Sherlock Holmes is a master at listening to the language of suspects in all of his cases. His mastery at hearing what is said and what isn’t said, helps him solve so many crimes successfully! But the secret’s out! You can become the master of your own communications – “It’s elementary!”
Whether it’s a salesperson with customer, manager with employee, teacher with student or parent with child, rapport skills are the foundation for successful communications. As we think of rapport being a degree of harmony that we have with someone, it takes on powerful dimensions in developing relationships. One aspect is the degree to which we can visually, auditorily and kinesthetically pace and then lead the person we’re trying to influence.
As salespeople become more knowledgeable about the sales process and more fluent in the language of sales, the opportunity to grow and develop an influencing language can be skillfully accomplished. One area that has a solid reputation is improving communications dramatically is neurolinguistics. Every aspect of our language patterns is a clue that can potentially mean a positive return -increased sales – for those who master the use.
A most important part of the sales process is getting and maintaining rapport. Once this is established, more experienced and successful salespeople realize the impact of maintaining it and coming back to regain it if it’s lost. Over the years many rapport skills and techniques have been used successfully. One training tip which successfully worked for me over and over again was to find something in the decision maker’s office that you could comment on to start a conversation that would let the client know that there is some common ground. A solid handshake, good eye contact and the list of rapport skills goes on. People today are more sophisticated as buyers. It takes higher level skills and knowledge to win your client over your competitors in sales.
In a face to face conversation, if our prospect is highly visual, in our first meeting he will be looking for and evaluating our eye contact, facial expressions, visual image and so on. A second system of auditory, references people’s ability to discriminate and communicate by how things sound. In a conversation, assuming a context of a more auditory client, then tone, pitch, volume and inflection become a more important criteria of evaluating capability. Another sensory system of kinesthetics, deals with understanding more by what we feel. As we talk with someone who is stronger in this system our handshake and our body movement are placed on a higher level of importance.
Understanding that we all incorporate various degrees of all three of these sensory modes gives us a powerful advantage in being able to quickly build rapport with a client.
Let’s walk through the establish rapport stage to understand how any meeting can be more effective. First, since many appointments these days are made on the telephone, we search our memory or notes of our conversation with Ms. Kinaudvis. We remember that her voice was soft, fluid and slow. If we didn’t do this on the telephone, it’s now of utmost importance that we do this in person: match the pattern of her volume, rhythm and pace. This does not mean that we become Rich Little and impersonate the client! Matching means to model this auditory facet of the behavior of the client.
Think about this fascinating way of human beings: we tend to favor people who are much like ourselves! Have you ever had one super-enthusiastic salesperson approach you all bubbly and excited . . . but you were not at the same emotional level? Most times at this point of contact in the approach, we’ll step back from the oncoming firecracker – a mismatch! Matching in any of the sensorychannels of communication – visual, auditory, kinesthetic – is effective in getting and maintaining rapport.
The astute salesperson realizing the importance of rapport will continue to pace Ms. Kinaudvis until rapport is established, and then lead. But the clue seeker will also be sensitive and attend to pacing visual cues as well. High sensory acuity allows you to pace visual and auditory, knowing that in all likelihood the kinesthetic will fall in place automatically.
Second, as we gather information from Ms. Kinaudvis the astute salesperson asks, “What is it you’d like to see happen as a result of using our product?” Sometimes when we ask a client to explain what outcomes he/she is interested, we get a vague, general response partly because of the way we phrase it. The astute salesperson will rephrase the question if it wasn’t understood the first time. But the clue seeker wouldn’t have asked it in a multi-sensory way to begin with! “Tell me, what is it you’d like to see, or hear or feel as a result of using our product?” “That’s easy,” says Ms. Kinaudvis “I’m interested in our customers telling us that they’ll refer us to others because of the top quality; and I’d like to hear our sales reps say that they’re excited about having a new addition to our line and ultimately if our sales increase, well that’s key.”
Now we have some hot buttons to touch on and more importantly, how the client will possibly emphasize aspects of their decision making strategy – through conversations, words from referrals and any number of auditory channels of communication. Our own suspect’s (client’s) language gave us an inside track on the style of the way they will be sorting information to decide to buy! T
he clues that we can gather by listening to the language models of our customers are always – yes always – right there in our conversations. As we become knowledgeable and proficient in the skills of influence, no prospect case is to difficult too close.
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Make it a great day,