Due to the importance and numerous variables in establishing Rapport, the next few posts will be dedicated to what is believed to be the critical elements of the subject. There Is No Secret to establishing rapport, it is a process of learning and being aware of your actions!
Because you will have opportunities to establish rapport in person, over the phone, or through email/text, we will focus today on the elements of meeting “in person.” This can be for the very first interaction or with a prospect that you have learned about due to an inquiry or referral. For each of these, the following is critical to master.
Before the first interaction with another human, especially a salesperson, you are being judged; even without a word spoken. It is important to mitigate as much prejudgment as possible beforehand. Mastering your appearance; appropriate dress (industry specific), hygiene, confident body language, and direct eye contact are often the best preemptive steps you can take.
Imagine going to the emergency room for treatment and the doctors and nurses are all in shorts, tank tops, and flip flops. What is your judgement? If all in the emergency room are dressed appropriately, however the men’s hairdos are mohawks and the women’s hair are all spiked and multicolored (no disrespect for either of these in the right situation), what is your judgement now? Take it a step further and they meet your expectations of professional appearance, however they all have dirt under their fingernails from last night’s gardening and are slumped in depression. Get the point? It cannot be underestimated the pre-spoken impression one makes on another!
Let’s say you have now passed the test by having a professional appearance and are ready to verbally interact. Standing straight, smiling, and having direct eye contact are your next tasks. (If you are unable to greet another or have an ongoing conversation without direct eye contact, stop reading now and go practice on your spouse, children, coworkers, or friends. As a professional sales executive, most every action you take going forward is subject to failure; or at best a lengthier time to establish a trusted relationship without Direct Eye Contact.) In most cultures, while standing straight you now extend your right hand, look the person directly in the eye and introduce yourself. Say your name with a short pause between the first and last, followed by, “I will be ______” (Fill in the blank with your function; example: “My name is Michael……McMillan. I will be assisting you today.” Clearly there are numerous variables here, however hopefully you get the point.)
To summarize, in a person-to-person meeting it is critical to have a professional appearance; your clothing, hygiene, confident body language, eye contact, and proper introduction will go a long way to establishing rapport with your new prospect!
Check back as we continue, THERE IS NO SECRET to Sales Success – Establishing Rapport