First Impressions

Most of my staff members have been with me for over 25 years. Working with our content day in and day out, they know it very well. When they go about their daily lives, they really notice the nuances of selling in their own personal purchasing situations. Some have recounted stories of salespeople who have literally cringed when they learn who my people work for. The salespeople will say things like: “Well, you already know what I’m going to do and say, don’t you?” (At least they use the tie-downs!) Or, “Are you grading me on my sales skills?” If you know any of my staff members, you’ll know they would be like me in these situations and just have fun with it. When their “sales experience” stories are related back to me, we often discuss how our training could help improve the sales process. In some situations, it might be awkward to make suggestions because the people they’re working with don’t seem to know they’re in sales.

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Rapport Building – Step 3: The Handshake

To shake or not to shake, that is the question. It used to be that salespeople would always shake the hands of everyone they met. In today’s world, that isn’t always the case. As with many aspects of selling, clients should be treated the way they want to be treated. And, there are people out there who just don’t want to shake your hand.

Depending on what your product is, the handshake may be inappropriate. For example, if you market products to senior citizens, there’s a likelihood that they might have arthritis in their hands and shaking hands is uncomfortable for them. Be aware and be gentle with those people. If you market products to people in the health care field, they may be averse to the handshake because of the potential spread of germs. In these situations it never hurts to ask (with a smile) “May I shake your hand?”

However, in most sales situations, a handshake is appropriate and expected. Handshakes can be very telling. If yours is weak, it makes a negative first impression on your potential clients. If it’s too strong, that can also create a negative impression. [Read more…]

7 Steps to Establishing Rapport

Before beginning your presentation, spend some time establishing rapport. This is a vital “warm up” to any sale. You have to make your potential clients comfortable with you before they’ll want to listen to you or answer your questions.

First, always use the client’s name the way they give it. If your client introduces himself as Anthony, don’t call him Tony. Don’t ever change a name. Just remember it correctly and be prepared to use it a few times during the presentation.

Next, make good eye contact. There is an old adage that if you can’t look me in the eye, I can’t trust you. I don’t know if that is necessarily true, but if they believe it, it is! [Read more…]