- Making Friends
- Creating Rapport
- Principles of Selling
- The Selling Cycle
- Entering the home
- Customer Involvement
Cycle of Excellence (Condition your own self-belief system)
People buy off people they like
People buy from people they like because they feel a sense of trust and connection with the seller. When someone likes you, they tend to have positive feelings toward you, which can influence a decision-making purchase. The first few minutes are critical in making that rapport and a big smile on your face will help. Always be on time.
When you are able to establish a connection with a potential buyer, you build rapport and trust, which can make the buyer more likely to purchase from you. Buyers may also be more willing to pay a higher price for a product or service if they feel a personal connection with you.
In addition, people are often more likely to buy from someone they perceive as being knowledgeable, confident, and credible. When a seller is able to convey these qualities, they can build trust and confidence in their product or service, which can make the buyer more likely to make a purchase.
Overall, building a positive relationship with potential buyers can be an effective strategy for increasing sales and building a loyal customer base.
It is a known fact that you can make friends and gain rapport by showing interest in others very quickly than you can in interesting others in you. By having a genuine interest in others and asking questions and listening, you will be able to build rapport and persuade others to your suggestion.
Just one important issue on asking questions, you must be careful not to ask too many personal questions where it may seem to be prying. Words mean different things to different people, never assume that your prospect fully understands your interpretation. Emotions combined with the way you say something will have a bearing on the outcome. This is where asking a question in light of what you are conveying is very important, so you will know if your prospect is on the same wavelength. For example, I will ask the prospect a question based on their internal perception, “How do you feel about it” (Kinesthetic). “Can you see the picture” (Visionary). “Does that sound good to you” (Auditory?
Tips on making a rapport with your prospect
The Sales Cycle
I will show and explain the very important Sales Circle concluding with closing the sale and very important consolidation in the next module; this is the basic plan nevertheless it is only the beginning of the blueprint to becoming a super salesperson; each step is a link in the chain which is important and the key for your success.
A sales cycle, also known as a selling cycle or a sales process, refers to the series of steps that a salesperson goes through in order to close a sale. The exact steps in the cycle can vary depending on the industry, the product or service being sold, and the individual salesperson’s approach. However, a typical sales cycle may include the following stages:
Prospecting: This is the stage where the salesperson identifies potential customers or leads, and starts to gather information about their needs and pain points.
Qualification: In this stage, the salesperson evaluates the potential customer to determine whether they are a good fit for the product or service they are selling.
Needs assessment: During this stage, the salesperson engages the potential customer in a conversation to understand their needs, pain points, and priorities. This helps the salesperson tailor their pitch to the customer’s specific situation.
Presentation: In this stage, the salesperson presents their product or service to the potential customer, highlighting its features and benefits and how it can meet the customer’s needs.
Objection handling: At this stage, the potential customer may raise objections or concerns about the product or service. The salesperson must address these objections and provide reassurance or additional information as needed.
Closing: This is the final stage of the sales cycle, where the salesperson seeks to close the deal by asking for the sale, negotiating terms, and finalizing the agreement.
Follow-up: After the sale is closed, the salesperson may follow up with the customer to ensure their satisfaction, answer any questions, and explore additional opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.
The correct Selling Circle is very important to follow. If the Captain of a ship had to travel across the vast Sea to a small port on the other side of the World without a compass and only the stars and some luck to find it, then I am sure you agree that it would be an impossibility.
Just like a captain of a ship, you must plan your route, and as a captain of your own ship, and by following a set of rules with the help of a compass doing the same thing every time then you are guaranteed to succeed and you will find your harbour: YOUR SALE!!
Arrive early: Checkout location, and make a note of similar installations fitted in the area. neighbours etc.. (If it apply’s to your product)
Only have a single folder with a fact-find sheet inside. No products or sales aids yet. (You do not want them to think you are selling at this point)
Knock and ring Bell twice:
Introduce yourself with a big smile Shake hands with the prospect
Enter house offer to take shoes off: Let the prospect invite you to sit down (Do not go into a sale mode at this point, make an excuse to sit down and if they offer you a refreshment, take it, do not refuse.) Ask what chair they sit in so you can sit opposite. Do not sit in between a couple. Otherwise, you would be straining your neck while observing. They would have the upper hand and could easily communicate with each other, whilst you would be unaware. Look for the signs of who is in charge, usually the female even though the male would appear to be so.
