“Larry, there has got to be more to rapport than just mimicking what someone does physically,” said Bob.
“What do you mean?” responded Larry.
“Well, look at the two of us. We’re both sitting down, relaxed, semi-slouched, dressed in a similar fashion. And I feel comfortable talking with you.”
“Which means?” Larry once again asked.
“How is it that you seem to be comfortable with whomever you are with? I’ve watched the past week. Even on the phone. You look like you are talking with your best friend.”
“Interesting you noticed the phone… here’s a question for you. How do I get rapport with someone on the other end of the phone when I can’t see him? I have no idea if he gestures or whatever.”
“I don’t know… the way he sounds?”
“What do you mean by sounds?”
“Well, when I get on the phone, I know I tend to talk rapidly. Come to think of it, I could see where someone on the other end might think I’m trying to rush her.”
“And what happens most of the time when you talk fast?”
“Almost invariably the person pegs me as a salesperson and starts in telling me the 10 reasons she doesn’t want to do business. Then I start countering and before you know it,” his voice trailing off. “You know,” he continued, “it’s sort of like when I tugged my buckle and started rocking. I was actually prompting the prospect for objections. I guess I’m doing the same thing with the speed of my talking.”
“So, if you match the prospect physically, why not match the prospect verbally?”
“Use the same words?” asked Bob.
“Why not? But you can go further. I could say ‘Get out of here’ with one tone, and the message would be ‘Leave right now.’ I could say the same words with a friendly tone, and the message would be that I found what you just said to be hard to believe.”
“Well, Larry,” said Bob, “get out of here.”
Bob has “listened” and learned that when he thought he was communicating on the phone, he was only setting himself up for a string of objections. How did Larry help Bob “listen” to himself?
The tone in your voice can carry a message to your listener that you have no intention of delivering. Or, it can carry a message that makes it harder than need be for you to effectively communicate.
If you pick up the phone, say hello, and you are immediately hit with a rapid-fire no-pause monologue, you immediately know it’s a salesperson. You may not even “hear” the meaning of the words. Just the way in which they are delivered is enough for you to get the message, “Salesperson on the line, how do I get off?”
Or, if you pick up the phone, then are asked if it is you, then are told “Good afternoon,” evening or whatever, you also immediately know it’s a sales call. Why?
You recognize a certain verbal pattern and immediately know the message: If I keep you on the phone, I’m going to sell you something.
Is this the way friends talk to other friends?
Salespeople get in a rut talking the same way to every prospect. The same words are used, at the same point in the conversation, with the same tonality. The prospect, or for that matter, even existing customers, can quickly sense when you slide into the rut. What do you think they are saying to themselves at that moment?
“This is the same line he uses with everyone. I’m being treated just like everyone else. If he really cared, he’d really talk to me.”
How did Larry talk to Bob? He asked him questions that caused Bob to respond. If you ask Bob how the conversation went, he’d probably tell you it was very productive. Who did most of the talking?
The last time you had a really useful conversation, who really did most of the talking?
Consider asking your prospects, and especially existing customers, questions that enable them to have really good conversations with you. Match the tone of your questions to their tone and enjoy a really good discussion.
Now, don’t feel that you are being dishonest or manipulative. You really will find yourself having good conversations that result in sales.
Why not make it comfortable for your prospects to be with you? Enable them to have a really good conversation and thus you’ll be thought of as someone who really deserves the order.