Good bonding and rapport is not about commenting on things like family photos or asking about someone's favorite sports team. It's about very small things that help you connect subconsciously with your prospect. People you talk with have developed defenses against salespeople as a result of bad salespeople they've met in the past. Your job is to get past those defenses in order to have a real conversation.
One client of ours had an interaction with a prospect that involved both accidental and intentional bonding and rapport. Let's look at what happened and what you can learn from it, then I'll share some more resources around bonding and rapport as well as prospecting.
Preparing for the next meeting
This particular day, our client had spent some time working outside in 100 degree heat. He wrapped things up around 3:30 p.m., with plenty of time to get ready for a 6:30 p.m. appointment with a prospect. His team had let him know that the prospect was Asian, which allowed him to better prepare. He was familiar with Asian culture and knew a few different ways to help bonding and rapport.
He had enough time to grab a quick shower at the YMCA, change into a fresh set of clothes, then go grab a bite to eat at a Chinese restaurant. He quickly ate his dinner and got some work done. With ten minutes to spare before he had to leave, he got up to throw his trash away.
Unfortunately, he immediately spilled some leftover sauce. While it didn't hit his shirt or shorts, it spilled down his leg and got on his sandals as well.
Knowing he was short on time, he grabbed some water and napkins, wiped his leg down as well as he could, gathered his things, and took off for his appointment.
Bonding and rapport in the sales meeting
Arriving at his prospect's house, he spotted her sandals on the front steps. As part of his intentional bonding and rapport, he quickly slipped his sandals off, put them next to hers, then rang the doorbell.
His prospect answered the door and invited him in. As he sat down, a small dog ran up to him. The dog was way too happy to see him and could obviously smell the sauce, as it quickly began to lick his leg.
For the next hour and a half, he talked with the lady about his services while the dog continued to lick his leg. It was so ticklish that every once in a while a giggle would slip out! And only once did his prospect actually tell the dog to get back, which seemed to have no effect at all.
At the end of the meeting, the lady decided to engage our client's services.
Helping people like you
Our client understood some things about his target market. He was fairly well versed in Asian culture in part because that was one segment of his ideal prospect profile. So the intentional part of his bonding and rapport was when he slipped his sandals off before his prospect even answered the door.
Then there's the part of the story that's pretty funny. Our client sat there while the dog licked his leg for an hour and a half! He let it happen, didn't get upset, and continued to focus on the interaction.
Do you think people are more or less likely to buy from someone who their dog likes? Obviously, that's only a small part of the larger interaction, but people buy from people they know, like, trust, and value. And for most dog owners, they're more likely to like someone their dog likes.
People like people who are like them. And that has a lot more to do with behaviors and communication styles than it does commenting on a family photo or asking about their favorite sports team.
When you think about your ideal client, what can you do to help them like you? How can you be more intentional about your bonding and rapport with them so you can have a real conversation?
Getting intentional and consistent with your bonding and rapport will help increase your closing ratio without even seeing more prospects. We've written a number of articles over the years related to getting better at bonding and rapport.
Here are just a few of them:
- How to get thrown out of a prospect's office
- Speaking your prospect's language
- Screw up a sales call the right way
We also have tools available to help you get better a bonding and rapport. First up is a video that talks about two driving factors in communication. These play a huge part in bonding and rapport.
If you want to get better at prospecting in general, we have a book by Sandler Trainer John Rosso, Prospect the Sandler Way. In this book, Rosso shares 30 core principles for mastering stress-free lead development, including how to use LinkedIn to generate referrals.
You can read more and even download a free sample here:
Finally, you may want us to help you or your team get better at bonding and rapport or other areas of prospecting. We help our clients learn through a classroom environment, one-on-one coaching, or custom group training.
If any of those sound like they're worth a conversation, you can call us at (405) 844-1700 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.