Talk in a friendly conversational manner. Create the rapport
Ice Break: Make a mental note of surroundings that could include their garden or car outside, photos on the wall including family, Trophies in a cabinet, Fish tank, children, pets including the dog or cat etc…
Do not start by talking about what you are selling under any circumstances; First, create a bonding session and find common ground on any subject ( People buy from people they like) When you get into the conversation remember to listen and work out their internal thought patterns. (NLP)
Use a fact-finding sheet, confirming that both partners are there and the main buyer is present. Do not proceed otherwise. instead, make an excuse and rearrange a time and date when both parties are there.
Only when you have made the rapport ask these questions. How did we contact you? Was it a Referral, or a recommendation, did you contact us or was it a door canvass?? (Whatever the answer you must ask this important question) What did they say? (Finding their hot button) This is the reason why the prospect invited you to their address.
Confirming: You are only here today not to sell but to leave a price that will hold for 12 months. (This keeps their defensive barrier down)
After this set of tasks Ask for another cup of tea/coffee while you go out to the car and get your presentation kit etc..
Present Your Products / Services: Windows/Roof Coatings, Insurance etc.. Time scale etc..
The prospect’s involvement. (import to get the prospect to engage in the presentation)
With the potential customer Measure up and help in design (Get the customer to hold measuring tape get them involved with Product design, colour etc… Point out problem areas, etc..
When completely satisfied with the chosen designs etc.. Price up... (Ask for a glass of water, as this may take a few minutes to work out) The prospect would normally offer tea or coffee. Keep the prospect busy and show them a catalog or pictures of satisfied customers.
Price Condition: Just before presenting the final cost At this point I would break down the cost of the product into smaller pieces including the price for each item For example the cost of the materials, such as the finest quality glass, the best hinges, the unique locking system available, the cost to make the product etc. Then I would ask how much in their opinion it would cost in total. (It is surprising how the prospect would give a high costing value) This is a prime example of price conditioning, as the prospect starts to build a price in his head.
Present the prospect with the Price that the company will hold for 12 months (this would normally be the highest price) (Watch their response)
Get their feedback and confirm that the quality is worth the price (If you haven’t then try again harder) Until they agree the cost is worth the quality product.
The next stage is closing them down into a sale. (This will be shown in the next module Part 4)
Throughout my early days of Direct Sales, I often wondered why the prospect would make an appointment and then upon arriving at their home, find the prospect would either not be there or would not answer the door! However, it dawned on me that Mr or Mrs Prospect was on most occasions in the home, and they would deliberately avoid answering the door to a horrible Salesman. In the trade it is called “post buyer remorse” possibly afraid that they may purchase something they don’t want.
In the hard pressure of direct selling the prospect is often succumbed to agreeing an appointment, sometimes the canvasser or telesales person had put a sufficient amount of pressure to secure an appointment and often the prospect would have thought about the negatives; nevertheless they become embarrassed to cancel the appointment by phone and most prospects find it easier not to answer the door hence relieving the anxiety of apologising to the salesman.
During my time with one of my sales companies, I picked up a very subtle strategy when arriving at a prospect’s home, simply Park the vehicle outside the prospect’s house: and wave at the house as you walk to the Front Door. It is surprising how many times the curtains would flinch and move when I adopted this approach. Hence, my door blowouts reduced considerably, implying that the unanswered doorbell and door knock in the past were indeed prospects trying to avoid answering the door.
The theory is that the prospect will keep a lookout for the salesman to arrive, possibly hiding behind closed or meshed curtains, hence avoiding answering the knock on the door. Nevertheless, the wave to the house as you walk to the door eliminates this possibility tenfold, assuming that the salesman has spotted the prospect through the curtains they will answer the door. It was documented on one occasion that a certain prospect tried to take legal action with the window company who installed their windows as they spent a fortune on installing one-way mirrored glass in the front of their home, stating that the glass installed into their home didn’t work as the salesman saw through the windows. Of course the salesman didn’t see them, it was this clever strategy that worked a treat.
I learned from an early stage in my sales career never to be late for an appointment, in fact, I was taught to arrive at least 30 minutes before the appointment, not just for the sake of being early and looking good, punctual, and professional but most importantly for checking out the region. It was important to build a picture of the district, the neighborhood, the category of the people working or living in the area, and other installations if that applied also the possibilities of further business and the feasibility of a show home etc.
When approaching the prospect’s front door make sure that you only possess a single notepad or folder and if possible nothing at all, the psychology of this strategy is we do not want to scare off the prospect with anything that may indicate an order form hence keeping the barrier down from the potential customer. I always knock on the door twice as the doorbell may not be working, and wait for the prospect to answer. If no response then a second hard knock whilst pressing the doorbell, on the occurrence when there is no answer then a call to the office so that they can confirm on the telephone that the prospect is still in. Sometimes they may have been out of hearing range of the doorbell.
