“Larry,” asked Bob, “you remember two weeks ago you suggested to me that I ought to give up my auto-pilot sales approach?”
“Well,” replied Larry, “I remember telling you that driving a stick shift keeps me in touch with the road and what’s happening… can’t say I remember telling you much else.”
“What about the belt tugging, the rocking, and the nervous look on my face when the prospect is objecting?”
“Well… I do remember some of that. Why do you bring it up?”
“You’re right. I do exactly that without realizing it. I caught myself yesterday doing it and stopped. Oddly enough, the moment I stopped, the prospect also stopped coming up with objections.”
“And from this you . . .” asked Larry.
“It seems that I was encouraging prospects to come up with objections without realizing it. Just by what I was doing physically. The belt tugging. The rocking back and forth. The nervous look.”
“So what did you do instead?”
“The best thing seemed to be to mimic the prospect. The fellow liked to gesture a lot with his hands, so I started doing the same thing about the same rate he did.”
“And . . .”
“Interesting. About three minutes later, after a lot of hand waving from both of us, he told me that I was one of the few salespeople who had been in that understood what he was talking about. What’s weird about his comment is I already knew what he was talking about. His requirements aren’t that complex.”
“I trust you didn’t bring that up,” said Larry.
“No. Do you have any idea what he meant?”
“He was telling you that he felt you understood emotionally what he needs. All the other salespeople knew the facts and figures; you were the only one who ‘touched’ him. You established a rapport with him by mimicking one of the ways he communicates, the hand gesturing. In his world, people who gesture communicate. Those who don’t, don’t.”
Bob is beginning to understand that communication happens both intellectually, with facts and figures, and emotionally, with feelings. Bob was establishing a rapport with the prospect. If you are in rapport, there is very little you can’t close on.
Way back when, there was this TV show where the detective used to say, “Just the facts, Ma’am, just the facts.”
Lots of salespeople take the “just the facts” approach and then wonder why someone else makes the sale. Perhaps the sale is made by someone else when the cost is more. That makes no sense, you say to yourself. We both have the same quality product, same service, same everything, and yet the sale went to the fellow who costs more.
So you write it off to the prospect being nuts or whatever.
What happened is simple. The prospect bought from someone whom he identified as being like himself.
From the prospect’s point of view, you all have the same product. “Bill really understands me and besides, we get along; the few extra dollars are worth it.”
Bill is in harmony with the customer. You weren’t. Bill gets the sale. Price has very little to do with the transaction.
The easiest part of establishing a rapport with someone is to match his body movements and movement rhythm. It’s the easiest because you can see it happening right in front of you. All you have to do is look.
Even if both of you are sitting down, you can “match.” Is the prospect sitting upright? Is she slightly slouched down in a relaxed posture? Is he lightly tapping his fingers on the top of his knee?
Now here’s the hard part of matching the prospects. You never want to mimic them movement for movement. If you do that, it will be painfully obvious to the prospect, and the prospect will be convinced you are making fun of him.
For example, the finger tapping on the knee. You could mimic this by lightly tapping your fingers on a desktop, the side of the chair.
If the prospect gestures, you gesture, too, when appropriate, to emphasize something you say or to indicate agreement with what the prospect says.
The rhythm, the speed, the tempo of what the prospect does physically is there for you to use. All you have to do is watch and respond.
Buyers will buy from people like themselves, so why not make them feel comfortable?