How to connect and build rapport with a prospect (Sales Negotiation)

Everyone has their walls up.

It’s a protection thing. When you and the prospect go into that sales meeting neither one of you wants to get burned. You don’t know each other and so don’t really trust each other. At least not yet.

Silence is a great tool to make someone uncomfortable but if you make the prospect uncomfortable all the time they’re not going to want to be around you at all.

The best way to get the prospect to take their guard down is by being honest and authentic.

There’s no magic formula here. If you come across as shifty and untrustworthy you’ll lose out big time.

How to be authentic?

A better way to answer this is to look at the opposite, how to avoid being inauthentic.

Let’s say the prospect is asking you a bunch of questions and you don’t know the answer to one of them.

Do not make up an answer that you cannot confirm is true. What is worse than not knowing something? Lying about it.

You will get caught out and then any credibility you had will be shot and you will be marked as someone not to trust.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying “Look I don’t know the answer to that but I will make a note of it and get back to you when I’ve spoken to one of our experts”.

No one expects the Spanish inquisition and no one expects you to know everything.

As long as you demonstrate a willingness to find out the answer in most cases you’ll be OK.

Own up to your mistakes

Leave your ego at the door.

If you misspoke and said something incorrect then own up to it as quickly as possible.

Don’t say anything to get the deal across the finish line because it will bite you in the ass soon enough.

Let’s take a simple example, if one of our sales reps promised some feature was going to be in RealtimeCRM and the prospect signed up expecting it soon.

They then start asking our product development team when this feature will go live but they’ll get the response it isn’t in our product roadmap for some time.

That prospect is going to be really annoyed. They’re going to feel like they were lied to and they can obviously share that feeling with anyone they want.

If you make a mistake tell them as soon as possible because they will eventually find out and it’s better they get it from you than from someone else.

Even if they’re disappointed that’s a lot better than marking you as untrustworthy.

Be disarmingly honest

What do I mean by this?

Sometimes you’re going to get prospects who are cagey. They just won’t give you the answers you need.

“How many people are in your team?”

“A few”

“Do you use a lot of cold email or cold calls to drive sales?”

“It’s a mix”

Painful, just painful.

The way to deal with these kinds of prospects is to just be honest that you’re struggling.

“Hey, I really want to get the right solution for you but these answers aren’t quite giving me enough. Is there something I can do better, can you help me out here?”

In most cases they are going to feel really bad. It’s a gut reaction to not be rude. They’re going to want to placate you by saying it’s them not you.

They might even admit why they’re so sullen. They could be having a bad day but whatever it is you’ve pointed to the elephant in the room and really broke the ice.

You’re then going to be able to get better answers from a more agreeable prospect.

At the end of the day we’re all human and most of us don’t want to be jackasses.

Build rapport

It isn’t all business.

Which is good because that would be incredibly boring.

Actually, we know a guy who is like that. We call him the most exciting man in the world – that won’t mean anything to you, that’s more for the team at RealtimeCRM, they know.

But back to the point there’s going to be a lot of back and forth. There will be many meetings and therefore lots of downtime before and after those meetings.

If your prospect hates the Patriots and you hate the Patriots then hate the Patriots together. It’ll be a bonding experience.

It’s not a frivolous exercise, if somebody likes you then they’re more willing to be agreeable.

If there’s two great deals on the table. If they like working with you more than the other guy then guess who’s getting the deal?

Not the guy who loves the Patriots that’s for sure.

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