In Sales, It’s Not About You…It Never Was
I would like to give you three statements that I think you will agree are true: 1. People tend to like people who are like themselves. 2. People tend to trust people they like. 3. People tend buy from people they trust. If these three statements are true, then using logic, I can make the following statement which must be true: People tend to buy from people who are like themselves.
The skill of bonding and rapport is at the heart of high performance sales and those who do it well go to the bank often. It is more than talking about golf because there is a golf trophy on the prospect’s desk. While that is fine and good, there is a much more powerful bonding that occurs subconsciously. Have you ever met someone new even if only for a brief moment and when that person left, you said to yourself, “Wow, I really like that person.” Consciously, you can’t explain why, but subconsciously a lot of processing and assessing were going on, giving you an emotional feeling that the person is likable. In sales, if we can understand how rapport is established–not just consciously but also subconsciously–we can create a tremendous competitive advantage without even talking about what it is we sell.
Understand Your Prospect’s Behavior Style – There are four distinct behavioral styles people operate from when interacting with others. They are:
Director: Competitive, short and to the point, decisive, control, results, get on with it already.
Interactor: Social, energetic, likable, center of attention, recognition, you guys are awesome!
Stabilizer: Calm, caring, deliberate, concerned, dislike conflict, let’s all just get along.
Calculator: Facts, analytical, detailed, process, rules, research, it must be right.
Your prospects will interact with you from one of the four positions. To gain rapport, adjust your behavior to their style and they will subconsciously start to like you. For example:
- Talking to a “D”: Be brief, don’t engage in small talk, drive to the result, end early.
- Talking to an “I”: Be energized, talk about your vacation, like them, don’t cut them off.
- Talking to an “S”: Be non-threatening, don’t push, be empathetic, show genuine concern.
- Talking to a “C”: Be thorough, give facts, be patient, be detailed, don’t tell them they’re wrong.
I have won business by identifying the style and then being the same style. The prospect sees me as someone who is like them and that gets me rapport!
Understand Your Prospect’s Communication Style (Neurolinguistic Programming or NLP) – People communicate through words, body language, and tonality. Most don’t realize that words typically make up only 7% of the total communication package. Body language accounts for 55% and tonality 38%. In sales, it is how your prospect communicates to you that is important. Whatever their communication methodology is, you are to embrace it, adapt to it, and reflect it back to your prospect. How do they sit, are they leaning forward or back, are they talking fast or slow, are their eyes looking at you or away. Whatever they are doing, you subtly do the same thing and then magically, the prospect starts to like you and they don’t know why.
Understanding Transactional Analysis (I’m Okay, You’re Okay) – You wonder what the prospect thinks of you before you walk in? You are pushy, aggressive, arrogant, sneaky, insincere, dangerous…I didn’t come up with those words. My clients did when I asked them to describe the typical salesperson. This accurately describes the stigma salespeople work against. So, if you act like a salesperson (“We are the best!”), you will be treated like one (“I need to think it over.”). Instead, do what psychological research has proven to be true when it comes to establishing rapport with people. Be genuinely humble, don’t have all the answers, be vulnerable, struggle a little bit during the call, be nonthreatening and something magical happens. The prospect instinctively starts to trust you in spite of not knowing you and they can’t explain why.
Sales should never be about the salesperson; rather, it must be all about the prospect. Therefore the sales professional should work hard to create an environment where rapport flourishes and the prospect is completely comfortable even if your part becomes a Broadway play. Remember, it is not about you…it never was.
Sandler Training is a global training organization with over three decades of experience and proven results. Sandler provides sales and management training and consulting services for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well as corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies. For more information, please contact Karl Schaphorst at (402) 403-4334 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow his blog at karlschaphorst.sandler.com