When dealing with any buyer, making sales is about more than just the product or service offered. It's also about building trust. When you build a solid, lasting relationship with buyers, they are not only more likely to make an initial purchase for the company they represent, but they are also more likely to return to you for additional products and services in the future. Below are five ways your sales team can build rapport with buyers and increase overall sales effectiveness. Some of these might seem obvious to seasoned sales managers but are often overlooked and under utilized.
1. Listen first.
Whether your sales representative is meeting a buyer in person or discussing business in a Skype or phone call, getting a sense of the buyer's personality during the sales process is essential to building rapport. For this reason, sales representatives should listen more than they talk during the first few meetings with a buyer. Instruct your sales reps to prepare key few open-ended questions that will allow them ample time to listen to the buyer and get an idea of what he or she is all about. You can create an Insight Sales Panel™ to understand the rep’s success in presenting, listening and garnering key insights during the discovery process.
2. Match the buyer's voice patterns.
Buyers will feel more at ease if your representative's manner of speech is similar to their own. Sales representatives can build rapport with buyers by paying attention to buyers' voice patterns and matching their speed and volume during the conversation. If your sales reps have trouble in this area, ask them to practice speaking at different speeds and volumes until they are able to do so comfortably.
3. Get to know the buyer.
It is likely that your sales team will encounter the same buyer over and over again as the relationship continues with an organization. If the buyer seems partial to small talk, sales reps should ask questions about his or her family, job, hobbies and any other details he or she wants to share. If the buyer only interested in ‘the facts’, present information that is requested quickly and don't make small talk. Representatives should make note of these details so that they can refer to them again during future conversations.
4. Focus on solving problems, not selling products.
Buyers are under pressure from their company to deliver products and solutions that solve problems, meet specs and stay within budget. Convincing a buyer to make a purchase that doesn't fit their needs will eventually result in resentment and lost business. On the other hand, if your sales rep is instrumental in providing meaningful solutions, on time and at the right price, the buyer will be grateful, and the relationship will flourish.
To ensure that they are adequately meeting the needs of the buyer and his organization, sales representatives should follow a consistent and precise plan of inquiry. You can support your sales reps by supplying this plan as well as the rep’s best response to each question.
5. Follow up with buyers after the sale.
Even after a sale is complete, sales reps can continue building rapport with buyers that will lead to future purchases. To keep relationships strong, instruct your sales reps to thank the buyer for their business shortly after a purchase is complete. Sales representatives can also improve their relationships with buyers by calling to inquire about their satisfaction with the products or services purchased. If the buyer mentions any concerns, the sales rep should demonstrate an ongoing commitment by addressing these issues immediately.
Develop a customer relationship contact plan that includes value that is aligned to the customer’s interests and needs. These contacts should not be about looking for more business but are meant to be helpful and provide useful information.
Every company wants to increase sales volume, and building rapport with buyers can help you accomplish this goal. By following the tips above, your sales team can foster better customer relationships, which will ultimately lead to better sales effectiveness.