Building Customer Trust for Increased Sales30 November 2009 3:44 am Sales Techniques
It is common knowledge that people buy from people they like and trust. Your first objective in a sales call is to gain the prospect’s trust and in the process, get them to like you. This is known as rapport and it is the first step in this eight step Sales Process.
Without trust, prospects will mislead you and will not honestly answer your questions. You will be wasting valuable time. Traditional sales techniques can no longer be applied as most potential clients are well aware of that type of sales approach and will avoid you at all costs.
Yes, you are the most important person in the world, nonetheless, when you have a customer in front of you, he/she becomes more important. Your customer must become your priority.
At one time, we were told to follow the golden rule and “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you”. “YOU” was the main focus. However, times have changed and so has the rule. The new rule, identified as the Platinum Rule, is “Do onto others as they would do onto themselves.” Note that “YOU” has been eliminated. The time has come to accept that it is not all about you or your products and services, or your organization. It is entirely about the customer.
You must approach the sales call by focusing solely on the customer and not on yourself or what you have to offer. Instead of making appointments, ask to be invited. Instead of walking in with your bag of tricks and props, walk in with nothing but a notepad. You are making a positive statement that you are there to listen and take notes. Your customer now feels important and in control.
When you meet the customer, focus exclusively on them. Be aware! People respect others who are reminiscent of themselves. You must find commonality as quickly as possible.
One of the most powerful techniques to establish commonality or to build rapport is found in Nero Linguistic Programming (NLP). Extensive research discovered that people are able to establish rapport not through words, but through body language. The NLP Rapport Pie credits body language with 70% of rapport building, 23% tonality and only 7% attributed to words.
You have heard it before; your body language speaks louder than words. It is now a fact. Whenever you meet a prospect for the first time, they begin to judge you based on your body language. It is best to walk in holding a note book rather than a bag of props, and make a positive first impression.
The first step to building rapport with your prospects is to exude confidence and create a comfortable atmosphere. This technique is known as Mirror and Matching. You want to mirror and match body language, tonality and words.
Body language takes many forms. What have we always been told about a handshake? Well, for one, we’ve been encouraged to have a firm handshake. However, you don’t necessarily want to overpower your customer. You want to establish a good rapport.
Mirror and matching refers to taking your clues from the client. If his/her handshake is firm, yours should be too. The same applies for all body language. For example, you might try to stand like they stand, walk like they walk, and sit like they sit. However, a word of caution, do not mimic them. You want to appear natural, therefore, do not mirror and match at the same moment. Let your body language match theirs over a period of time in a very subtle manner.
The same mirror and match applies to tonality, hence you must listen carefully as they speak and be attuned to their tone, speed and expression.
Once you have mastered the appropriate body language and have achieved a rapport with the customer, ask them an open ended question. This would be a question that only they can answer. Show the customer you are sincerely interested in his/her life, family, job and organization. Your aim is to strike up a conversation. The more the customer relates, the more you listen and learn. You are well on the road to gaining their trust and amity.
Remember, the customer is #1. Treat them with sincerity and respect. You will know when you have established a good rapport. The customer will be comfortable in your presence and will answer you questions in detail. Once you have established a genuine rapport, you can move on to the next step in the sales process.