Sales Webinar: Building Exceptional Sales Person-Prospect Rapport
This sales webinar has been curated especially for sales professionals, and features expert advice to help you build excellent rapport with prospects, with actionable tips for you to leverage within your sales calls.
Webinar topic detail
During this 30-minute virtual-live session, we discussed the benefits and actionable techniques to build lasting relationships with clients from businesses along the sales timeline from start to finish. With Tyler’s vast experience and proven results, he will explain the tricks of the trade that preparation and personality can level up a salesperson’s calls.
This webinar is one of our most popular, previously attended by over 3,000 Sales professionals – we didn’t want you to miss out, so we’ve revised and updated it to give you another chance to catch it!
• What rapport is and why it is so important
• How to build rapport with existing and new customers
• Why you need to change your approach for millennial’s
• What things to look for in your sales call prep
• How to leverage information to guide a call
• Why building a relationship with gatekeepers is important
Gary: Hi, welcome. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, depending on where you're at in the world. I want to thank you for joining the webinar here today. My name is Gary Gower. I am the Partner Development Manager here at Lead Forensics and I oversee new partner recruitment here in North America. Joining me on the webinar is my friend Tyler Witt. He's Senior Sales Manager here in the United States. We will be using the questions function for this webinar, which should be located to the right of your screens and we'll be saving those until towards the end. So, if any questions do pop up, please feel free to drop them in the chat. But to kick things off since we're going to be talking about rapport. How was your weekend, Tyler?
Tyler: It was good, Gary. Definitely appreciate you taking the time to do this for the audience here. I had a good weekend, got a lot done and started .........what I think I would say half the country is probably doing right now involving their home......... we're doing the remodel side, so we're not moving but a lot of stress. But what's living if you don't have some stress too, right?
Gary: I definitely do not envy that. But let's jump in and I guess probably the best place to start. What is rapport to you?
Tyler: I guess it is a good place to start. So for me, the best way to think of rapport is just to think of a connection. So suppose people that feel connected just tend to trust each other and I guess ultimately are going to share a bit more. So, for me personally, I think of rapport as someone genuinely enjoying speaking with me. They trust me, they value my input and let's hope maybe even a little bit of respect is in there, right. But honestly, I think maybe it's much simpler than that and they just like me, you know? I guess obviously this is something you are going to build throughout the entire process, from the cold call to discovery to solution all the way through, hopefully then becoming a customer. I guess it's not about the simple rapport section of your intro. But that said, this is ultimately what we're talking about today, is how can we start that off on the right foot, right? So how can we get the right starting point? So, we build that rapport fast and once it is built, then it is vital to maintain it.
Gary: So, why is it so important to build rapport fast?
Tyler: Well, a good question again. I'd say two reasons, So, number one, people that like you tend to buy from you and so there's a classic saying in sales that all things being equal, people buy from people they like and all things being unequal, still buy from people they like. So if we think about that, the simple act of people liking you actually increases your odds of getting the sale. So, things like price, product, even economic wins are all almost out of the salesperson's hands, right? So those are something we as salespeople can't control but we absolutely can control how we make a person feel. Those salespeople, the ones that make someone feel good are always going to have a leg up on even the most knowledgeable salesperson. This is why anybody that knows me or reads anything that I've published, it's why I have charm as my number one rule of sales. So that's number one. But I guess secondly, build rapport, break resistance. A lot of people would have heard this notated as BR, BR. So basically, in sales, Gary, you're going to be asking a lot from people. You're going to get asked for time, introduction, information. I guess ultimately money. And anyone that has ever gotten the 'let's just move on'......we've all had that dreaded 'oh, it's great, let's just move on' during discovery....... knows exactly what I mean about that resistance. So, they just simply hadn't got or we just simply hadn't built rapport so the prospect keeps their guard up and high. This friction will last through the entire process if you don't win them over fast. It's hard to see a sale coming from someone that isn't even willing to engage with you in a basic conversation with you at the get-go.
