Relationships are the true X factor in sales. Why? Because all sales are at least somewhat emotional. At the end of the day, we tend to buy from salespeople we trust, respect and get along with. Building rapport with prospects isn’t just for used car salesmen. Building a lasting relationship is even more important when selling products with recurring revenue, since a great relationship can ramp up the lifetime value (LTV) of the deal. The key is to demonstrate that you’re curious, intelligent and friendly right away.
So how can you build lasting relationships with B2B customers? I talked to several members of our sales team about how they like to build rapport with clients. From their sales experience and my own, here are five easy ways to start sales conversations on the right foot.
LinkedIn offers a wealth of data about a prospect’s career history. Ask your prospects how they got involved with their current company or how they ended up in the role they’re in. If you’re not sure what their role entails, don’t be afraid to ask! You might even learn something that can help you personalize your messaging to fit their role.
LinkedIn makes it easy to identify possible connections with a prospect. Maybe they used to work for a company that your brother works for. Perhaps they are connected with your former boss on LinkedIn. Maybe they went to the same college as you or someone you know. Any connection you can find can potentially be used to build rapport.
You obviously can’t follow the local news for every city, but sometimes there are some local news stories that come to national attention. If so, these can be good ice breakers.
One of the best ways to build rapport is to discuss your prospects’ interests. Nine times out of ten a prospect would rather discuss an interest they’re passionate than work (at least for a little while). Feel free to look at their social feeds for clues about what they might be interested in. You might mention sports, vacations or music.
By looking at a prospect’s LinkedIn page you might be able to get some insight into places they used to live. Or jobs they used to have that are completely different than the one they have now. When approached the right way, you can start some interesting conversations based on a prospect’s past.
Building rapport is only one vital part of a sales call. For the best questions to ask during your entire call, check out our B2B discovery question cheat sheet!
Ramon Gonzalez IV
Ramon Gonzalez IV is an account executive at RingDNA. Ramon is a results-oriented leader with national experience and background in managing technically complex engagements within small to large enterprise firms.