“Make sure to ask about Jasmine’s cat” isn’t the data you would normally expect to include in your CRM platform, but relationship building is key to staying in touch with prospects. Many sales reps spend countless hours trying to figure out how to be more persuasive, how to sell more, and sometimes how to be more convincing. However, sales is not all about how to be more convincing, but rather about being a better listener and being more empathetic.
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS IN SALES
I knew Jasmine couldn’t take my call last week, because she was frazzled on her way to a vet appointment. Keeping this in mind, I might start the next conversation with “How was your cat’s vet appointment?”. Rather than jumping into our next call to talk numbers, I will make sure she’s in a comfortable headspace to discuss at all.
Building relationships in sales is all about the connection and rapport that sales reps build with their prospects, but first sales reps need to make the time and space to do it. To build good rapport with your prospect, we recommend implementing the following in your conversations, 1. Active Listening, 2. Personal Connection, 3. Transparency, and 4. Commitment.
HOW TO BUILD GOOD RAPPORT WITH YOUR PROSPECT
1. Active Listening
Active listening is a pattern of listening that keeps you engaged with your prospect in a positive way. Part of active listening is paraphrasing to show understanding and using nonverbal cues which show understanding such as facial expressions, body language, pacing, and tone of voice.
If the goal is to build good rapport with a prospect, you need to speak less and engage more in listening. For example, when I spoke with Jasmine about her cat, I made sure to let her talk a majority of the time so that I could fully understand her situation and be able to form responses that cater to it.
2. Personal Connection
Personal connection is all about building good rapport, demonstrating concern for someone, and communicating effectively. In B2B, 68% of prospects are lost because of indifference or perceived apathy, not because of mistakes.
It’s also important to find different ways to spark a conversation where you both have common interests or can relate in some way. I easily connected with Jasmine because I’m all too familiar with nervous trips to the vet. The goal is to form a connection with a prospect that is beyond the scope of just doing a sale.
Transparency is a solid technique in relationship selling because it allows you to connect with your prospects. For sales reps, it’s safe to assume that a certain level of skepticism is the norm. But 65.2% of B2B buyers said that they found value in discussing their situations with sales reps.
On the other hand, If your product or service is genuinely not a good fit, tell them! You might lose that particular sale, but they’ll appreciate the honesty and may refer others to your product or services that are a good fit.
Building relationships in sales takes accountability and commitment. If you are forgetting to follow up, missing deadlines and not delivering what was promised, you can easily lose a sale or find that the relationship will not work.
To stay committed to following up with your prospect, it’s helpful to take detailed and quality notes after conversations. But without active listening, personal connection, and transparency during conversations, it becomes difficult to build good rapport follow up in a genuine and thoughtful manner.
SMALL TALK FOR SALES SUCCESS
By caring about building relationships with prospects and taking an interest in their world, it can significantly improve the odds of securing a sale and retaining that customer for the long-term. Thankfully, Jasmine’s cat had a successful visit to the vet, and by discussing this matter and making Jasmine feel seen and heard, she agreed to another conversation with me. While the relationship selling process seems pretty simple, many sales teams forget the basics and the importance of caring more about the individual than just the sale.