Old-school sales trainers love to tell salespeople that they need to build rapport with prospects. These gurus say things like, “Your prospects need to like you. People only buy from people they like.” This approach is not only shallow — it’s also completely untrue.
People buy from those they trust and respect. If you can quickly connect with your prospects on a deeper level than just making them like you, you’ll start to build genuine relationships based on trust and respect. And those genuine relationships will lead to more sales.
Here are five tricks to instantly connect with any sales prospect so you can start to crush your sales goals. Check them out:
1. Ask a provocative question.
When you’re trying to get someone to like you, you’ll do or say anything to make the other person happy. Prospects don’t trust salespeople like that, whether they like them or not. Instead, they trust salespeople who challenge them to look at their problems and objectives in a new way. The best way to do that is by asking your prospects provocative questions.
Start your next conversation by mentioning two or three challenges you’ve observed in the industry, and then ask your prospect if any of those challenges resonate. If the answer is yes, the prospect will immediately view you as an expert and someone to be trusted. If the answer is no, and your prospect isn’t experiencing challenges you can solve, then you know right away that it’s not a good fit. This frees you up to move onto another prospect who will actually need your product or service.
2. Turn off your enthusiasm.
The typical salesperson greeting is one we’re all familiar with. “Hey! How are you today? I’m so excited to meet you and tell you all about how we can help your company!” This over-eager, cheesy greeting is the kiss of death for sales, yet most salespeople don’t even realize they’re doing it.
To see what I mean, try recording your next few prospecting phone calls. Play them back and listen carefully. Does your voice go up a few octaves when talking to prospects? If so, you need to drop the sales voice. Prospects pick up on that immediately, and it destroys any trust or respect you might have been able to establish. Instead, focus on being genuine. There’s no need to sound smooth or polished. Prospects find it refreshing to talk with a real person, and they’ll be more open to truly connecting with you.
3. Make it all about the prospect.
Prospects only care about themselves. But what do most salespeople focus on? Their products and services. This is a huge disconnect that prevents salespeople from establishing strong relationships with prospects.
You may be thinking, “No, not me. I’m always focused on the prospect.” But there’s a very good chance you’re wrong. If you ever talk about your product or service, then you’re not always focused on the prospect. It’s as simple as that. Great salespeople gain prospects’ trust by focusing on them 100 percent of the time.
4. Seek to understand key challenges.
As I said before, prospects only care about themselves. More specifically, they only care about the problems they’re currently facing. When you’re talking to a prospect, you’re only relevant to them if you can demonstrate how you can help solve those challenges.
Ask intentional questions that focus completely on your prospect’s biggest frustrations. Dig deep to understand how those frustrations are affecting the prospect. You can even try to get a dollar value for how much those challenges cost. Few salespeople are willing to dig in here, but when you do, you’ll start to nurture a relationship built on trust and respect.
5. Talk less.
This is straightforward and simple. Talk less and listen more. However much you talk during a conversation with prospects now, it’s safe to say you can stand to talk even less. Prospects should do the vast majority of the talking in any conversation. Keep this in mind while you’re engaging with new prospects, and you’ll set more meetings for successful sales.