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Central Scotland | amackie@sandler.com

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Are you or your salespeople stuck in the old-fashioned approach to bonding and rapport? Have you built a wall between you and your prospect?

I dedicated one of our most recent sales training classes to bonding and rapport. At this point, you might be asking yourself two questions. Why have I included this in a sales course and why even bother writing or talking about it? After all, salespeople know everything they need to know about it, they are natural.

What should you keep in mind?

A while ago I worked with the client who told me that he knew everything about bonding and rapport. In his world bonding and rapport was a 'total waste of time'. 

To my surprise, he stated that he has no interest creating any sort of bond between him and his prospect. Instead, he just comes into a meeting and gets straight to business, wasting no time.  I've never met a salesperson like this.   

What my client failed to notice is - every prospect has their own unique communication style. Being a good salesperson means being a good communicator. 

It's important that the salesperson adapts their communication style to their prospect. This will allow the prospect to feel comfortable when the salesperson is in the room. 

We know from research that half the population are turned off by that super friendly salesperson who always remembers about your dog or favourite sport. While there's another significant part of the population who love a good chat prior getting down to business. 

The point I am making- know your audience. As prospects, we tend to buy from people who are just like us. Being direct and almost abrupt would work brilliant with some prospects, while it would be a disaster with others. Do you like that friendly salesperson or the one who always sticks to business? Big picture and fast or slow and meticulous?

How do I know that It works?

A while ago someone come in to re-do my kitchen. The salesperson, Tom, gave me a huge catalogue of kitchen taps and told me to choose one. He did not care that I am easily bored with much detail. Although I mentioned that it does not matter, as long as it does the job, the salesperson insisted on choosing the style, era etc. 

To me, a tap is on/off and hot/cold and being stuck with this salesperson and listening about taps was completely tedious.  

Tom had the best intentions. Despite that, he didn't get my business. He failed to read me as a prospect and did not communicate in a way that suits me. 

Instead, I bought from someone who understood me and adapted their communication style to fit my personality.  It had nothing to do with price, service, quality or expertise. I told Tom that he had lost on price. After all, that is an easy thing to tell any salesperson.

How often are you or your salespeople losing opportunities right at the beginning? Most likely, salespeople move on to do proposals or demos after the initial meeting with the prospect. One thing they often do not consider is that the deal might be already lost due to their communication approach. They continue to waste vast amounts of time and money on something that the prospect has no intention to move forward. 

Ask yourself this question – How do your salespeople modify their conversations, emails or proposals or demos to suit the prospect? Do they understand and use the full range of tools available – personality profiling, transactional analysis, OK/ Not OK Theory?

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