YourSalesSuccess e-Zine # 056 – Rapport Building on the Line - a monthly newsletter series on sales.

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All things being equal, people buy from friends. All things NOT being equal, people buy from friends

Jeffrey Gitomer,

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Hi <>,

For most sales people, rapport building on the phone is harder than it is in person.


The reason is simple.
In communications, appearance (facial expressions, body language) often communicates as much, or more, than the specific words that are spoken. That's why basic sales training always starts with how to dress, how to give a firm handshake, and remember to SMILE!


Recently, science has proven that the sales trainers were right, appearance counts.
According to the bestseller "Social Intelligence" by Daniel Goldman, the most primitive parts of the human brain are connected to the ability to read expressions and actions in order to determine whether a person is friend or foe. By having the "right" appearance, a sales person signals that he or she is a potential friend, which is the key element of rapport building.


So, in a face-to-face initial customer meeting, the prospect instantly assesses all the different elements of your appearance and then unconsciously determines whether you're worthy of rapport. That means if your attire is right and your on time and greet them with a smile you are well on the way to establishing some rapport.


On the phone the only thing the prospect has to asses you with is what you say and how you say it.
And studies have shown you've got about 5-10 seconds to make a connection. These days with everyone busy it may even be less !


So, how do you go about rapport building quickly ?

1.Before you even pick up the phone put a smile on your face. Although the other person cannot see your smile, the warmth and friendliness will come through.

2.During the greeting phase, don't just listen to what the prospect is saying, but to how the prospect is saying it. Do the words come quickly or slowly? Do they speak loudly or quietly ?

(TIP: Call the prospect's voice mail the night before the call and listen to voice tonalities in the outgoing message. Take care here because it may not be their voice.)

3. As you respond match the speed, volume and tone of their voice.
This takes the pressure off you to make small talk and fumble around trying to make a connection. Forget comments like, "Wasn't it a hot day yesterday?". They waste the customers time and they don't build rapport anyway.

4.Use the right words.
As you listened to the customer during the greeting phase you noted whether they talked fast or not. If they talk fast make your words visual or sounds words, like, "I want to see if this is clearly a good product for you" or "I wanted to sound you out on this, does our service strike a cord with you?"

If they speak slowly, talk in terms of feelings and actions. "I felt it the right time to call and find out your reaction to our proposal."

As the call goes on continue to monitor what types of words they use and adjust your words to match their visual, auditory or feeling/action words.

5. Get to the point, identify yourself immediately, and explain the purpose of the call.
Since you don't have to talk about golf or the weather to get rapport you can concentrate on the business reason for the call.
People are busy, respect their time.
That doesn't mean being impolite or stern. Convey your message in a manner that is considerate and gets the point across.

6 As the discussion progresses it's essential that you listen for and be sensitive to the mood of the prospect.
If she is obviously blunt or abrupt, just say,"I can tell you're busy" (or, "this may not be the best time for you"). "Why don't we schedule a more convenient time for me to call.".
This shows respect for them which also helps rapport building


The reason points 2 - 4 above work in rapport building is, similarity.
Remember: likeability emerges from similarity. We want to be friends with people who are similar to us and share similar interests.


This approach does require that you develop certain abilities like:

  • Listening to more than just the words while you're in conversation
  • The ability to morph your voice, subtly
  • The ability to speak in visual terms or in feeling words

Like any skill this has to be practiced and practiced in the right way.


These skills can be a bit tricky since most people, when they're in a conversation, barely hear what the other person is saying; instead, they're thinking about what they're going to say next. Similarly, when they're speaking, most people are thinking about what they're saying, rather than how they're saying it.


If you think it might be difficult to learn this, think about learning to ride a bicycle or drive a manual (stick shift) car.
How hard was that when you first tried ? Now, you can probably do it easily, without even thinking about it.
And that's the key.
You can only be a master at this when you can do it without thinking.


When you first start using these techniques it probably makes sense to take a bit of a pause before you respond to get your words and voice right. But after some time it should become automatic.

Want to know more about building rapport click here.


Here's to YourSalesSuccess.


If you are interested in learning more about selling, please feel free to contact me via the coaching page on my website


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If you wish to subscribe to this newsletter please go to the subscription page on my website by clicking here.


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My name is Greg Woodley. I have been a successful salesman for 23 years and would like to help other people achieve a successful sales life.

After retiring from full time work I decided to devote my time to helping other sales people achieve their desires.

So, I have been studying coaching and training techniques to ensure I can help you attain YourSalesSuccess.

If you want to discuss a coaching relationship please contact me via the following link and we can arrange a free complimentary session or perhaps you would like to check out some of my thoughts at my website.


Regards Greg



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