Building rapport with prospects continues to be one of the biggest issues in the industry, which is why it was addressed during our latest home improvement webinar.
As always there were numerous questions that we could not answer during the program, so we will tackle them in this posting.
Q: Do you believe you can teach salespeople how to develop rapport?
A: The purpose of our program is to help individuals develop the language, the methods of asking questions, and assimilating the information received into a presentational manner which benefits the customer and makes them want to hear more of what you have to say.
Here is the problem. If your salespeople believe that they already develop rapport with their prospects, they will resist the information which you were given during the webinar because they have developed comfortability with their style of communication, and the use of upgraded techniques or language might interfere with that comfortability.
My suggestion is to go back and review the last webinar. Stop it frequently and find out how they are receiving the information and how it can effectively help them. Then get a commitment that they will practice this effectively for about 30 days.
Q: What is the best way to convince our salespeople to use a structured, proven sales process such as yours?
A: First they have to understand that it will benefit them. If they develop a presentation from which more sales are developed with the same number of leads, they are the prime beneficiary. Of course, your company benefits as well. Hopefully, the 3 case studies we presented (we have hundreds more) will give them some insights as to how this methodology increases the efficiency of that sales presentation, and that building rapport is “key” to effectively making a better presentation, as well as a strong aid in closing.
Q: How do I get my sales reps to improve the closing skills and find the right moment to ask for the order?
A: Two separate thoughts to remember.
- You cannot know what you do not know. If your salespeople get exposed to the material featured inThe Science of Successful In Home Selling, the very first CD in that series deals with the myths of selling in the home. By reviewing and discussing these, salespeople are often reinforced to admit what they do not know.
- If your salespeople are comfortable with what they do, they will in all probability resist a sales method which appears contrary to what they have been doing, thereby creating uncomfortability.
The overall “key” is to be consistent. If you have a strong sales methodology, it has to be practiced the same as in professional sports. Selling like all professions requires constant training and retraining. Customers buying habits are changing. The marketplace is constantly changing and competition becomes more abundant. Change is a necessary increment for their progress.
Q: I am a younger salesman, so it is harder for me to build rapport with a 30-65 year old man than a woman. How should I overcome this?
A: The question you pose is not as much about rapport as it is your attempt to identify with the habits and practices of others. If you are familiar with our system, it indicates that rapport is built by asking questions of the other party. For example: “What is your preference?” “How do you perceive this project?” “How would you like this to look?” Once these key questions are asked and the person responds, this should lead you to another question. In most “two party” sales it is important to understand that both parties have a vested interest, and the values and feelings of each must be examined. Another example: When you show a product sample instead of asking, “How do you like this?” or “What do you think of the color, overall appearance, or price?” ask the party, “How would you feel about having a product/service such as this in/on your home?”
In addition to all else, salespeople should stop trying to identify with others by gender, age, social background, racial or ethnic similarities. A salesperson’s job is to identify and uncover needs then couple these with the prospects value system and while using this information make a presentation for the product/service which meets those needs and values better than any other of their options.
Q: What are common reasons sales reps rush/hurry through an appointment?
A: In many organizations there is a constant flow of leads, which can create a conscious appraisal by the salesperson (if I don’t sell this one I will sell the next one). This theory and the manner in which they sell is probably a waste of the lead, as well as. the salesperson and customer’s time. Salespeople often grade or value the lead based on their personal value analysis. They form opinions about “good or bad” leads based on issues defined in the previous Q & A. Salespeople also misunderstand statements by the customer (often made early in the sales encounter) such as “We’re just getting prices.” or “We’re getting 3 prices and you are the first” or “We never buy from salespeople” or “We never buy from salespeople on the first call”. These and similar statements cause them to evaluate the lead as “less than”, thereby sabotaging any possibility of making an effective presentation or attempting an effective close.
A: What is one of the biggest screw-ups a salesperson can make (and therefore avoid) which can jeopardize a sale being “closed”?
Q: If you want just one, it’s talking too much. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time is devastating. Over-talking the prospect while failing to acknowledge some of the cues they may be giving, and not asking sufficient questions which reveal needs.
You asked for one of the biggest screw-ups and this in the opinion of our account executives and myself is universal. It is an issue in most forms of selling at any level. It is more so when we are in someone else’s home trying to address “needs” while much of what the customer is talking about is “wants”. Example: ”I want the price – – or a lower price.” or “Here is what I think is the best.” or something similar. This is the greatest time to ask a question which will draw out information. It is not the time to overtalk or tell some war story that has been used for years.
My final remark on this subject is as follows: The Bible says that mighty Samson fought the Philistines with a weapon fashioned out of the carcass of a jackass. Thus the expression, “Samson slew over 1,000 Philistines with “the jawbone of an ass”. To which we quickly add, “Many sales are killed each day by the same weapon”.