You just gave your best sales pitch ever. You connected completely with every one in the room. The client was ecstatic. You were in the zone. You and the client bonded like superglue. The result? The client bought every service and product you have.
How did you DO that?
I bet you built rapport with your client.
That's how superstar salespeople do it. They connect with people. They're likable. They hone in on the needs and wants of the client like a heat-seeking missile. They have charisma. They're easy to do business with. They've polished their rough edges. They make friends with the client. And fast.
Unfortunately, some salespeople just aren't skilled at rapport-building. They actually rub clients the wrong way, or make such a bland presentation that it's all the client can do to keep from yawning.
To learn how to be more convincing, and hence to sell more, you absolutely need to know how rapport operates. I find it quite helpful to coach salespeople and executives first, on what not to do. I want to give you my big list of client-insulting, rapport-squashing, deal-killing things you must never do during a sales pitch.
Ready? Here we go with the most obvious sales rapport gaffs first.
These are the truly dumb, shoot-yourself-in-the-foot, make-these-and-you're-dead-before-you-begin errors that can often instantly kill client rapport:
- Arriving late.
- Being unprepared.
- Offending the client.
- Having poor manners.
- Dressing inappropriately.
- Having poor personal hygiene.
- Using sexist or other inappropriate humor or stories.
- Using slang or jargon the client does not understand.
- Talking down to the client.
- Not showing enthusiasm.
- Not believing in or having passion for your product or service.
Enough said? Commit any of those 11 sales sins and you'll be heading out your client's door faster than a schoolboy at the 3 o'clock bell.
Now to the less obvious, but equally nasty rapport-killers.
- Not Doing Any Client Research. They'll wonder why you are even standing in front of them.
- Not Matching The Formality Level Of The Client. Does the client want and expect a formal or casual pitch? Give them what they want.
- Not Using Small Talk Or Schmooze Time Before The Pitch Begins. This is where the real rapport begins when you get to know your client as a person, not just as a prospect. They can feel this.
- Not Using The Client's Name. Need I say more?
- Not Making Eye Contact With Everyone In The Room. Talk WITH people, not at them.
- Not Using Multi-Gender Words, Stories And Examples. There's nothing more insulting to constantly hear "he and his" when you are not a he.
- Not Smiling Or Showing Charisma. Come on, now, you're in sales, right?
- Doing A Data Dump. The client can call up their accountant and get this any day of the week.
- Closing Before The Client Has Shown Buying Signals. OK, so you're aggressive, but the client may not like this.
- Pressuring The Client To Buy. Does anyone like this?
So there you have it. My top ten (and then some) list of things you must not do if you want to have any chance at building rapport with your clients. Now, picture yourself smiling warmly at your next client, having them smiling back at you, and feeling the connection beginning to flow between the two of you. Then make that sale!