In the sequential order of events to make sales possible, we must ensure that the process of how the sale actually happens is placed firmly in our minds.
To review from parts one and two:
- Pre-approach or brand image
- Approach or initial contact
- Rapport or trust building
- Information gathering or needs assessment
- Presentation or outlining preference
- Asking for sale or closing.
This article will focus on the third part of the sequence: Building rapport or trust.
Once a company has placed the right brand image in the prospect''s mind and made initial contact, they move onto the most important aspect of the sales strategy.
People want to purchase products and services from professionals they trust and respect.
The prospects also desire to find a common ground of experience, likes or dislikes or camaraderie between people.
Many of the most profitable sales are between sales professionals and prospects that connect on a deeper level than just a monetary transaction.
It involves a deep understanding of how people react when parting with their hard-earned cash.
If the prospect feels there is a caring person on the other side of the sale, it makes the transaction much more likely to take place.
It is often said that the prospect needs to see "how much you care before they care how much you know."
This process can be aided by a concerted effort on the part of the sales professional to learn as much as possible about the prospect.
Prospect comfort is paramount in the selling process.
An uncomfortable customer is someone that mistrusts the salesperson — not the process.
In other words, this is the part of the process where we sell ourselves, and this is where the majority of selling mistakes are made due to incorrect conclusions made by the selling professional.
Many people think that a "good salesperson" needs to be a great conversationalist and have a line ready for any question or possess the gift of gab.
This is not entirely true. While a good sales professional does need to be quick on his or her feet, a more experienced professional develops great listening skills.
Gifted sales professionals also need to become great questioners.
Your questions need to be developed to extract the information you are looking for from the prospect.
Your questions should outline the prospect''s buying personality and help decipher what information is important to them in order to reach a buying decision.
Your selling practice needs to first focus on the customer rather than your services.
We want to fully understand the reasons the customer is looking to purchase, their past purchase experience, their feelings about purchasing and how the purchase is going to solve their problems.
We have to know exactly what they are all about and they want to know what we are all about; it is a similar process to finding a friend.
Sales professionals do not leave any questions to chance.
Like an attorney, we want to know what the answers to the questions are before they''re asked.
A sales script, loosely followed to keep you on track, is a great help in this part of the process.
Basically, you want to ask a series of questions designed to solicit practical and emotional responses to narrow the focus to a financial transaction that benefits both parties.
If, at any time in the sequence, either the sales professional or the prospect feels that the transaction will not benefit both parties, the selling process usually will not result in a long-term relationship.
Check in next month for part four of "Would You Hire Your Company?"
If you are looking for different ideas to foster these types of relationships with customers, contact Dane Gregory, a business consultant and trainer specializing in working with companies in the professional cleaning industry. He currently trains technicians in the use of cleaning protocols for stone, tile and masonry surfaces for Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). Contact him at email@example.com.