Lately I have had some conversations with people who do not believe building rapport is important in today’s world of b2b selling.
Personally I feel these people are misguided and definitely unaware of the importance Rapport Building brings to the sales process. I believe it allows the b2b sales person to open more doors and gain more information than any other skill – with the exception of using the Questioning Model.
Rapport Building is all about building Trust with the customer and anyone else involved in the sales or delivery process. Trust is the foundation piece for everything else dealing with people and effective communication.
There are different levels of learning about gaining rapport, so let’s review the sources of rapport building…
First, there is the base level of rapport building that you can learn from taking a behavioral assessment. These outstanding reports give you an awareness and understanding of your natural strengths and weaknesses. A skilled coach can then show you the other styles found in the real world. Once you have an understanding of and the ability to recognize other people’s behavioral style, you can do the basic rapport building of flexing your style to match their style. Surprise, they actually listen to your conversations and information.
Second, there are NLP (Neuro Linguistics Programming) based rapport building techniques which I feel are a little more advanced. These tools or skills involve you paying more attention to the customer or other person. The things you are watching include their body language, their exact word usage, patterns of speech, eye movements when asked a question and their representational systems or exactly how they think.
Finally, you can take the NLP knowledge to the next level and actually determine the buyers Decision Making Strategies using only eight questions. The key is to listen closely to the answers and the customer or buyer will tell you exactly the way they need to be sold. Seriously, eight questions and you learn how to present your offering to the buyer or decision maker with a higher probability of success. How? You are giving them your offering in the exact format they want to make to make a decision. When used correctly, you win more contracts.
Okay, before I move on, I’m sure there are a few people who are saying this sounds highly manipulative and therefore it is bad info. That is one way to look at this information, however, I use it to have objective dialogues with my clients and customers. To me it is more important for them to feel at ease with me and have the confidence to share important information allowing me to fully solve their problems or issues.
The key element here is the intention you possess for using the rapport building techniques. If your intent is only to close the deal not matter what else – service, actually solving their issues, or pushing your product on anyone with money – then it is an unfair tactic and feel bad for both you and your poor customers.
If on the other hand, your intention is to show you understand their needs completely and only want a strong personal and business relationship based upon respect and trust – then these techniques will improve your abilities to gain strong rapport with all your contacts within a customer or potential customer’s business.
There are numerous sources for these tools and skills – do your research and find the answers and improve your sales game. If you feel you do not have the time to do this on your own, contact me using the contact me page or call me at 901-757-4434 (9 to 5 Central time in the USA). We can discuss either sources or coaching you on the rapport building techniques.