Traits of Top Salespeople

"Top salespeople are complete: they begin every sales presentation with a brief recap of their understanding of the prospect’s situation."

Tag: Client engagement

What do you do if you want to build rapport with potential clients during a sales call?

What do you do if you want to build rapport with potential clients during a sales call?

In my role as a fractional Vice President of Sales, I frequently coach relatively inexperienced salespeople on techniques to improve their revenue. Recently, I was asked, “What do you do if you want to build rapport with potential clients during a sales call?” It was a great conversation with this inexperienced salesperson, and I wanted to share the highlights of our conversation.

Building rapport is critical in any sales process as it helps establish trust and create a favorable environment for business discussions. Here are several effective strategies to enhance rapport-building during sales calls:

Engage with Personalized Approaches

Start by researching your potential client. If possible, understand their business, industry challenges, and personal interests. This information allows you to tailor your conversation, making it relevant and engaging right from the start. Personalization shows that you value the client’s unique needs and are not merely delivering a generic sales pitch.

Practice Active Listening

Active listening involves more than just hearing the words another person says. Active listening is understanding the underlying emotions and intentions. Show that you are listening by summarizing the client’s words and asking clarifying questions. This ensures you are on the same page and demonstrates your respect and attention to their concerns.

Share Relevant Stories and Experiences

Stories are a powerful tool in building connections. Sharing anecdotes that relate to the client’s situation can illustrate your understanding and empathy. Whether it’s a challenge you’ve helped another client overcome or a personal story that relates to the topic at hand, make sure it resonates with the core issues or interests of the client.

Remember, stories will be remembered. The better you tell stories, the more the listener will remember and appreciate you.

Mirror and Match

Mirroring and matching are techniques where you subtly mimic the client’s body language, tone of voice, or speech patterns. This should be done cautiously and naturally to avoid seeming insincere. When executed well, this technique can lead to increased feelings of alignment and comfort on the client’s part.

Use Positive Language

Positive language can help foster positive interaction. Even when discussing challenges or responding to objections, frame your responses positively. This helps maintain an upbeat atmosphere and encourages a constructive dialogue.

Actionable Advice for Implementation

At the end of your next sales call preparation, take a few moments to:

  1. Gather insightful information about the client and their business.
  2. Plan open-ended questions that encourage discussion.
  3. Think of relevant stories and experiences you can share.
  4. Practice mirroring techniques with a colleague to get feedback on your approach.

By consciously integrating these practices into your sales calls, you’ll find that building rapport becomes a more natural and effective component of your sales strategy. Remember, the goal is to make the potential client feel valued and understood, paving the way for a successful business relationship.

Staying Top of Mind: The Power of Sharing Industry Insights with Customers and Prospects

Staying Top of Mind: The Power of Sharing Industry Insights with Customers and Prospects

Staying top of mind with your customers and prospects is crucial for long-term success in B2B sales. As a salesperson, you understand the importance of improving a company’s revenue generation capability. One often overlooked strategy is the art of sharing industry and management articles with your clients. In this blog post, we’ll explore why successful salespeople who read and share articles can be a game-changer for your sales strategy.

The Value of Industry and Management Articles

Sales professionals are often the front-line ambassadors of a company, representing its products, services, and values. To be effective in this role, they must stay informed about industry trends, management best practices, and emerging market dynamics.

In the ever-evolving landscape of sales, the role of a salesperson has transformed from being a transactional agent to that of a trusted advisor. Today, being well-read is a valuable asset that can elevate a salesperson’s credibility, effectiveness, and success in the field.

Knowledge is synonymous with authority; therefore, salespeople who invest time in reading and staying updated on industry trends, market dynamics, and management best practices are better equipped to provide valuable insights to their clients. This knowledge sets them apart as trusted advisors who understand their clients’ challenges and can offer tailored solutions.

Because reading enhances a salesperson’s knowledge, broadens their horizons, and deepens their empathy, a well-read salesperson is more likely to understand their client’s unique needs and pain points, enabling them to build stronger, more meaningful relationships. This understanding is the foundation of trust.

Sales professionals who regularly consume industry-specific literature, market reports, and business books are constantly expanding their knowledge base. This knowledge encompasses the features of their products or services and a comprehensive understanding of the broader industry context, market trends, and competitors. This knowledge empowers salespeople to speak confidently, answer client questions, and offer well-informed recommendations.

Truly successful salespeople won’t limit reading to industry-specific content, though. You should also include exposure to diverse viewpoints and ideas from various authors and disciplines. This diversity of thought broadens a salesperson’s horizons, allowing them to approach problems and challenges with a more open and creative mindset. They can draw inspiration from various sources, adapt strategies from different industries, and think outside the box when solving client issues. As a result, they become more adaptable and innovative in their approach, which is particularly valuable in today’s dynamic business environment.

