Symbiosis is a word we don’t hear every day but we do understand its general meaning of a cooperative relationship where both sides benefit. Sounds a lot like sales right? In professional sales, a mutually beneficial relationship between the buyer and the seller is critical.
While in these articles we tend to focus on specific aspects of a successful sales presentation, we need to keep in mind that each step of the sales process is dependent on the other parts. This is clearly evident in an agent’s ability to build rapport and trust. One does not happen without the other.
In today’s acrimonious world, placing our trust in other people at times seems impossible. However we all must trust other people at some point in our lives. This circle of who we trust is small for most of us. We must trust our doctors. We trust that our cars come off the assembly line without any major flaws placing our lives in danger. We need to trust our friends, family and colleagues will do what they say they will do. It is no different in sales. And perhaps for a buyer, trusting a sales person is a major leap of faith. Sales people generally do not fall into people’s inner circle of trust.
Building trust and rapport for the housing industry it is critical. Whether a $250,000 or $5,000,000 home, each level of buyer is making a huge investment. Every buyer must trust the agent and company they are buying from. Initially agents are strangers to buyers. A sales person represents a corporation. Buyers are cautious and do not necessarily believe the agents verbal assurances about their product and community being the best. After all isn’t that what all agents say? Therefore sales agents need to earn the right to get into the buyer’s circle of trust.
Where do you start? Every agent must convey confidence, honesty and a sincere interest in helping their buyer. It all starts with rapport because when people get to know you and like you, people begin to trust you.
When encountering a first time visitor, it is similar to a speed dating situation. The agent has limited time to get to know their buyer, get the buyer to like and trust them, convey sincerity, and make the buyer feel valued. Not easy to do on your first date. You have to maximize your time to create a positive impression so that buyer doesn’t dash off to the competitor. And that competition can be a strong force working against you.
I think we all remember dates in our past that we couldn’t wait for it to end. There just wasn’t that personal connection. We did not like what that person said, how they said it, their body language, etc. It just did not feel right.
In sales, you have to make it feel right. When you build rapport, keep in mind you want to make a sincere connection. Idle banter and chit-chat many times comes across as insincere because most of the time it is. It ends up creating an unnecessary obstacle to overcome early in the sales encounter.
So how do you make the sales encounter feel right?
1. Be genuine. Throughout our lives most of us were told, “Just be yourself and everything will be fine.” Nothing has changed over the years except our innate desire to overcomplicate our lives. Most people in sales have dynamic and engaging personalities. Be genuine. Don’t try to be anything you are not. Don’t try to create a new persona. If you are not good at telling jokes, don’t. I love the quote from Oscar Wilde, "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."
2. Be sincere and friendly. Always approach rapport building with the intent to be warm and welcoming. Smile, offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, and engage. If you come across as indifferent, you will get the same response in return. That is the mirror effect.
3. Show interest. Prospective buyers need to feel valued. Whether selling homes, leasing apartments or a senior living unit, all agents must learn about their prospects (discovery) before they can create a product and community match. Buyers will share what they’re thinking, including their desires, fears, and problems if they like you, trust you and feel valued.
4. Don’t be too needy. Needy people usually must be liked by everyone. You cannot force people to like you. Show interest, but if you come across as overly friendly or too assertive, you will only turn the other person off. Building rapport and trust is a gradual process. We all are familiar with the marathon vs. sprint comparison.
5. Give genuine compliments. Have you ever been the recipient of gushing flattery from someone? Turns you off correct? But genuine compliments are always welcome. If you like a lady’s ring or necklace a simple statement will do. If a couple is proud of a son or daughter because of some accomplishment, a simple complimentary statement is all you need. The buyer at times will continue their story which is OK. But please, there is no need for over indulgent accolades or you might kill the sale. (Sincerity).
6. The Goldilocks moment. Salespeople are often overly sensitive to timing. They often think that within ‘x’ minutes they must use that whole time to get their points across (information dumping). Therefore they think there is no time for any casual conversation. Diving into the sales presentation with no ice breaking conversation usually does not go well. Then there are those agents who spend too much time chatting. Agents must do their best to read the other person and find the right amount of rapport-focused conversation to find the right time to proceed with the sales process.
7. Read the culture. Culture can literally mean someone from a different country. It also equates to different personality types. While you must always be yourself, at the same time agents need to adjust their approach to the other person. One size does not fit all. Don’t change who you are but be aware of the buyer’s general personality and how they respond.
What this all basically comes down to is the fundamental question of whether someone likes you or doesn't like you. It drives a significant portion of how the selling process and the buyers' decision process will go. In short:
• People talk to people they like (conversational sales)
• People share information with people they like (discovery)
• People buy from people they like (meeting sales pro formas)
• People feel loyalty to people they like (repeat buyers)
• People introduce people they like (referrals)
LeBlanc & Associates has established a long history of trust and rapport with our clients. Our core values of honesty and objectiveness have never wavered over the years. Our Video Profiles and comprehensive reports document your sales agents’ first date with a prospective buyer. Our goal is to provide our clients and agents with meaningful information so all sides benefit.
It’s easy! Call, email or submit an online request. We look forward to working with you.
Top 10 Driest Cities
|A recent study ranked 100 of America's largest metro areas in terms of how dry they are here is what they found.|
|1. Los Angeles, CA|
|2. San Diego, CA|
|3. Oxnard, CA|
|4. Riverside, CA|
|5. Salt Lake City, UT|
|6. Nashville, TN|
|7. Chattanooga, TN|
|8. Birmingham, AL|
|9. Greenville, SC|
|10. Knoxville, TN|