Builds rapport before talking business

CONNECTS: Builds rapport before talking business

Rapport first. Then the business request. Acclaimed business writer and author Seth Godin shares a story in his blog of how he was charmed into charity by a stranger in New York City. Those were times when Big Apple had old school parking meters. To park you had to push a quarter (25 cents coin) into the parking meter. And like in most cities of the world, coins were always in short supply.

Seth Godin is looking to finish parking one day and a person, who seems to be homeless, comes up to him and says, "Do you have a dollar for four quarters?" He holds out his hand and there are four quarters in his palm. Instantly curious, Seth Godin hands him a dollar bill and accepts the four quarters. Now, out of the blue, the man turns to Godin again and asks “Can you spare me a quarter?”

Godin is fascinated. He confesses in his blog: “First, he engaged me. A fair trade, one that perhaps even benefited me, not him. Now, we have a relationship. Now, he knows I have a quarter (in my hand, even). So, his next request is much more difficult to turn down” On the other hand, if he had just walked to Godin and asked him for 25 cents, you can bet he wouldn’t have got it. The sales lesson here?. Interact first, sell second.

Which is why experienced salespeople, first build rapport before they talk business. they don’t plunge into business straightaway. After the introductions, smiles, socially distanced namastes or hand waves are all done, they work to quickly create rapport. They pick a topic of shared interest to get the conversation off to a pleasant start. Weather, restart experience, traffic, air quality, anything is fair game provided it breaks the ice and gets the Customer to open up. This works even better when you meet virtually. In virtual sales meetings, business begins when you share your screen with the Customer. And, therefore, you should seek to establish rapport before the screen is shared

Sales veterans recognise the universal truth that buying involves emotions and it is important to gain acceptance as a person. They create a good contact climate through rapport building. Then use that special connect to nurture a long term Customer relationship

Action Question: In your next sales meeting how can you create a better connect with the Customer ahead of formal business?

Related Reading: Mercuri Mail Issue on Virtues of Virtual Selling

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