Please understand that reading isn’t solely about acquiring knowledge; it’s also about gaining insights into the human experience. Well-written literature, biographies, and psychology books can help salespeople develop a deeper empathy. When they read about the struggles, triumphs, and challenges faced by characters or real-life individuals, they can relate these experiences to their clients’ situations. This enhanced empathy allows them to connect with clients more personally, truly understanding their needs, aspirations, and pain points.

Armed with knowledge and empathy, well-read salespeople are better equipped to offer tailored solutions. They don’t resort to one-size-fits-all approaches but instead craft strategies and recommendations that specifically address each client’s unique needs. This level of personalization demonstrates a genuine commitment to the client’s success. It reinforces the perception that the salesperson is a trusted advisor with the client’s best interests.

Reading also improves a salesperson’s communication skills. Exposure to well-crafted prose and persuasive writing helps them articulate their thoughts more clearly and persuasively. They can convey complex ideas in a simple and compelling manner, making it easier for clients to grasp the value of their recommendations. Effective communication builds rapport, and fosters trust.

Combining knowledge, empathy, and effective communication creates the ideal environment for building deeper, more meaningful client relationships. Well-read salespeople can engage in insightful conversations, actively listen to client concerns, and provide thoughtful solutions. Clients, in turn, feel heard and valued, leading to a stronger emotional connection and a greater likelihood of ongoing collaboration.

The business world is changing constantly, and being well-read ensures that salespeople can adapt to new challenges and opportunities. They can pivot their strategies and recommendations based on the latest insights, demonstrating their agility and commitment to their client’s success.

Well-read salespeople often position themselves as thought leaders within their industry. When clients perceive a salesperson as a source of valuable information and insights, they are more inclined to seek their guidance and trust their recommendations.

Knowledge generates awareness, and this awareness creates authority. Well-read salespeople better understand their capabilities and the solutions they provide. This assurance resonates with customers, making them more likely to trust their suggestions.

Sales is not only about promoting products or services; it’s also about resolving problems. Well-read sales professionals are adept at locating and tackling their clients’ issues in imaginative and effective ways, showing off their problem-solving skills.

I regularly discuss that there are three things that each salesperson sells to every prospect:

  • their product,
  • their company,
  • themselves.

Because most products have an equivalent competitive product and competitive companies are usually quite adequate and rarely convince a prospect to NOT purchase, it is not unusual for a prospect to buy due to their trust towards the salesperson. Being well-read assists the salesperson in building credibility and potentially becomes the difference between winning the order or losing the order.

Reading is a multifaceted tool that enriches a salesperson’s professional and personal growth. It equips them with knowledge, broadens their perspective, and deepens their empathy – all of which are essential for building trust-based relationships with clients. Through a commitment to continuous learning and reading, salespeople can elevate their effectiveness and stand out as trusted advisors in their field.

The role of a salesperson has evolved into that of a trusted advisor who guides clients toward the best solutions for their needs. Being well-read is a powerful tool that helps salespeople embody this role effectively. It enables them to offer valuable insights, build strong relationships, and position themselves as experts in their field. So, whether you’re a seasoned sales professional or just starting your career, remember that the path to becoming a trusted advisor begins with gaining your prospect’s respect.

Tips for Effective Article Sharing

Now that we’ve established the value of sharing industry and management articles, here are some tips to make the most of this strategy:

Engaging with clients goes beyond transactional interactions. Sharing articles initiates meaningful conversations and encourages clients to share their thoughts and insights, further strengthening the relationship.

1. Curate Relevant Content: Ensure that the articles you share are directly related to your clients’ industries or pain points. Tailor the content to their specific interests to make it more meaningful.

2. Add Personalization: When sharing an article, include a personal note explaining why you thought it would be valuable for the recipient. This personal touch shows that you’ve considered their needs and interests.

3. Consistency is Key: Don’t make article sharing a one-off activity. Consistency is vital to maintain top-of-mind awareness. Create a schedule for sharing articles, but avoid overwhelming your clients with excessive emails.

4. Encourage Discussion: Encourage clients and prospects to share their thoughts and opinions on the articles you send. This can spark meaningful conversations and help you understand their challenges and goals better.

5. Measure Engagement: Use analytics tools to track open rates and click-through rates for the articles you send. This data can provide insights into which topics resonate most with your audience.

Long-term relationships are the most invaluable in sales. Well-read sellers have sufficient understanding and proficiency to nurture strong client connections that can result in repeat business and referrals. By sharing key articles and 3rd party information, you will build a longer-term relationship with your prospect.

Staying top of mind with your customers and prospects is a strategic imperative in professional selling. Sharing industry and management articles is a powerful and subtle way to maintain meaningful connections, foster trust, and position yourself as a valuable partner in your clients’ success journeys. Embrace this practice, and watch as your revenue generation capabilities soar to new heights.

Header Photo by Dziana Hasanbekava