Let's face it, people buy from people, particularly people they trust and like - people who remind them of themselves. This is the foundation of a relationship. Therefore it is important for you, as a sales professional, to learn how to quickly build rapport and gain that trust.
In order to build a relationship, there are a number of factors to consider - one must be to first establish trust. Trust can be established in a number of ways but the quickest way is through building rapport.
Once rapport is established, and the prospect trusts you, you can proceed to ask questions and get information. Without trust, the prospect will not answer any questions. This is the most important first step in the selling process you are about to discover, the ABC, 123 Sales Results System.
In contemporary use, "building rapport" refers to achieving a sense of relationship, agreement, and harmony. However, the word "rapport" actually derives from Old French and means "to bring back". In sales, the concept of "bringing back" is key to what is meant by "building rapport."
Building rapport is an ongoing process that is only beginning early in the sales effort. Therefore, you will have both short-range and longer-range objectives for building rapport.
- Make the prospect comfortable in the sales situation.
- Begin to find out why the prospect is there- gain a sense of the prospect's need and how you can learn more about that need.
- Ensure that you will be able to continue the sales effort beyond its opening moments.
- Gain attention so that you are able to begin a dialogue with the prospect.
- Begin building a foundation of rapport between yourself and the prospect; the sense of "harmony, affinity, and agreement" that is key to your success.
- Earn the right to proceed; ensuring that the prospect will stay with you (and return if necessary), thus positioning yourself to learn about the prospect's need and complete the sale.
Keep in mind that people by people first - if they buy you, they trust you, a relationship begins. You job as a sales professional is then to maintain that relationship and start to create a secondary sales force through word of mouth - the greatest referral program going. So, stop selling and start building relationships.