Anyone who works in sales knows the importance of developing emotional skills such as empathy, cooperation and understanding in their business relationships. When properly applied, these skills build more confidence in the communication process. However, since these skills aren't normally learned in a classroom, we need to use a few techniques in order to know how to use them in everyday life. The #1 tip is to understand what rapport is.
For starters: what is rapport?
This word, of French origin, has been used in psychology as the ability to make a good impression at the beginning of a conversation and build relationships. The technique is frequently used by sales professionals, whose constant challenge is to negotiate and open doors for effective and stable business relationships.
When rapport is built in a negotiation, it's like a magical effect. Everyone feels they're being heard and listened to. We unconsciously get that comfortable feeling that the conversation is going well.
But now that we've explained what rapport is, it's important to know a few techniques before applying this concept with your sales team.
Rapport techniques for you to apply with your sales team
Even though it usually happens in an authentic and genuine way, it's possible to work on a few techniques that help better understand rapport and apply it to your contacts. Using them will increase the chances of success in establishing contact and closing a sale.
1. Establishing a connection with the customer
Seeking an initial connection is essential if you want the first contact between seller and buyer to happen in a way that leads to trust. In order to do this, it's important to do some research on the person you're going to talk to. You can use your company's CRM platforms and the social networks for that. They're great gateways towards understanding customer profiles.
Sometimes, a photo with a football team jersey is enough to break the ice, making product or service-related conversation easier from the start. That's because personalized speech creates empathy, which is fundamental in consultative sales.
Ideally, you must always take some time, before each meeting, to do some research on your prospect and understand the context in which they're inserted. Feel free to take macro aspects into account, such as the country's economy, for example.
2. Using mirroring in sales
Human beings identify themselves more immediately with similar human beings. Therefore, it's important to adapt to your client's form and tone of speech, which helps your approach. This is where the sales mirroring technique comes in.
It consists of copying the way your contact behaves. Try to mirror everything, from the tone of voice to their mood and openness in the call, the length of their sentences and everything else that's replicable.
As you do this, you'll realize that the technique generates a natural empathy due to the similar behaviors of both parties. Unconsciously, this enables more openness and acceptance towards what's being said.
3. Listen to the customer without judgment
Keeping an active listening and looking for the essence of everything that is being said by the prospect is essential for the conversation to move in the right direction. Getting rid of pre-judgments and not making judgment calls on the customer's responses and opinions is just as important.
If you feel it's necessary, feel free to recap what you heard in your own words. This way, you can check if your understanding is in line with the information the customer gave you, also demonstrating you are interested in the conversation.
4. Put yourself in the other person's shoes
Many people answer the question "what is rapport?" defining it as synonymous with empathy, and they're not mistaken. Putting yourself in the other's shoes is a fundamental technique for generating a fluid and productive conversation.
Since everyone has their own routine, tasks, obligations and commitments, it's good manners to always ask people about the best time for them to talk. It also helps if you give them an estimate of how long the conversation will last, so the customer can get organized and be all ears at the scheduled time.
Simple ways to build rapport on a daily basis
In addition to the abovementioned techniques, which help understanding rapport, there are other ways to turn the sales pitching game in your favor. They may seem silly (and even predictable) attitudes at first, but it's always good to know them and keep an eye out to ensure that none escapes your conversation with the customer:
- Treat each other by name;
- Be optimistic;
- Be patient.
Now that you know what rapport is and a few techniques to apply it on a daily basis, how about providing your sales team with some gamified training on the subject?
In addition to being able to understand all the concepts in greater depth, they'll have a playful, practical learning experience that will certainly help them in their sales process.
We have a team of specialists ready to assist you and help find ways to engage your sales team in training processes.
Click here and contact us.