When you initiate a conversation, be sure to make eye contact and smile. The goal is to connect and to establish a common bond so that you can communicate effectively. A proven way to build rapport is to simply thank people for their time. Use this with very busy decision makers when you need to get to the point right away.
Questions for Great Openings
If a meeting or an appointment has been set, then you know there is a need or want that requires satisfaction. When buyers call and ask you to come to their home or office, they have a reason. Then, when you start the meeting, that reason should be your first discussion point. The following Case study is an excerpt from The Art of the Q:
Case Study: Home Improvement
“Thank you for meeting with me today. On the phone last week, you said you had some concerns about your kitchen and bathrooms. According to a recent report, kitchen and bathroom improvements are the top two ways to increase the value of your home. I’d like to ask you some questions about your home improvement goals.”
- “What are you hoping to accomplish?”
- “Are there budget parameters or is the sky the limit?”
This example illustrates how to:
1) Build rapport
2) Remind the buyer of key motivators (i.e increase the value of your home)
3) Ask open-ended questions to get the conversation started.
Yes, the best sales people use humor and it usually (but not always) helps to loosen folks up. Each business professional has to make up his or her mind on humor depending on the industry and your clientele. Either way, you get the point and now have ideas that you can apply in your own sales efforts. In summary, thanking people for their time shows respect. Asking a couple of open ended questions builds rapport and gets a conversation started. Be sure to listen with concentration because you may uncover key buying motives that will help you understand the needs and wants of your buyers. For more information, go to The Art of the Q.