When it comes to sales, effective communication is key, regardless of your position in the industry. Building a good rapport with current and prospective clients is always crucial.
Even Michael Scott, the fictional character from The Office, knew the importance of maintaining quality relationships. You may recall the episode when, after challenging the new computer sales program, he gave out gift baskets to past clients, in an attempt to win them back via personal service.
(From The Office, Season 4, Episode 3; “Dunder Mifflin Infinity.” Screenshot Source: YouTube; User: alliethedude)
Can’t blame him for trying—right?
However, learning how to develop a solid, lasting rapport with sales clients takes more than just giving gift baskets. Here are four tips to help you start the process today:
1. Communicate Effectively
The first step toward building a strong rapport with your clients is understanding the art of effective communication.
You have all the answers to their questions, but you need to be able to clearly articulate exactly how your product or service will make their lives easier. In turn, your prospects need to be able to understand what you are selling, and what they will gain from your product. What’s your communication style? Do you speak clearly? Do you openly convey your point, or do you beat around the bush?
What’s your communication style? Do you speak clearly? Do you openly convey your point, or do you beat around the bush? Ask friends and associates for honest feedback about how you communicate, and listen intently to what they have to say.
You can also plan ahead by preparing answers to potential questions as well as responses to possible objections from your clients in advance. Customers always appreciate attentiveness and making the most of your time together.
2. Adapt Your Communication Style
Not everyone communicates in the same way. As a salesperson, it’s important to adapt your style of communication to match your prospect’s style. Your approach should not be one-size-fits-all. This is why it is so important to understand your prospect’s personality and know how to adjust your approach accordingly.
For example, if you have a meeting with a prospective client that you know is very laid back and personable, your objective would be to match that energy, in order to create an environment that is more comfortable for them. This will encourage them to be more open to discussing your product or service at length.
For sales calls, you can refer to the list of personality styles and response suggestions below:
- For direct, strong-willed, and ambitious clients: Be clear, specific, brief and to the point.
- For friendly and enthusiastic clients: Create a warm environment, and refrain from drowning them in details unless they specifically ask.
- For predictable, steady, and relaxed clients: Present yourself softly, non-threateningly, and logically.
- For conservative or perfectionist clients: Prepare your presentation in advance, stick to business, and don’t exaggerate.
3. Be Honest
Honesty is perhaps the best way to build a positive rapport with a prospective client. Your clients need to know that they can trust you. A great way to build a trusting relationship is by doing small things that make a big difference, like checking in with them, listening to their thoughts and ideas, or emailing them helpful tips.
4. Be Consistent
The quickest way to lose interest from a prospective or current client is to be inconsistent and disorganized. If you have deadlines set by your prospects, you need to be able to meet them with all the materials you’ve promised. Additionally, it is also important to make sure that the work you deliver is consistent in quality.
Don’t limit yourself to just these tips! It’s important to continue to improve your communication and client relationship building skills. Although building a quality rapport with a client can take a lot of time and effort—be patient—building a strong, personal rapport is definitely worthwhile in the end.
Based in Dallas, Stephanie Chung and Associates offer sales training, executive coaching, and small business mentorship services nationwide. Among her products is the “High Ticket Selling Made Simple” course, designed to help small business owners sell more and make more. As a former sales executive in the aviation and private jet industry, Stephanie has mastered the art of high-ticket selling and has mentored, coached and developed some of the highest paid, most elite, sales professionals in the country. Serving business leaders, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals, Stephanie Chung uses her proven executive coaching and sales training expertise to get the job done. Chung is an executive coach, trainer, and advisor backed by more than 25 years of team management, business development, and sales leadership experience. Chung is also a public speaker, a contributor on ABC, CBS, NBC and author of “Profit Like a Girl: A Woman’s Guide to Kicking Butt in Sales and Leadership,” and “Embrace the Suck: How to Grow and Succeed in Business.” For more information, visit www.stephaniechung.com.