It’s not what you sell, it’s how you sell it. Think about it for a second – why is it that some people are more successful and natural at selling same product or service than others? Look inside your sales team and I can guarantee you that you’ll have a few people constantly smashing targets and bringing new sales leads effortlessly and the rest of the team just about doing ok even though they all had the same training and access to the same resources. What makes such a difference? All successful salespeople I know have one thing in common – they know how to build rapport with clients and use it as their secret weapon.
Rapport is power – always remember this. I can’t stress enough how important it is to invest time and effort into honing this skill especially if you work in sales. Ability to build rapport is what sets you apart from being average to being a superstar. Rapport is an essential foundation block of all human interactions, be in professionally or socially.
What is communication? Communication is simply the art of transferring information, however how good you can exchange information defines how effective your communication skills are. It takes us just one-tenth of a second to judge someone and make a first impression so make it count. When we judge others we generally look at two characteristics:
* Warmth – whether the other person is friendly and well intentioned;
* Strengths or competence – whether they can act on their intentions;
Warmth is the conduit of influence. It facilitates trusts and the communication and the absorption of ideas. Warm is key when you are building rapport. Rapport means total responsiveness between people, total sync-up. It is created by a feeling of commonality that can only be achieved once rapport is established. We like people who are either like us, or who are like how we’d like to be.
Communication involves three components:
1. Verbal messages – the words we choose – only 7% of communication is delivered by words.
2. Paraverbal messages – how we say the word and messages we transmit through the tone, rhythm, intonation, accent, pitch, pause and pacing of our voices. It is how we say something not what we say. 38 % of communication is delivered by paraverbal messages.
3. Non-verbal messages – our body language such as facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, tone of voice, body movements and orientation, proximity and use of touch, details of dress, time and space. 55% of communication is delivered non-verbally so use your body language wisely.
93% of our messages are delivered non-verbally. Always keep that in mind. Why? You have much less conscious control over your non-verbal messages than of what you are actually saying. Non-verbal communication is much more emotional in nature and therefore more instinctive. Body language is essentially an unconscious representations and expressions of our thoughts and moods. Always be aware and be on a lookout for mismatch between verbal and non-verbal messages your client might be displaying or yourself.
Here are some top tips on positive body language I always teach during sales training sessions that will help you to build rapport more effortlessly and win more business along the way too:
– Smile – There are 2 types of smiles – Duchenne and cabin crew. Duchenne smile is a genuine one and cabin crew is when you are paid to smile. We smile with our eyes. When the smile is genuine, both corners of the mouth and cheeks are raised and this creates crow’s feet in the corners of the eyes. When you smile on the phone the other person could hear it as your tone softens up, when you smile in person it facilitates trust, communication and absorption of ideas. It also feels good to smile because when we do, our brain releases endorphins one of the 4 hormones of happiness.
– Don’t fidget – as a rule it’s a sign of anxiety or boredom.
– Walk with the purpose and energy – people can read confidence on you face before you even say a word so do practice the power walk.
– Maintain eye contact – glaze not stare; no eye darts; when you can tell their eye colour, that’s sufficient enough;
– Keep your hands visible – I’d strongly advise against keeping your hand/s in your pockets during the conversation too. Be mindful of crossing your arms as it can be read as ‘I am closed for a conversation aka not interested’ body language especially if your legs are crossed too.
– Authoritative posture and presence – i.e. sit up straight, don’t slouch.
– Work on your handshake – full palm to palm contact; no ‘dead fish’.
– Slow down and breath – use 7/11 breathing technique (breath in on a count of 7, breath out on a count of 11).
– Avoid common distracting mannerisms – i.e. tapping, scratching, clicking your pen, finger-pointing, fidgeting with the jewelery, etc.
– Use appropriate facial expressions.
– Use engaged body language.
– Dress for confidence – when you look good, you feel good. Style matter more initially than substance. You must project that you mean business.
– Watch out for idiosyncratic gestures – gestures on their own that are usually unique to an individual and are a big part of their character; displayed under some stimuli, when an emotion is revealed.
– Respect other’s proximity – don’t invade their private space.
– Match and mirror – use mirroring wisely and only when it feels authentic to you.
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not what you sell but how you sell it. Never underestimate the power of rapport and what it can do to your bottom line. Rapport is power. Nurture it, amplify it and build it into your sales pitch DNA.
If you wish to discuss sales training or executive sales coaching for your team, please email me direct on email@example.com.
Executive Sales Coach and Trainer
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