Gary: Oh, absolutely. We've all unfortunately been on the other side, trying to buy from someone that we didn't like and it's very painful. Sometimes it can even bring up competitors, when you may not have thought of others up until that point. So, this is an interesting one. There's been a lot of talk in recent years about a relationship being out of style, most notably the challenger sale says that the relationship salesperson is the least effective. Do you think that's true?
Tyler: No, I don't, not even in the slightest. I could go into the flaws in some of the challenger's salespeople that are a perfect combination of all these other characters. But suffice it to say, a relationship is never a bad thing, it just isn't. The important comment for me to make would be, there is a huge difference between the relationship you're going to have with, say, your family, your loved ones, your family, your closest friends and all that and the relationship you're going to have with a prospect or a client. I had a coach early on. One of my sales coaches early on, asked me how many of your clients, how many of your current or past clients, have ever sent you a Christmas card? How many of them have called you on your birthday? How many did I invite to my wedding? The answer is none. No, that just doesn't happen. You and I were talking about this a while ago. Of course, we've gotten thank you cards, I've definitely gotten thank you cards and I've sent thank you cards. But there's a big difference there and we want to respect those boundaries. Now, what is true....is that just like any relationship, trust, communication and respect, they are paramount to success. So, it's not about making friends, it's about earning and giving trust and I would say, hopefully, respect. But if you can solidify those with the prospect, now you're setting yourself up for a very successful process overall.
Gary: Yeah, it's crazy because I actually remember the first time I got a thank you card from somebody that I signed up for a very large contract and, let me tell you, it was not the easiest of processes. There were a lot of technical hurdles that we had to overcome but we ended up coming to an agreement and they came on board as a really solid partner. But I got a thank you card and I was kind of confused as to why. So, I reached out and was like 'hey, what was this for?' And he was like, 'dude, that was a major process but I'm so glad I got to do it with you. I don't think we would have been able to accomplish this if me and you didn't get along so well'. It was really enlightening to see the power and the strength of what a really good relationship can be, even in times of stress and difficulty. So now that we kind of established that rapport is important obviously, what are some of the basic steps that you teach and coach to build great rapport quickly?
First of all, on that thank you card it's always on the big deals, you remember those for the rest of our lives. First and foremost, it's prep. So, I think the number one thing that I'm coaching salespeople as they come in, they start getting on the phone..... It's just that prep. So do your homework before a call. Know who you're talking to but be prepared just like for every part of the sales process. Rapport in that first impression piece, you do want to prepare for that as well.
Gary: So, what kind of stuff can you prep for then?
Tyler: I've always kind of coached around five basic areas. So, this is what was taught to me and honestly, I find it's a really easy place for people to get started. So, the five basic areas are going to be.... so location, number one, where are they located? Is it somewhere you've been or is it somewhere you want to go? Maybe there's a school there that you're familiar with, maybe where they went to school, someplace you're from or familiar with. Is that somewhere that interests you in some way? So, location. Number two, family. Now, this is a careful one, Gary. I'm not saying go to Facebook, stalk these people, so if they've got pictures or family but it's only on like Facebook or some of these other, more private social media platforms probably steer away from it, steer away from it. But there are a lot of people that are going to bring up their family on their business's website or on a LinkedIn post. So, you see that a lot because it's an important part of maybe their motivator or who they are. Maybe it's a family-owned business, even. Maybe you have somebody that's a proud parent and they're just posting pictures about it or whatever. Absolutely, that's all-fair game.
Gary: Or I saw, just to interrupt for just a second because it was absolutely hilarious. I saw a 'VP of Barketing' on a client's website and it was a picture of their pup. So, I was like, I want to meet the 'VP of Barketing'.
