Category Archives: Sales Dialogues

August 26th, 2016

4 Tips for Building Rapport

tips for building rapport

Rapport building in crucial, in fact, the most important advice for building rapport I can give is to make it as significant a part of the sales call as the Need Dialogue and Objection Resolution. This requires thorough preparation, and sales professionals need to acknowledge and embrace the opening element of rapport building. So, how can they do this?

Building Rapport Tip #1: Do your homework

Before any meeting, I do my research. I go to LinkedIn and Twitter and other social sites to look up the people I’m meeting with. I want to know what they’re interested in, what businesses they follow, what boards they sit on, what charities are important to them. This allows me to open with something connected to their interests.

“I know we want to get down to business, but before we start, I just want to commend you on your volunteer work with XYZ. I myself am on the board of ABC, so it sounds like we have a lot in common. I’d like to talk with you about that sometime.”

This kind of opener takes seconds and builds a bridge. The connection between our two volunteer endeavors is much more authentic than if I had commented on a fishing trophy hanging on the wall. Also, I haven’t taken too much time away from the meeting. My preparation allows rapport building to be shorter, more sincere, and more valuable » Continue Reading.

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August 23rd, 2016

Why Rapport Building is Crucial

Why Rapport Building is Crucial in Sales

It seems to be a no-brainer that rapport building with customers is crucial for getting sales, however building rapport is a skill that many sales professionals struggle to master. But the reasons for doing so go well beyond any one sale or business engagement.

3 Reasons Rapport Building is Essential in Sales

The many reasons relationship and rapport building are essential include the following:

1) Rapport building is a critical step for any sales professional in earning the right to ask tough business questions in meetings and presentations. It is both difficult and awkward to ask tough questions if you haven’t earned the right to do so, and it’s hard to earn the right without some form of a relationship with the customer.

2) Consultative selling requires sales professionals to ask good, even penetrating, questions, and without the firm basis of an established relationship, these questions will never fly. If the customer thinks you’re asking questions just to get what you need to make a sale, it will be a short conversation indeed.

3) Rapport building is really about connecting. It’s about establishing a relationship. And the reason we, as sales professionals, do it is to set the stage for collaboration. We want to demonstrate our interest in win-win solutions, not win-lose. To do that, we have to empathize, show support, and acknowledge appropriately.

Rapport Building Helps You Earn the Right to » Continue Reading.

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August 18th, 2016

3 Reasons Sales Professionals Struggle to Build Rapport

How to build rapport

The ability to build rapport with others should be natural for sales professionals. It’s part human nature, part caring about customers, and a generous touch of sincere interest and curiosity.

Yet sales professionals often have a tough time establishing rapport. Even though they seem so sanguine and extroverted, they struggle with asking questions and probing gently about their customers’ personal lives and interests.

3 Reasons Sales Professionals Struggle to Build Rapport

1) Sales professionals may not see the need to build rapport, especially if they’re working with the same customers over and over again. A perfect example of this comes from one of my own clients. Its sales professionals call on the same handful of customers on a weekly basis. They’re so familiar with their customers that they go into meetings and jump right to business. They don’t understand the need to begin with some personal conversation first, and they question “wasting time” with small talk. What they don’t understand is the essential need to first establish personal links with their clients in each meeting. Moreover, they don’t understand what they’re sacrificing by not taking the time to discover if anything is new or different or if anything has changed with their customers or their business situations.

2) Sales professionals have been told that meetings should be strictly about business. This is old-school thinking, yet the perception persists. They’re afraid to spend too much time with small talk because they think » Continue Reading.

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August 16th, 2016

4 Simple Steps to Resolving Sales Objections

Steps to Addressing Sales Objections

Objections are an inherent part of a sales professional’s job. It is virtually impossible to get through a sales opportunity without hearing at least one sales objection from the customer.

It could be as simple as a direct question to gain better understanding, or it could be as subtle as trying to assess a competitor’s claim. It could also be as uncertain as trying to second guess other decision makers within the customer’s organization.

Recognizing and addressing sales objections is critical to moving opportunities through the sales pipeline. Working with customers to resolve their concerns builds trust and credibility, as sales professionals demonstrate their commitment to truly meeting customers’ needs — not just pushing their company’s products.

In today’s environment of ultra-informed buyers, customers increasingly push back against canned sales messages and unclear benefits. They test potential partners, throwing up objections that are sometimes raised only to see how the sales professional will act. They want to know their questions will be answered and their concerns addressed. As a result, sales professionals have to demonstrate their ability to handle objections and keep the dialogue moving in order to be seen as credible and valued partners.

4 Steps to Successfully Resolving Sales Objections

To do this takes four simple steps, which together form the basis of Richardson’s objection resolution model:

Neutrally acknowledge the objection Ask open-ended questions to understand what is really driving » Continue Reading.

