Just finished an awesome weekend in Dallas. The day before the mastermind Jaime and I did a sales training to the Hidden Gym team.
I want to dig into one area today around a sales call.
The importance of building rapport in your sales conversation.
In the beginning when I did sales, I was terrible. I was so nervous, anxious, stuttering my words, trying to do everything, but the actual call. Convincing myself that something else was more important, when it clearly was not.
One of my biggest lessons was back 10 years ago when I moved to Hanna, Alberta for a short period of time. It’s a small town of 2,500 people, it’s where Nickelback is from.
I was provided a list of 580 NFL sports agents I had to call and convince about our pH recovery product and how it was going to help give their athletes back another 3 to 5 years of their careers.
I made a list of the top 10 agents from the entire list, these were the big dogs that had 75 to 150 NFL players on their roster.
I still remember that first call, it was to Tom Condon, the agent to Peyton and Eli Manning. I got his secretary on the phone, I tried to speak but nothing came out of my mouth, the secretary on the other end didn’t have a clue what I was saying. I was stumbling my words, forgot what I was going to say and just plain bombed the whole thing.
I continued to call the remaining 9 agents, and totally flopped all the calls.
That didn’t work, so I decided to just print the list off, start from the top and start calling. I started at 9 am and called straight through the day till 5 pm for a total of 4 weeks. I called people back, left voicemails, dropped emails, I did everything I could think of to get their attention.
I remember my aunt coming to me the next month saying, I'm glad we have a good phone plan, it looks like you called over 5,000 minutes last month.
Took me about 2 weeks to get the hang of things and for me to actually keep someone on the phone longer than 20 seconds, without them hanging up, telling me they weren’t interested or them telling me to drop them an email and they will take a look.
I finally got someone who responded back to me after 2 calls and an email to their office and that agent led into them offering to have us down for a presentation in their USA office and a future working relationship afterward.
What did I learn through all this?
One of the calls, I won’t ever forget, it was a very high profile agent named Drew Rosenaus, he and his brother had 151 NFL players on their roster. I got through to someone on the line, it was one of the brothers, spoke with him for about 10 seconds and then he replied back with something along the lines of. 'Whatever thing you have sounds ridiculous, we get pitched all the time things, your’s sounds like garbage, I don’t want it, you just wasted my time, don’t ever call here again, leave us the F….. alone, then he hung up.’
That took the wind out of my sails for about 24 hours, but I regrouped and kept rocking.
By the 4th week of calling I started to loosen up, and just be me and that was the difference in being able to actually talk to the gate keepers longer than 15 seconds.
How did you build rapport?
Far too many coaches that we work with try to follow an exact script.
I’m not a big believer in that.
In Trainer Revenue Multiplier we use a 7 step format, that you can customize towards your own.
I don’t want to sound like some robot, people are sick of that and will spot it a mile away.
Nice to meet you.
How are you doing today?
Where are you calling from?
I’m curious, what got you into coaching?
Your rapport building is meant to break the ice and create relatability with the prospect, which leads into diving into their goals and why they came to you in the first place.
Don’t make rapport building a long drawn out process, a good 2 to 5 minutes is great, feel it out. These few minutes are like an investment into the relationship that shows you care, which you DO.
Avoid getting on the call the call with something like this:
How are you?
So what are your fitness goals?
Just writing it feels cold, you won’t get a genuine conversation flowing and it will be more difficult to close at the end.
Usually anything over 5 minutes of rapport is starting to get a bit too long, depending on the situation. What I’ve found is most people come on a call and they are anxious and nervous, this rapport building calms them down, gets them to connect more with you and brings out better quality answers as you unfold the conversation.
I always go to a sales conversation now with a mindset around TWO things:
How can I best serve this person?
I’m looking forward to meeting someone new!
If I go to a call thinking JUST about the sale, which I have many times. Those calls don’t feel authentic, sometimes do result in a sale, although I don’t feel I BEST served them.
Hope this adds some value to your rapport building!