Tyler: That's what I'm saying and as a dog owner, dogs are absolutely part of the family. So same with cats. I own a cat as well so no hate there. So, the family is a great one. Talking about sports. Sports are a big part of a lot of people's lives. So maybe the town that they're in has a major sports team. Did they post something on their website or LinkedIn about sports, did they go to school that has a big sports program. This actually is a big one for me because if I talk to somebody anywhere close to a Big Ten school because I went to Iowa, I'm going to be bringing that upon a call. We are going to be talking about, especially with Ohio state, I'm going to be telling them how jealous I am of going to a school with a successful program. So, I definitely have a little bit of envy there. So, it's a big one for me and then I guess you got weather. So, the weather...... this is a classic, in my opinion, the weather is one of the easiest things in the world to talk about bar none. People have been talking about the weather for thousands of years and I remember and it's not just about like, 'oh, hey, Gary, do you have weather? I've got weather'. Rapport, right? But genuinely being interested and I always think back because people will give this one a hard time. But I remember when I was young, I go to the grocery store and ....going off on a little tangent here...... but I go to the grocery store with my grandma. I remember how easily she could talk to anyone about something so simple as the weather, this is in the middle of summer when every day is just nice and sunny and this and that. It could honestly be the most average, just a partly cloudy day and my grandmother would strike up a conversation with the bagger at the grocery store. It's 30 minutes later, they'd still be talking. She knows about their family, their kids and there's a pretty good chance they're going to be coming over for Sunday dinner at the end of that. So, don't underestimate the power of weather, as a kind of jump in and then the one you brought up, lastly is the weekend. So, if you truly can't think of something, Gary, talk about the weekend. So that's the default, it's Monday or Tuesday... 'How's your weekend?' 'Do anything fun?' Thursday or Friday, the weekend is almost here. 'Any plans for the weekend?' So yeah, you've got a location, family, sports, weather and weekend and all. Those are basic things you can kind of prep before the call.
Gary: So, I'll throw in a sixth there and it's kind of one of my personal favourites because, as you know, I like food but I like to bring up food. Especially if it's a mid-day meeting, it's like, 'oh, what did you have for lunch?' 'What are you having for lunch?' 'This is what I had'. It's the end of the day 'Oh, you got any dinner plans?' 'What are you guys doing?' Because it's really hard to find somebody that can be grumpy about food but even if they are, you can use that as kind of a jumping-off point of 'Oh, have you ever tried Mediterranean food?' Or 'I had a really nice Curry last night' and it can just create dialogue and you're now talking about something that's not business-related. That's where those opportunities to build rapport actually come from.
Tyler: I think your point you're making is absolutely correct. As long as you're genuinely interested in anything and that's the real key, it's a genuine interest. So even food or it can be anything, cars, just name it as long as you're genuinely interested in that topic. It's a good jump-off for the conversation and it's like ......because again, we're talking about rapport........analogous to the relationship and the good thing, a good reminder for any relationship. If you have to force it, that's not really a good sign. So, the worst thing you ever want to do is just talk about something, that either you know nothing about or you truly don't care about because they're going to sense that. If you take sports, for example, you may get on the phone........ talking to a partner not too long ago out of LA. Now, the big news around LA is the super bowl. The Rams won the Super Bowl and all that. So, I say congrats on the Super Bowl and I wanted to congratulate them because they had a picture online of them wearing one of the jerseys. So, I gave congratulations and it was very exciting, yada yada. But it's a risk for me because I don't really know that much about football. I know enough to give them congratulations but if they come back and start talking about players this and the other, it is a gamble for me. So, you want to be careful that you're only talking about something that you genuinely have an interest or knowledge in. Again, if they start talking about whatever it is, and you don't know something about it, don't fake it. They will know that you're faking it and if you're faking something, that's not a good start for a relationship either. You don't want to think somebody is one thing, only to find out later that they're another. So, to your point, find something you truly are genuinely interested in. So, in my example, I gave the congrats on the Super Bowl. He said something. I literally didn't know these players but I used it to pivot into college football because he'd gone to a school that was a rival to where I went to school, so I was able to pivot that over to a successful one. But again, it's only if you have a genuine interest; it can really be about anything.
Gary: Yeah, to that point, I will probably never bring up or ask anyone about college basketball. There are just way too many things going on. I've never filled out a bracket in my life. If somebody started talking about that. I would be like a deer in the headlights.
Tyler: I know the feeling, but it's like you always say one of your favourite expressions is; nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. So again, that's the genuine interest in something about them or a topic. It does show through.
