A good salesperson makes new friends everyday

Point being, if you want to successfully establish rapport with your customers, you'll have to do it quickly, before they get the chance to assume you're just like every other salesperson – meaning you're only interested in them enough to make a quick buck. Fortunately, there are five keys to help you get a friendship off to a quick start!
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A SNEWS® Training Center article brought to you by SNEWS® and TrainActive/Tom Richard Sales Education

“Did you see that game last night?” “How about all this rain we've been getting?”

“That's a nice Chicago Bears jacket. You a Bears fan?”

Ever use one of those questions or something similar as an opening line to a customer greeting? If so, who are you kidding with that crap? In the words of Jeffrey Gitomer, “All things being equal, people buy from friends. All things NOT being equal, people buy from friends.”

If people buy from people they like, one of your first goals as a salesperson should be to get your customers to like you.

For a salesperson, this can be tough. Especially when it seems that many people don't even want to talk to you. People have a hard time trusting salespeople with their time, money and business.

Welcome to reality: Your customers are busy and may feel that speaking with you is a complete waste of time. Many of your customers may not even see a need for the new products in your store, or they may be content with the products they already have.

Point being, if you want to successfully establish rapport with your customers, you'll have to do it quickly, before they get the chance to assume you're just like every other salesperson – meaning you're only interested in them enough to make a quick buck. Fortunately, there are five keys to help you get this friendship off to a quick start!

Relax and have fun

It is your job to create an environment that is conducive to buying. Pointless, scripted, ice-breaking questions only create a cold selling environment. So relax and have a little bit of fun!

As soon as you meet your customer, you will be evaluated. That evaluation will be determined not just by how you feel, but also how you make your customer feel. The only way to put your customer at ease is to be at ease yourself. If you're uptight and contrived, your customer will remain guarded and cold. If you are having fun, chances are your prospect will, too!

After all, people buy from people, and your job as a professional communicator (a.k.a. salesperson) is to make your customer comfortable enough to grab a soda from your refrigerator.

Lighten up and laugh it up

Nothing is more powerful than humor when it comes to building rapport quickly with your customer. Laughter is the spark that ignites interest and cordiality between you and them; it's hard to laugh with a person and not feel comfortable around them.

Some salespeople take their job too seriously, and are so focused on the sale that they forget to think about the customer. So, lighten up! If you make them laugh, they may buy from you!

Get to the point

You got them in your store — now get to the point! Be very clear and succinct in explaining why the customer should care. Be careful not to use clichéd and insincere reasons to justify a purchase, like saving money, increasing productivity, and other transparent and ineffective reasons they have heard from so many salespeople before you.

Being specific will clear the air and will lead to a conversation and relationship that you will both enjoy.

Show humility and be yourself

Salespeople seem to be born with a humility deficiency, which is probably why many customers get put off by salespeople.

Your customers think that THEY are the most important person in the store, and they expect to be treated as such. To build rapport quickly, you must learn to put that customer and their needs first, regardless of the size of the sale.

Curb the talk about how your company is the biggest and the best, and skip the part about how your product is superior to all other products in the market. The customer needs to come to that realization independently, and the only way for that to happen is for you to remain humble.

Being humble doesn't mean that you have to stifle your uniqueness. It simply means that you must let the customer see and experience your uniqueness rather than having to hear you talk about it.

Be sincere and honest

Trust is the foundation for building a relationship with your customer. You CANNOT fake this! If you are only in it for the sale, it will show! You must be sincere and honest throughout every step of the selling process to be successful.

Being sincere means believing in yourself, your product, and your company wholeheartedly. It means believing your product or service will benefit the customer. You must be passionate about wanting to help your customer and do so in an honest way. Without sincerity and honesty, you have no chance at building the rapport that will lead to loyal business.

When you believe in your heart that the products you are selling will have a profound impact on your customer, it will accompany every word and impression delivered to that person. Your words will be more meaningful and your customer will be more likely to respond to them.

So the next time you are tasked with trying to make a sale, remember to relax, laugh, and enjoy yourself; you're really just making a new friend!

Tom Richard is the President of Tom Richard Marketing and specializes in both marketing and sales education. Visit his website at www.tomrichard.com.

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