I wish all my prospects were just like me — it would be so much easier to sell to them! But that’s just not the case. People are who they are, and it’s our job as salespeople to make them feel comfortable with us.
One very effective rapport-building technique is to mirror your prospects’ behavior. Reflecting their body language and demeanor back to them quickly puts prospects at ease — the first step in building a relationship with them.
The toughest person I ever had to deal with was a man called Don. He was wonderful — seriously — a real nice guy. But I dreaded talking to him. Before picking up the phone, I’d have to close my eyes, take a long, deep breath and then slowly exhale. I would do this multiple times to calm myself down before calling. Why? Because Don was the world’s slowest talker.
If I caught him on the phone, I might say “Hi Don. This is Jill Konrath calling.”
“Ohhhh, Jillllll. Howwwww niiiiiice of yoouu to callllll. Weee’ve beeen trying to deeeciiiiide if Tuuuuuuuesdaaaaay or Thurrrrrsdaaaaay is beeeeeettttter for the demonnnstraation.”
It drove me crazy. But he never knew, because I would respond, “Donnnn. Howwwww abouuuuut Thurrrrrsdaaaaay? It’s beeeetter for meeeeeee.”
Our entire conversation went at that speed — on purpose. If I’d talked to him at my normal speed, I think I might have scared him to death. My natural way of communicating — which is a bit fast and to the point — was totally out of sync with his slower, gentler approach.
Because I recognized this, I chose to build rapport with Don in a way that made him feel comfortable. It was tough for me, but this wasn’t about me. It was about treating Don in the way he wanted to be treated.
We need to think about this with all our prospects. It can go along way toward making them feel at ease with us.
Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day! More tips:
Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.