Creating & Building Rapport … The 7 Second Rule!
“Best Way to Sell Something: Don’t sell anything. Earn the Awareness, Respect, and Trust of those who might buy” Quote by Rand Fishkin
I wonder how many of our readers have heard of the 7 Second Rule? I guess most people will be familiar with the phrase, but do we really recognise how far reaching the effects of this rule can be in sales … in a nutshell it’s what it says on the tin!
That 7 seconds is the time it takes for the people we have gained introductions with or booked sales meetings with, to create an impression and it’s their first impression of us!
It is the same with everyone we introduce ourselves to in the sales arena, and the very best advice for anyone at the start of building any sales relationship is to use this opportunity to the very best of your abilities.
Think about it, plan it, work it, and give it your very best shot because the benefits can be so much more than experiencing a great meeting and ultimately a sale. This first impression is the start of a client relationship and, long after a sale is made, the root of good initial relationships develop into us being able to create strong customer service which can bring additional business, referrals and introductions to others.
Creating and building rapport from that first impression is our platform for presenting ourselves and our companies. We are setting the scene for our rendition of whatever product or service we are introducing and selling it’s the substance behind our Elevator pitch.
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Techniques for Building Rapport
Body language and personal appearance
The first thing to master and use – and we’ve all got one – is our smile, it’s the best ice breaker and however we feel about whoever we’re meeting, we need to use it. We even train to smile when we’re on the phone because it comes across in our tone of voice. A smile projects warmth, care and most importantly an interest, which means we are focusing on our prospect or our client and ready to listen to what they have to say. As part of building rapport, we need to identify with them; what is important to them, what are their needs, what do they aspire to in terms of their own business goals and what are their problems.
Along with direct eye contact it is the most important part of an introductory meeting. Although behavioural patterns are much more relaxed these days couple this with a good old firm handshake and we are setting the stage for presenting our offering and ensuring a good reception. We all know how important body language is, and we are all masters of our own destiny in getting it right and making sure our prospect really wants to buy from us.
The next important fact to remember about first meetings and creating the right impressions is the golden rule of listening, we talked about the 2 ears and 1 mouth scenario in our last sales article and why it is so important to listen to our prospects, and understand what they do, what they need and what makes them tick. Salespeople who dive into meetings with too much banter and talk incessantly about themselves and their own offerings are usually the ones who come across as too pushy, insincere, and only interested in actually making a sale.
Remembering that in our introduction to sales article we talked about how important it was to try and create the right environment that inspired our prospects to buy from us, rather than us selling and manipulating them into buying, tells us why building rapport is so important.
It’s the building of that rapport which engenders trust amongst our audiences, and subsequently makes them feel comfortable, open, and able to talk freely about their business, their customers, suppliers, and everyday business issues.
During this process we can gain a clear insight into identifying some potential needs and where there might be a potentially good fit for our products or services to add value to their operation. This opens doors and gives options because it can almost be like the natural progression of a conversation to then talk about what we do, and present our offering more as an option for them and consideration as a solution.
If we have started to build the rapport successfully and created the right impressions with these prospects from the start they will begin to question us, and then as their options become clear they can begin to see how and where we can help them to progress and ultimately, we are then ticking the “what’s in it for them” box … and that’s when they can start to buy from us.
Of course that all makes sales sound relatively easy; and realistically we’re all working in a world surrounded by uncertainty in our economy, and huge levels of competition … so we know that ‘easy wins’ don’t come around often. There are no guarantees, but mindset is so important in sales and pitching with a plan … and as long we maintain the levels of activity in speaking to as many prospects as we can using these basic rules and create the right impressions, sales will come.
There are other sales techniques like “Questioning Techniques” and “Closing the Sale” which we will cover in further articles, but the most important aspect of Sales is getting off to a great start and creating that all so important first, and usually lasting, impression.
Selling is a skill that can be studied and learned – if you’re not skilled at selling then seek expert help and advice to provide you with the support and training to help your sales processes.