To gain a sale it is important to establish a rapport because it is always difficult to say no to a 'friend'. There are many things that we do during a conversation that can be detrimental to building a rapport. For example, how many times have you been thinking of your next question while the other person is still talking or perhaps need to change what you were going to say because the conversation wasn’t going in the direction you though it might?
More annoying for the other person is when you interrupt them because you think that you know what they are going to say, finish off their sentences, or perhaps encourage them to talk faster by talking faster yourself to get them to follow. Sometimes your thoughts may wander off if the other person talks for longer than 10 seconds. These habits show a lack of patience on your part.
Etiquette is very important in communication, your turn, my turn. When you think that the other person has finished their sentence, take a short breath to ensure that they have. This avoids over talking and shows a genuine interest in what they have to say.
It may be that you ask a question and then listen just for the answer that you want to hear, or perhaps start talking without really knowing what you are going to say. This is because you are focussed more on your own agenda. Other signs of this are losing eye contact because you are disinterested in what the other person is saying or worse you do most of the talking.
While on the subject of talking, do you raise your voice or stand up when you want the other person to stop and listen to you, or does your voice change to sound arrogant when you know that you are right. These are things that that we must eliminate if we are to truly engage with customers.
For sales representatives, get the other person to talk about themselves before you do anything else. A great initiative if you have the time is to find out about the customer and their business (if they have one), then talk about that as an introduction to your product or service. Ask an open ended question such as “How is business going?” That will get them talking.
Remember not to talk for more than 60 seconds and do is in 20 second sound bites. Another tip from past days is to get the person to say the word ‘yes’ three times in a row. This encourages the customer to form a pattern and will make it easier to make a sale.
Remember also that everyone wants to know “What’s in it for me?” Always link your service or product to an outcome that meets their lifestyle or needs. This means you need to know your product well and how it will help them. Encourage the customer to ask questions which will gain their interest but please don’t say “That’s a great question” when you are thinking of an answer. If you don’t understand their question or want more time to think about it, try “If I have understood you correctly, you are saying that ….”, or “Are you asking…”
Price is always an issue for all of us these days. If price is a stumbling block for the sale then break it down to something easily understood such as “That’s just the price of a cup of coffee each day”. Always provide your customer with choices then ask “Which option would suit you best?” This again gives them control and ownership of the decision. Finally, under-promise and over-deliver. Never say you can do something unless you are absolutely certain of it.