One of the most important steps in a sales process is building rapport. What is rapport? The dictionary definition is relation, connection, especially harmonious or sympathetic relation or simply put commonality. The salesperson must find common ground. Statistics have shown 8 out of 10 people make a purchase because they like the salesperson or they had a good rapport with the salesperson. Let’s explore some ways to build rapport.
The most common way to build rapport with a stranger is to ask questions. Some call it the “warm up” to the presentation. You may ask, “do you like football” no they like baseball. You may ask “do you like to fish”, no they like to hunt. “Do you have kids”, yes.” Great, I have kids too!” Now we have something in common to bond about. Using this technique is not always full proof. You may find with some people there really is no common ground. That’s when you have to turn to other means.
The most effective way to build rapport rather quickly is a technique called mirroring and matching. Pay special attention to their body language, which is 78% of communication. It’s not what you say but how you say it. Notice how the person is sitting, are they leaning forward or laying back? How about their voice qualities, which is 15% of communication? Do they talk soft or do they speak loud? Do they speak fast or do they speak slow? When someone communicates to you as a salesperson in their fashion, what they are really saying to you is “this is how I like to be communicated to.” You have to match their level of communication not the other way around.
The last technique of building rapport is sincerely caring about the prospect and not just making a sale. People can smell a salesperson like that from a mile away. These are the agents that bring in a lot applications but nothing stays on the books. You sincerely care about the prospect by listening to their wants and needs. Then you position your products or services to fix their issue. Your “cure” has to be better than their situation in order to build a client base for years to come. You are a problem solver not just a salesperson.
Never forget a prospect “never cares how much you know until they know how much you care”.
Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger and team leader with over 25 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.