Everyone knows that they need to build rapport but I find that this is one of the areas that inexperienced sales representatives fail on over and over again. The customer “gives” them something to work with and they miss it or avoid it. Typically… the sales representative is just not listening.

Sales representatives know that they have to be good listeners to be successful. So why do they miss the opportunities to build rapport when they get the chance?

Here is  an example, review this opening:

Me: Good morning Mr. Jones, my name is David Peterson with Corporate Sales Advice the online sales magazine. The purpose of my call is to get a moment of your day to discuss your participation with our magazine. If you don’t mind I would like to ask you just a few quick questions…

Mr. Jones: David I would love to but the traffic this morning was terrible and I am pressed for time.

What does the inexperienced or the lazy rep do when they hear this from the prospect?

Inexperienced Rep: Mr. Jones I can appreciate that but just let me have 3 seconds to ask you a few questions.

What would  I do? I would build immediate rapport!

Me: Mr. Jones I had that same problem this morning. Living in Atlanta it is a daily occurrence. What tricks do you have to do in your city it avoid the traffic?

When you are trying to open a call you need instant rapport. You don’t always get a chance to move on to the probing questions, nor should you always seek that chance as the inexperienced rep is trying to do. When a prospect gives you something to talk about you should talk about it – not ignore it 

People buy from the people they trust. Building rapport is the most important method to build that trust. Don’t waste an opportunity. Listen for it, then respond as soon as you hear it.

What is the worst thing that could happen with this strategy? You may not get to 2nd base TODAY with this strategy but you will at least get to 2nd base more often than not and you will be moving the sales process forward.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

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