(I would always try and be 5 minutes early and often the prospect would be impressed and say “You’re on time or your early”) Upon the door opening, I always greet the prospect by extending my handshake and confirming their name, smiling warmly and looking them straight in the eyes then announcing my full name and the company name I am representing. Quickly building some rapport by saying something complimentary such as “What a lovely Garden” or remarking about the weather?
The next stage follows upon entering the house
Entering and engaging the prospect
showing identification badge or card and always offering to take my shoes off as I enter the house, this is showing respect for the prospect’s home whilst obeying any religious beliefs and relieving them of any doubt about your authenticity. However, removing your shoes may not be appropriate if the home is in a disorderly state. Most prospects would decline your offer yet this is the first step in gaining rapport.
On some occasions, the prospect may want to get down to talking business almost straight away by saying something like “where shall we start to measure up” or some other leading question. This has to be avoided at all costs, as an important rapport has not yet been built. (Remembering that people only buy off people they like) I can’t emphasise how important this is! So use any means to slow the prospect down and use your charm to set the scene (I must also mention that you will need to ask in the beginning if the prospect has any important engagements pending or intend to leave within the next half hour or more and if in some cases expecting anyone to arrive. If this is the situation then it is best to rearrange the appointment when they have enough time and won’t be interrupted)
Talking in a friendly conversational manner apologising I would ask if I could just sit down with them to make a few notes and explain that I was given the prospects information over the phone and the exact details weren’t clear. Carefully pick the seat that is not the husband’s main controlling seat but pick a seat that the prospect or prospects can easily observe the demonstration material that you will be producing a little bit later into the presentation. Very important that you don’t choose a seat between both parties, as you must plan to keep them both fixated on your presentation and as mentioned earlier that they don’t communicate subconsciously any negative responses. If possible use the kitchen table for this process as the kitchen is possibly the most used room in the house and the most comfortable area for conversation and building rapport as normally only friends, family and relations would be welcomed into this vicinity.
The next stage as you build your rapport is to engage your prospect in the conversation but without them realising you are doing two major things, firstly building a fact-finding memorandum for you to use when closing later on in the presentation, secondly by asking questions you will get feedback on their personality types and their internal cognition system. Helping you to build a rapport below their threshold of conscious awareness, gently start to mimic their body language and their phrases, looking out for particular signs; such as the words they are talking. Are they using visual words such as “I see” “You See” “I get the picture” etc? Or are they using auditorial words such as “Sounds good to me” “I like the sound of that” etc? Take careful notice of hand gestures and eye movements, are they telling you the truth or fabricating? Are they receptive to your conversation with hands and arms open?
As you build your rapport you must try and avoid selling your product or service; mentioning the weather is always a good strategy to start with, observe any pictures of children, grandkids, trophies, etc.. Try and find a common interest and ask about hobbies, work, other interests,s, etc. If you have a referral or you know somebody that the prospects are acquainted with, then you’re defiantly on to a winner. If you are building a good rapport the conversations can last a long time before the real end of the business presentation begins, and remember that the longer you’re in the prospect’s house the stronger the rapport will become. Remember to listen and not talk too much about your own interests unless they ask in-depth, although I carry photos of my children and grandkids to show, as this could produce a good rapport, if you haven’t any of these photos then I would strongly recommend some for the future.
Adding some humour into the conversation can be rewarding whilst building rapport, If you can make your prospect laugh then this can be a very good rapport-building exercise and a subconscious anchor. Often I would ask if they would like to see my “Pride and Joy” I then produce a picture from my wallet showing a photograph of a bottle of Pride and Joy cleaning fluid, this always creates a good laugh and can break the ice in a conversation.
Metaphors are figures of speech that describe something in terms of something else, in order to create a comparison or association between two different things. They are used to convey meaning and understanding in a more creative and expressive way than literal language.
For example, “life is a journey” is a metaphor that compares life to a journey, suggesting that life is a series of experiences and challenges that we must navigate in order to reach our destination. Another example is “her words were a knife”, which compares the impact of someone’s words to the sharpness of a knife, implying that they were hurtful or cutting.
Metaphors can be found in literature, poetry, everyday conversation, and even in visual art. They can help to deepen our understanding of complex concepts or emotions by linking them to more familiar or tangible experiences.
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