious about your career.

Champion salespeople are flexible. They keep clothing alternatives close at hand — either in their cars or in their offices. They not only consider the type of client they’ll be approaching but that client’s environment.

My best advice with regard to attire is to dress like the people your potential clients go to for advice. After all, that’s the role you want to portray with them–that of a professional advisor. [Read more…]

Rapport Building – Step 6: Finding Common Ground

In the rapport setting stage of selling, your #1 goal, as stated in other blog posts on this site, is to help people to like you, trust you and want to listen to you. If you think about selling situations you’ve been in yourself, you’ll have to admit you have the same preference. The sale just seems to flow more smoothly when you learn that you have something in common with the salesperson. So, part of your job in this stage of the sale is to learn something about your buyers that you have in common and talk about it briefly to demonstrate that commonality.

Here are some areas to consider in consumer sales (B-to-C):

  • Are they married?
  • Do they have kids? If so, how many? What ages? Are the kids involved in sports, music or other activities?
  • Are these people sports fans? What sports? What teams? (Take note if they’re wearing a local team’s jacket, shirt or baseball cap.)
  • What part of town do they live in?
  • Have they always lived in this city? If not, what area of the country did they move from? If you moved to the area from elsewhere you can briefly talk about first impressions of the area or what they enjoy most about living there. [Read more…]