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Why Questions in the Sales Process Build Rapport with Customers
Blog / For Sales Pros / May 13, 2014 / Posted by Richard Young / 22792

Why Questions in the Sales Process Build Rapport with Customers

People buy from people they know, like and trust. This is a well-documented fact and as a sales rep, it means one of your key objectives when meeting with prospects is to build rapport so you can earn the likability factor. But how can questions in the sales process help with this?

Let me explain…

Make it all about them

It’s human nature, but people like to talk about themselves! As a sales rep, it pays to embrace this fact. So when you’re interacting with a customer, use open-ended questions to encourage the customer to talk about them.

Small talk is a good place to start because it can help you find common ground. Common ground is useful because these reveal the topics where you share a common interest (and people like people who are like themselves). As a result, common ground is great for building that initial rapport and establishing a foundation of trust.

It’s about how you make them FEEL

Questions in the sales process are really effective at creating an experience for your customer.

We’ve all been in conversations with people who drain our energy, don’t make you feel good, and leave you willing the interaction to end – FAST! In comparison, we’ve also been around people who make you feel good, comfortable, and as a result you feel happy to talk freely.

As a sales rep, of course you want the latter. You want to make a prospect feel at ease so they are willing to share information with you. For sure you don’t want a customer to feel manipulated, but if you can encourage them to volunteer the insights and information you need to progress with the sale, you’re more likely to successfully nudge a customer along your pipeline.

Don’t assume

Never hold back on asking a question because you think you know the answer, and don’t be afraid of asking a question because you think it’s silly.

Assumptions are dangerous things, especially if you end up basing your pitch and the rest of the conversation on something that you assume a customer is already familiar with.

You may be afraid of asking a question because you think it’s silly or something you should already know. To overcome this, do your research first. It’s always best to go into an interaction with a customer with a good understanding of the business – but feel free to check your understanding (whilst demonstrating you have done your homework).

Focus on your customer’s pains

Customers are NOT interested in the features of your product (even if you think they’re really cool!) All they are interested in is how your product/service is going to make their life easier, by helping them overcome the challenges they face.

That’s why you need to be really clear on what is causing your customer pain.

  • What is playing on their mind and keeping them up at night?
  • What one thing will transform their business if they can resolve it?
  • What personally motivates them in their work?

When you know your customer’s pain, you can tailor your pitch to demonstrate how your can help them solve it. When you have the insight and information that enables you to do that, your relevancy soars. That’s because no longer are you seen as an annoying sales rep. Instead, you are perceived as someone who can genuinely help and add value.

  • Which would you rather be?

What are you looking for help with?

Once you know why your customer needs you, you can help.

In fact, helping is the quickest route to selling.

Resist the temptation to talk solely about how your product/service can assist. Instead, aim to help your prospect discover ways to overcome the issues they’re facing. Obviously, this will require you to have a broader range of knowledge, BUT if you can do this, you’ll re-position yourself. Instead of being a sales rep, sharing these wider insights can help you be perceived as a trusted adviser – or a so-called consultative sales professional.

What do you think?

How do you use questions in the sales process to build trust and rapport with your prospects? What things do you ask to start a dialogue and encourage open conversation? I’d love to know what you think, so please let me know in the comments below.

About Author

Richard helped introduce CRM to the UK back in the '90s. With this wealth of knowledge, Richard helps organizations with their CRM and sales management processes in a practical and efficient manner.

Sales Process Automation
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