Gary: So, on the flip side of that then, we've all had that moment on a sales call where someone's giving you very little or they're very guarded. What do you recommend then?
Tyler: It's honestly my experience, it's very few and far between that you actually get somebody that just gives you nothing. Like a question you ask, are there any plans for the weekend? And they say, 'nope'. Just like that. That's pretty few and far between. As humans, we are social creatures. That's pretty much taboo to be just be that rude to somebody upfront and if they are, let's all be real you can't sell everybody. So, you might just want to do a quick qualifier or two and move on with your life. Typically, they at least give you something. So typically, they're going to say 'no, not really, just planning on relaxing', something like that but that's something like, I'll take that. The key there is just to listen. We keep talking about this genuine sincerity, authenticity but you have to genuinely want to listen to them. If you do, people will always give you at least some sort of window that you can use. Even in that example there, they say 'not really just planning on relaxing'.....you could say something as simple as 'oh, those are some of the best weekends. What do you like you do to relax, watch Netflix or read books?' That kind of thing or ask some other follow-up about the weekend. If they do need to relax, maybe they had a busy week....... I hesitate there because even that, even something as little as 'oh, not really just planning on relaxing', there are so many little windows there you could take that kind of open up. But again, you know, rapport isn't about making that friend. So, I do want to be mindful that I'm also showing trust and respect and all of that. So, if they are saying 'nope, I'm just relaxing'., 'oh, you've had a busy week?' 'Yeah, I've been super slammed all week.' Look, I also want to respect that and I probably don't want to disregard their, time. If that's how they're feeling, then I can use that to simply build some respect and trust right there by saying, 'oh, no worries at all. I know how that goes. Well, let me do this. Let's jump into this and let's see if I can get you some time back today.' That right there, I'm going to build some goodwill with that person.
Gary: Yeah and that could also be a building block for future conversations because, as you said, rapport is something that you need to build quickly but also through the entire process. So if you're continually being responsible and respectful to that person, the next time you connect, it's 'hey, are you still slammed? Have you been able to get your head above water or are you just treading water'. You're acknowledging that, for the lack of a better term, you have compassion for the situation that they're in and that's a huge way to build solid respect. But you said something there that kind of jumped out.... windows? Can you help us understand what you mean by that?
Tyler: Oh yeah, very simple. A window is just an opening. So something that allows for you to ask more questions, like have maybe a deeper conversation around, so you'll have them all throughout the sales call. You're literally going to hear windows from the beginning to end of the process but it does all start during the intro while you're building rapport. That all goes back into the listening. So, let's say for example when thinking about windows, some examples are; you asked the prospect about the weekend, so the one we've been talking about here, it's the easiest jump off so is good to use for this example here. So, you ask 'any big plans for the weekend?' and they respond with 'yeah, actually, I'm going to a wedding'. So, Gary, what's the window?
Gary: The wedding?
Tyler: The wedding! . There you go. So that's it. You get to ask them about 'who's getting married?', 'Where's the wedding?' and have a conversation from there. Again, somebody says wedding to me, I think of a million different questions and a million different paths I can go by and it is just a natural conversation from there. So that's it. That's a window to me. It's the opening I'm going to listen for and then they're going to kind of go down that path.
Gary: So is it just as simple as listening for that window and then following it up with a question?
Tyler: Yeah, good question. Well, I mean, yes and no. So look, it all comes back to are you genuinely interested in what they have to say? So asking questions just to ask questions, no matter where or when it's done in the sales process, that's a recipe for disaster. So, people don't feel hurt if that happens but people can tell when you're being insincere or disingenuous. So, the whole point for me isn't just to go through the motions, it's to show them that I'm interested. That I am interested in them and I do respect them and that I do want to ultimately help them and provide a solution. The easiest way to be interesting is to be interested and the easiest way to get respect is to show respect. So, it's like they always say like when we were talking before and it just keeps coming back to that..... no-one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. You really do have to remember that during this rapport building is, that it's not about you flexing your muscle. Not about, 'oh yeah, I've been there' and I've heard it a million times where somebody talks about 'oh yeah, I've been there. It was awful. I hate this and I didn't like it'. What are you doing!? It's not about you. It is about them throughout the entire process.
