Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Five Tips for Building Rapport With Leads

Friendly business people
When you're trying to close a deal with a lead, you'll probably have several emails, phone calls and face-to-face meetings with the prospect. It's important to do everything you can to make the most of those interactions.

While it's obviously vital to discuss business during these chats, establishing a relationship between the two of you can be the difference between your closing the sale and getting kicked to the curb.

Here are our five tips on how to build rapport with leads and convert them to customers.

Be Genuine

No one wants a fake, cheesy salesman pitching a product to them. When was the last time that worked on you? Probably never. Now is the time to put into practice the advice you heard so much growing up: Be yourself.

There's a reason your company wants you to interact with the lead instead of just dropping some literature in the mail: your personality. It's what makes you special and will give your lead an idea of what to expect once they're your customer.

When the lead asks how you are, rather than grunting out the usual "good," feel free to tell them how excited you are about the new house you just bought or about your kid's victory at the science fair. And then when you ask them how they are, genuinely listen to what they have to say. By showing interest in their lives, you're building the kind of rapport that can't come from looking at a brochure.

Be Prepared

Take advantage of social networks and other online information to discover a little more about your lead. They probably have a LinkedIn profile, a Twitter page and a Facebook profile. This is information they're willingly putting out there for people to see. So do your homework by checking out these sites to see what the person cares about.

Just keep in mind that it's important to only use information that's public and positive. If the lead has their Twitter or Facebook set to private, don't use proxies to get around the walls. Respect your future client's privacy; you may not get as much information about them that way, but they'll appreciate you for it.

Be Personal

This is when you can utilize all that social network research you did. If your lead's Twitter avatar is a picture of them with their kids, ask how their family is. If you noticed you have a common interest in fishing by looking at their likes on Facebook, chat with them about your latest catch.

However, make sure you don't take it to the extreme and reveal just how much you know about them. Asking, "How was that Beyoncé concert you went to on August 19?" will probably come off as a little creepy, and might cause you to lose the sale forever.

Be Understanding

When it comes down to business, you want to let the prospect know that you see their perspective. You understand their needs as a business, and you can help alleviate their fears. Discuss their pain points, and tell them how your product or service can help.

This sort of conversation will not only move the sale toward a close but will show the lead that you're knowledgeable about their industry. This will help them feel like you're not just a clueless salesperson but someone they can trust.

Be Patient

You may not feel very chatty as you head into a meeting with a lead. You probably have quotas and deadlines looming over you, and you're ready to just talk shop.

But if your lead is wanting to shoot the breeze, don't cut them off to start your sales pitch. Remember how important this socializing time is when building rapport! If they feel comfortable enough to chitchat with you, that's a good sign. Your efforts to build a relationship with your lead have been working so far, and you probably won't need to deliver as strong of a sales pitch if they already like you.

Take your time as you move through the conversation, and let it flow naturally. You'll see a bigger payoff in the end.

By following these tips, you can establish relationships with leads that'll go a long way in your sales numbers and your business's reputation. One last tip: To avoid wasting time investing in leads who probably won't ever turn into customers, check out our post on how to catch quality leads.

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