As our world becomes more trapped in technology, you can bet that your big customers will expect more personalization than ever. This is just how customers work – in the absence of huge technological divides, buyers often choose business partners over customer service issues. Here are the best and most creative ways to really build your rapport when conducting sales.
Research Your Target
It is easier than ever to conduct research on decision makers for prospective buyers. LinkedIn should become your sales floor’s best friend. Use this information to establish a more personal connection. Start from the very beginning of the call – ask for the target by name, not for the “person in charge of X or Y.”
And yes–depending on the acuity of your salespeople, it may be best to just hang up the phone if you cannot talk to the decision maker that you have researched. A bad call will get around the office. If your target is a high-ranking executive, you may never get to him or her if the gatekeepers do not like you.
Personal Conversations Work
Your prospects know what you are there for. You do not have to push sales in the modern business landscape. As a matter of fact, big buyers hate this strategy. The Internet has spoiled us all, and we carry our entitled one-click-away attitudes straight into our phone calls.
Use the information that you have gleaned from your pre-call work to begin the call on a personal note. Use real-time events as well. Is it close to a holiday, or is it around lunchtime in the workday? Do you have a common interest or even an alma mater? Perhaps management can set up the calls on the sales floor to match agents with clients on one of these points before the calls are even made.
Honesty is the Best Policy
There are no secrets in the Age of Information. Do not try to lie your way into a sale. More importantly, realize that all of those “safe responses” are bringing you any closer to a sale–your prospect is getting bored and looking for an out. If you want to create rapport with your customers, you must open the lines of communication through honesty.
Many prospects come into a conversation with a salesperson thinking that salesperson will say anything to make a close. If you divert that notion with blunt honesty, you disarm your prospect. They will begin listening to you more, which means that you can sell more easily (when you get to that part of the conversation).
Getting the Small Yes
If you get a small yes on an innocuous subject, you can get the yes’s that really matter later on. This is why you begin the conversation on common subjects and stay off business for the first few minutes. You want to get your prospect in a habit of saying “yes” to you.
Ask questions that lead naturally into a yes at the beginning of the conversation. You may get some “no’s,” but keep your attitude positive. Your prospect will appreciate this, trust you more, and give you more “yes’s” as you build rapport.