Did you know reporter and rapport have the same Old French word origin, “to bring back?” I came across this by accident as I was making sure I correctly spelled rapport (not repoire, which is not a word, but remains a frequent search term to my blog). I think this origin is important to building this sales skill. You have “to bring something back” to the customer that makes your interaction valuable. So, let’s look at 5 things we can do “to bring back” to the customer, or the 4 min rapport pitch:
1. Don’t waste your prospects time
Tell them immediately you are not going to take more than 4 minutes of their time (they won’t believe you if you say 5. It’s like the old line, “Officer I only had 2 beers,” and the police officer’s replies, “Yeah, you and every other DUI on the road.”).
After that commitment, start your stopwatch and then tell them the purpose of your call in 10 seconds or less. When your stopwatch hits 4 minutes, regardless of how good the conversation is going, tell them that your time is up and you don’t want to encroach further on their day.
If your product or service is compelling they will beg you to stay or follow up. Regardless, you just built the top buying motivator–TRUST.
2. Turn something you know about the prospect into a story
How hard is this with Google? Look at your lead screen (I assume you have a rocking lead management system that makes this possible) and find something to build a story from…Have you been to where they live, did your spouse or girlfriend grow up there, is their local sports team having a good or bad year, can you find some interesting factoid about where they live or them? This process tells your prospect that you took time to prepare for them and are not just one of hundreds in your queue.
Our little secret…they are one of 100s of personal experiences you will create with the 30 seconds magic of a Google search. Everyone likes a personal story or touch. Here is an example: I recently sent an email to a prospect in Hawaii. I went to their website and noted that their entire company directory was full of native Hawaiian surnames. I closed my email with “Aloha,” instead of my usual “Best Regards.” I got the deal.
3. Attitude Plus Aptitude Leads to Altitude
I’m not sure where this came from, but my Dad always told this to me and it brings results.
Get out of your chair, stand up straight, puff out your chest, and smile. You will be the brightest voice they will hear all day–I guarantee. Then add in a little aptitude, with a follow up thank you email that include a valuable one pager educating them on their buying decision or a pointer to an Internet article that adds to your just concluded call.
Attitude + Aptitude = Soaring Sales!
4. Spend 1 Minute Listening
Spend at least 1 of your 4 minutes listening. Never talk more than 30 seconds straight without engaging the prospect for feedback. Never interrupt the prospect or force them back to your bullet point script. Answer their questions and shape your 4 minute message to their needs.
5. Always Follow Up!
Regardless of the outcome of any call or sales process ALWAYS follow up. Let them know that you appreciated their time, that you are always available for future questions (even if they don’t become your customer), and that you will follow up to ensure their needs are met (even if they aren’t your customer).
The fastest sales cycle and the most loyal buyer is one that is disappointed by their first choice and you were their safety net. This is my favorite sale and no one does it!
Rapport is “bringing back” value to the customer
Every one of these rapport builders is about “bringing back” something of value to the prospect, not a rigid script. Practice engaging in good conversation and tuning your ear for subtle indicators of where you can give before you get.