Gary: This is all really good advice and everything but this is a fun one! What do you do when there are multiple people on a call?
Tyler: Oh, panic, freeze up! Ideally speaking, you want to work the room. So, we've all seen comedians, professional speakers, this and that really, really work that room but that can be pretty tricky. You want to engage with each person in a meaningful way but that's really hard to do and especially if you're just kind of starting out, if you're just started learning the basics of rapport building, jumping into a call. So my advice there is just picking one person. So pick one person early on and direct your conversation, at least at first, towards them. This is typically easy to do, as a rule, like so we're jumping on a Teams meeting or you're jumping on a Zoom meeting or whatever form you're using. So you jump on, there's typically going to be one person that kind of stands out or maybe they come into the call early, maybe they're a bit more verbose.... this is a huge leg up. So, you want to watch that and just basically pick them out and get a one-on-one moment and build rapport. So if you do that, like 'oh, how is your weekend, Gary?' Before everybody else kind of joins in and we start building, what's going to happen is that conversation should grow from there. So, I basically point the initial conversation at the one person and I'm kind of letting other people chime in. Often companies, they're going to have their own cliques and they're going to have their culture and you can sort of pick up on this and you're just orchestrating a bit of banter. Over time, those skillsets develop a bit more but early on just pick a person to start that conversation with and you're hoping that the company culture...... and again if the people on the call aren't getting along, your sale is in trouble. Those kinds of cultures don't tend to move forward typically in the sales process, they're really difficult. But typically, you're going to find people have their own company culture, their own clique and by you engaging with one person the rest will actually follow-on top of that.
Gary: Yeah, and it always has traditionally been difficult in an inside sales role where you're on calls, you know, phone calls...... but I think with the advent of video, it's really helped in a lot of instances because now you can actually see the person. You can then potentially engage with whoever is focused on your content the most or maybe it's somebody that's drastically scribbling notes on something that you say. You can use that as key off points to again focus on that one individual in the call. So, what are some other things someone can do to build rapport quickly?
Tyler: I guess a couple of things like, first and foremost, show up to the meeting early. If you're on time, you're late! I don't care if they're late and you get to find that a lot. Prospects, especially in the sales environment, they're going to show up late. They're going to 'oh, sorry, I have this run over blah blah blah' and I don't care if they can't manage their calendar. You have to demonstrate you can manage yours and five minutes is plenty early. It does show them you're a pro and again you can manage your calendar. If you have a meeting beforehand, I really don't care, it's your job to get out of that meeting and get on to the next on time. That's just common etiquette, in my opinion. I would say if you truly are uncomfortable or truly have fatigue, don't...... but I do personally believe turning on your camera when you're doing Zoom, Teams, Google Meet or whatever. I know a lot of people do have fatigue around this but I do think it's important that people are able to see you. I've done outside and inside sales. Hands down, for outside sales it's just a bit easier. You've got a real human connection there. Inside is always challenging because you just have that phone, you just hang up. Although I do think we should bring in, the 'hang-up now' should just be flipping down your laptop.
Gary: I totally think, back to what we were saying a second ago, the videos have helped us as salespeople. Yeah, that was one of the hardest things when I first started, inside phone sales. I'm not going to say how many years ago, 15! It was conveying that excitement and you had to be so loud, so rambunctious just to even have a fraction of that be conveyed through the telephone line. Now I can wave my hands, I can be all over the place in a video and actually make that connection with someone and they can connect with me. I felt I've built some of the stronger relationships in my career through video chat.
