How do you build rapport with your prospect? People LOVE to talk about themselves. Listen… But listen on a very deep level.
Talking to an older woman…How many kids do you have? “5! Yup 5.” (She’s used to everyone expressing shock at that number.) Are they close by? “Well, I have one girl who’s got a MASTERS DEGREE teaching at this University out west, and her husband teaches Industrial Tech at a high school near there. His work with metal and wood are awesome, and she’s teaching teachers! They have 2 adorable little girls, 9 and 4. I have another girl out on the east coast who works in retail and is trying to get into the book editing field, and her husband plays in the army band…” and she goes on and on. (She’s proud to have 5 kids, but you hear some disappointment with some of them.) I know you work the floor here in the department store, are you trying for that manager’s position? “Why yes! How did you know? Well, I’m trying to scrape up some college money for the grand kids…” I bet you’d be a terrific manager! “Well I don’t know, but the hours and the money would be better.” She’s in your business, so you are not trying to sell her something she already has access to. You’re trying to sell YOU to her. She has to know you care. What can you do that will aid her in her goals?
Why would you want to sell yourself to this person in your business? She won’t make you any profit, won’t boost your position in the sales contests, won’t help you get promoted. If you don’t have people that believe in you and believe you care (and you can’t fake that) they won’t follow you, and they won’t do their best in their area for you.
Build rapport, find a need. Fill it.
Build rapport, expose a need. Fill it.
Build rapport, create a need. Fill it.
The 1st two are the most honorable ways to sell something. The woman from the story has a need: more time with her grand kids, and more money so she doesn’t have to work so long and depend on overtime. She believes that you can help her get this need filled in some way. You have sold her belief in you. The find a need is discovering what the prospect is working toward. They have a goal in mind. The expose a need is helping the prospect discover a need they couldn’t define. For instance you ask Charlie, “Charlie, you seem down today. What’s going on?” “My car is making funny noises, my computer is acting up and my kids are screaming all the time that I don’t spend any time with them. I’m exhausted.” Sounds like you’re under a lot of stress! How do you usually go about relieving some of that pressure? “Well, the missus and I go out for dinner and have some wine and forget about things we can’t handle.” Can you handle the stress at the source? “You mean fix the car and the computer and get duct tape for the kids?” Maybe, but what if you ask them for help? What if one of them knows someone that works on cars or computers? What if you explain to the kids that when you spend time away from them, you miss them, but you get more money to spend on them if you work extra? It sounds to me that you need some help carrying the load. “That might work!” The need was deeper than Charlie was looking. Now he has a plan and an approach to solve the problem.
The last one is nasty. Look up the history of deodorant and anti-antiperspirant. For 1000’s of years, people didn’t worry about body odor. Then in 1888, it was decided that in close proximity, body odor was bad, and since then, EVERYONE wants to smell like flowers and sagebrush and sea breezes. The need was created. It is the same thing as the “need” for a new car, for fashion accessories, for the latest in technology, the full set of LOTR and Hobbit movies… When you go to businesses, some glom onto the latest motivational management trends. They hire consultants because someone somewhere said you could increase productivity if you employed motivational speakers and put up-lifting posters everywhere. If they sold their employees on the mission of the business they’re in, and sold them on the idea that they cared for their employees and their families, they might not have to go out of their way to get the best from their crew. The catch is that they have to actually care for their employees, and though most business schools tell them to “empower” their workers, they tell them not to get personally attached because 6 months from now, you’ll have to fire them. But if you have a stake in your employees’ welfare, they will have a stake in the company’s, and it might not come to that situation simply because everyone is working toward the success of the business.
So build rapport–get to know your people and your prospects.
Find or Expose a need by asking the questions.
Fill the need.