People buy from people they know, fact.
Therefore, if you find things you and your prospect have in common, subjects you can talk about it will be much easier for you to establish a relationship with them.
If you manage to build rapport with the prospect, you no longer are someone who is just trying to sell them something. You become someone much better than this, a real person (and I am afraid sales people are rarely perceived as ones).
But how do you do that with someone you meet for the first time?
How do you establish the foundation of the business relationship with someone who has never met you and technically you know nothing of each other?
Well, here is how I do it:
1. If I am meeting a prospect in their place of business, I look for clues as soon as I walk in. I check their pictures in the lobby, plaques, awards or magazines that are left there. You can spark a great conversation by asking the prospect about any of that.
2. In their office I look for pictures of family or events they might have attended. I quickly check the books on the bookshelf, awards, diplomas or anything that may shed a light on what sort of a person they are outside work. If I find something interesting, I ask about it.
3. If we meet outside of their office, in a hotel lobby or a coffee shop for instance, I usually try to find out about the prospects background. Maybe we lived in the same neighborhood? Or went to the same school? Maybe we use the same swimming pool? The possibilities are endless and it is your job to find the information and avail of it in the right time.
The secret to building rapport is to captivate a prospect in conversation about THEIR interests. People love talking about themselves. If you let them do that and show a sincere interest in what they say, they will like you.
The above are my ways of building rapport with prospects, however, these are of course not the only ones. Do you have any tips that have worked for you? Share them with us in the comments.