The importance of establishing rapport with the customer.
Establishing rapport with a customer has to be earned and must be approached as a very integral part of the sales process.
In order to get a customer and yourself to relate on a real one to one basis, involves two things!
First, you will have to be aware and be there! Second you must understand that there are two different stages that will occur during this process.
A-Be there-what does that mean? Most people don’t really listen to another person as they talk. Generally they are so busy formulating their next answer or statement that they couldn’t possibly really listen. If this sounds like you, being there means shut up and listen!
B-What is the first or initial stage? Generally you have just a few minutes to establish yourself in the customers mind as someone they want to deal with. When in doubt it is best to first ask questions that will draw them out and talk about themselves. It is also always safe to appear as a professional-I don’t mean stoic or dry, but someone who knows what they are doing and talks and looks the part.
C-Other stages As time goes on, through conversation and questions they will have, you will either establish your ability or not. Be aware that they will probably be measuring you for a while. The good news is that at some point, if you have been successful at establishing rapport-they will relax and you can both concentrate on finding or selling the home.
What else can help me develop rapport? By trying to understand different personality types and then by saying and asking the right questions. If you have good rapport (get on the same wave length as the customer) then the selling is basically over, now it’s just a matter of finding the right home or filling out the listing papers.
What about different personalities Since this is not a book on psychiatry, for now just understand two main types. There are introverted and extroverted people. You know the type. Think about three people you know that fit each classification.
What about body Language and speech patterns? If they talk fast or slow, try to mimic their speech patterns. If they talk loud or soft, do the same. Are they leaning forward or backward? Needless to say, there are lots of books written on this subject. Just be aware that it is an important factor-especially when you’re sitting in a conference room or at someone’s home discussing a $400,000 deal.
Developing rapport is a skill that can be learned and improved upon. We all have experienced a salesperson that sold us something and yet we didn’t feel like we were being sold. The reason is he or she, made you feel comfortable to where you trusted them.
How do we develop rapport? Use your eyes and ears and ask questions. To explain Use the eyes: Look at their dress-their car-their personal possessions and I mean really look at them and decipher what that tells you about them. Use the ears: Listen to what they say and ask questions to get to the bottom of their real MOTIVATION!
Now during all this conversation, there will probably be one or two things you’ll discover that you have in common with them. (Family, geographical areas, fishing, etc) When you come across common ground, let them know you’re familiarity and then take a minute to discuss it with them.
What is the Goal? Once they accept you as one of them you’re in position to really have a great experience in the sale as you’re now working together then as a team-you’re no longer the salesman you’re now in an advisory position. Remember, the customer either will or will not allow you to enter his world. If you understand this and really work hard to become empathetic with him/her, you can gain a position of trust. In most cases, you will actually see them relax (body language) when this happens you’re on the way. To illustrate this have you ever given a speech and noticed that as you finally connected with an audience member they will nod in approval. These things may all seem trite but they aren’t.
In closing, if you can earn a customers trust, selling a product or service is much easier and the experience can be enoyable for everyone involved. Always remember that a Win/Win is the best situation.
Past Marketing Director for CBS network-Fender music division, covering National and International markets. Sales manager and Vice President for IMC-distributors of AKAI. President, Studiommaster, worlwide company in the recording industry. Basically, I have a strong International marketing and business background. Most recent Sales Manager for Coldwell Banker Schmitt Real estate Florida Keys. And owner of Florida Real Estate Network-an information website for people relocating to Florida at http://www.flarren.com.