There is No Secret to establishing rapport; it’s a process! In our last post we discussed Professional Appearance; the non-verbal actions necessary to get a step ahead when starting a new relationship or establishing rapport with a prospect. The next step has a dual-skill requirement; the first having prior knowledge of the prospect you are meeting; and of course, the other is when you do not. It is CRITICAL that in both cases, moving forward in the relationship requires SINCERITY in words and actions. Patronization or just plain old bull will be spotted quickly and your credibility heads towards the gutter!
For today, we will focus on the situation where we have prior knowledge of the person (or people) we are meeting. As an example, we will imagine that we are in the insurance-selling business and we have an appointment with a married couple. We know from their prequalification discussion with our inside sales team that they own a small business, are in their mid-forties, and have two teenage sons. What can we do with this information that will fast track our rapport building leading to near instantaneous credibility?
Prior to the meeting you Google (or any credible search engine) their names; separately. Our goal is to obtain as much background information possible looking for clues to present the correct products as well as find COMMON INTERESTS. Common interests take your rapport building from 0-60 in milliseconds!
So, we find out that Mr. & Mrs. Prospect were married in Aspen, CO, seventeen years ago (the announcement and pictures were featured in the hometown newspaper). They live in a 3,500 sqft home in an upscale neighborhood. The children, ages 14 & 16 attend Commission High School and play numerous sports (articles from local paper about the Prospect’s athletic abilities). Additionally, you discover Mr. Prospect attended college on a golf scholarship and spent several years on the mini tours before deciding to start his own business. Mrs. Prospect attended Seminary and there is an announcement where she has been ordained as a minister and volunteers at the town’s largest church. Lastly, you see an obituary for Mr. Prospect, Sr., indicating he died at age 65, after suffering years from cancer.
What do we do with this information? We first can assume they can afford what we are selling based on the value of the house on the county tax role. Then, we look for common ground. Do you know any of the family? Do you attend the same church? Did you attend the same high school as the children? Do you play golf? Any of your family clergy? Ever visited Aspen? You get the point….just ONE connection can break the ice when you say something like, “when preparing for the meeting I came across an article where you played college golf and then went on to the pros for a short time. My son/brother/cousin is considering a similar path. Would you be willing to talk to him/her about your experiences?” (It will only work if this is TRUE!)
The instantaneous rapport you will have with your new prospects is now complete; all because of taking a few minutes to research and find a common connection. Now after the pleasantries you are getting to the business part. What products have you chosen to present?
You already guessed, right? (Remember, There Is No Secret!) Life insurance, cancer insurance, disability insurance, and long-term care insurance, correct? Mr. Prospect has a family to consider and Mrs. Prospect volunteers her time so no income readily available to pay bills should he pass unexpectedly. With two teenage sons to think about as well along with Mr. Prospect’s family having a history of cancer requiring long-term treatment where he may not be able to work AND the possibility of a premature death. The major point here is that you have established a presentation with products the Prospect’s can identify! It is not a SECRET! (They will be impressed with your knowledge of their situation as well.)
There is No Secret to Sales Success! Establishing rapport is a process that will lead to many commissions when you have a professional appearance, obtain information allowing you to find common ground, and match your products to the needs of the prospect!!