Tyler: No 100% I don't think they have to turn their's on. That's their choice. But yes, I 100% agree with you. I do think from an inside sales rep's position, have that camera on. Which leads into one of those things I was thinking there, which is dressing sharp. Look like it or not, your clothes. they do communicate volumes about who you are as a person. There's a really good bit by Tom Papa, where people make choices, they put stuff back. Do you know what I'm saying? It's not like, look, this isn't a fashion show. It's not that they care about fashion but it is more about what you're communicating, even if it's unintentional or unconsciously through those choices. The way I've always said in coaching sales reps is .......look, the actor in the right costume, right moves and speaks differently, portrays it better. We are the same as salespeople. Your clothes do tell a story. So, if you want to show that your work is clean, sharp and to the point, I do think you need to dress sharp and well pressed clothes as well. Then I think lastly, maybe here is ….smile. So, the other thing........ it's funny, I was thinking back to when I was an outside sales rep, some of the advice I'd get on greeting customers or prospects. But even when I moved to inside sales, smiling was a big one. So, it can never be overstated, I think, on how important a smile is. People associate happiness with success and likability. People can hear that in your voice and when they see you smile, especially when we're on camera. When they see you smile, they immediately do associate you with being happy and therefore successful, etc. I do think that's kind of an immediate advantage when trying to build rapport.
Gary: It's kind of the opposite of what happened the other night when we went out for dinner. The waitress walked up and she wasn't frowning by any means but she kind of looked like that straight face emoji, just can I take your order. Our group walked in and we, it's our group and so, you know.......... it just killed the mood a little bit. Now, obviously, we didn't let it last that long and we had her dying and chuckling 5 minutes into seating us but it's crazy how quickly even something like that can impact a situation.
Tyler: Yeah, anybody who's ever been to a really nice restaurant or whatever, they know this is a different experience. So servers move, communicate differently and as a server, for every one customer you may lose because you're a little over the top, maybe you tell these jokes or whatever and the customer is like 'Oh, I don't need that kind of stuff'. Every tip you may get diminished because of it, you'll get 20 people that give you bigger tips. I'm a big fan of bringing that personality immediately.
Gary: So, I guess to kind of wrap things up, any last points that you'd like to make?
Tyler: Well, yeah, it has been almost a half hour. Yeah, I think the last thing is and I was kind of thinking of it there, when you were saying that example .....is that you do want to remember that you are speaking to a person. I mean that like this is a good place to just, I guess, take a moment and remind everyone that we are not in the sales business. It's just not the sales business, it is the people business. You are never talking to Amazon or Microsoft or Betty's clothing apparel or Bob's Burgers. Great show, by the way! Like, you're not talking to those businesses. you're talking to a person. You want to respect that person. Listen to their vocabulary. Use it near it. If they have pronouns posted online, use them. You know, it's easy to get ahead of your skis and look ahead. Next step, Who's my DM? What obstacles am I going to face here? Try and be in the moment and connect with the person you're speaking to. So, at the end of the day, that is to me, what rapport is. Again as we said earlier, what rapport truly is ....It's connecting with somebody. Once you've made that connection, I promise you the rest will kind of take care of itself.
Gary: All great things and I really appreciate you taking the time here on this terrific Taco Tuesday, which is what I'm having for dinner, by the way, going back to food being my favourite topic. That's why we're only viewing this part of me as well. I really appreciate you jumping on here with us today. We have a couple of final things for everyone that joined us here today. I know we've been talking about rapport and relationships, if you'd like to see it in action and build a relationship with someone on our team, we've got this offer up here. Happy to run you guys through a demonstration of our software, give you a two-week free trial, no catch, no commitment. We're not asking for credit cards or anything like that and basically what you'll be able to do is see the exact businesses that are hitting your website off the back of your marketing efforts. So, yeah, if you're interested in taking that, we have a poll here that you can answer very easily. Give everyone a couple of seconds to choose, yes, because that's the only appropriate answer, obviously!
Tyler: Enough opportunities at the moment. The words 'too busy' shouldn't be in salespersons' vocabulary.
Gary: Hire more salespeople! And if you'd like to connect with Tyler or myself, we'll throw up our LinkedIn profiles here on the screen (33.10 on video) and I appreciate everyone's time today and wish you all a fantastic rest of the week.
Tyler: Thank you everybody. Gary, thank you very much for hosting this. Thanks everybody, for joining us.
Partnership Development Manager
Senior US Sales Manager