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August 9th, 2016

Don’t Fear Customer Objections – Welcome Them!

Customer Objections Are Good!

Anyone in sales probably knows that it is not a field for the fainthearted. If your ego bruises easily or if you take no for a final answer, then maybe selling is not for you. The longer you work as a sales professional, the more objections you’re bound to hear from prospects and customers. After all, customer objections are natural parts of the sales cycle. But objections are nothing to fear. In fact, objections should be encouraged because they allow sales professionals second chances to position their value.

Customer Objections Are a Good Thing

It is far worse when customers do not voice their objections. If, instead, they withdraw or go silent, or if they decline your proposal without a full explanation, there’s little recourse. It’s hard to probe an issue that you don’t know is a problem. There’s no natural follow-up to a lack of feedback. In other words, objections are really what I term “buying questions.”

Preparing to Overcome Customer Objections

Objections can occur at any point in the sales dialogue — from the very first meeting to exploring needs, from delivering insights to positioning solutions, and also in closing, negotiating, and following up to maintain relationships.

Part of your preparation before any sales meeting should be to anticipate objections, which could relate to any, all, or none of the following:

Cost: upfront price or continuing expenses Timing: of project or budget cycle Implementation: complexity or any additional » Continue Reading.

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March 30th, 2016

Five Tips to Establish Rapport with Prospects and Clients

build a rapport

In my previous blog post I reviewed Why Building Rapport Matters.  As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So, before you make that next call or meet that next prospect, take the time to think about how you will establish rapport.Today, here are five tips to consider incorporating into your strategy to establish rapport and maintaining good relationships with clients:

Be genuine. First and foremost, be People can sense if you are faking interest, and they will be turned off right away. They make up their mind about who you are in the first minutes of an interaction. If they are not comfortable enough with you to trust your genuine interest, the relationship will be in trouble from the first conversation. Find commonality. Use social media tools like LinkedIn to find potential commonalities. Might your paths have crossed in a previous career? Did you work with someone the prospect has worked with? Did you go to the same school? Live in the same town? Beyond business commonalities, you may uncover personal commonalities, such as favorite bands, vacation spots, or family ties. Not all touch points can be uncovered online; sometimes, it is a matter of having a natural dialogue and good listening skills. That was how I learned that I knew the cousin of a prospect that I spoke with recently. While discovering a common acquaintance won’t guarantee business, it does open » Continue Reading.

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March 30th, 2016

When Warm and Fuzzy Doesn’t Build Rapport

building rapport

Building rapport is a fundamental component of any client or prospect interaction. However, it still tends to get overlooked, even though it is a key element in establishing and expanding relationships. Rapport is the first step in Relating, which with Presence, Questioning, Listening, Positioning, and Checking, forms Richardson’s Six Critical Skills for effective client dialogues.

Building rapport is where sales professionals break the ice with prospects. Because this is often associated with chitchat and social graces, few sales professionals really prepare when building rapport. They take the Popeye approach: “I yam what I yam.” As a result, they miss the opportunity to differentiate themselves and make an important connection.

Building rapport with a sales prospect can be established or thwarted in minutes. And, contrary to popular belief, it is not all about being warm and fuzzy. Sometimes you are able to break that wall down, and sometimes you cannot, but I always try. It can be difficult when you don’t have a genuine connection with clients. How many times are you going to talk about the weather? You also don’t want to sound bored or like you are faking conversation.

This does not mean that without rapport, you will never win the business. It just makes interactions more difficult or awkward. You risk not having a champion, so there will be no one to advocate for you on the client side.

How do you win over clients if » Continue Reading.

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March 28th, 2016

Why Building Rapport Matters

Building Rapport Creates Long Lasting Connections

I have been working with a prospect over the past few weeks, and it has been a good journey. She is not even a confirmed client yet, but I am extremely excited about the possibilities. What makes me so optimistic, either for the short-term opportunity or a future relationship, is how we connected instantly.

There are different ways to build rapport. On a personal level, building rapport can be accomplished by developing commonalities in life: living in the same town, having the same vacation experience, what someone reads like articles or a newsletter, knowing the same people, etc. On a professional level, rapport can be built by simply giving free advice and making a genuine connection and being able to converse about similar interests. This can be as basic as a personal talk or just being sincere in your efforts about what is communicated to your prospects and demonstrating that you care about their needs and hope to become a true partner.

In the case of the prospect that I mentioned earlier, we did not have a personal connection at first. She had a clear need. She knew what she wanted to do, and she was doing everything the right way. Her next step was to choose a partner from the outside to come in and train her people.

Our connection came through an open and engaging dialogue. I listened closely to what she was saying, » Continue Reading.

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