Turning A Contact Into A Customer

Breaking the sales process down into its simplest components, this is what we get:

a)Make them comfortable with you.
b)Find out what they want.
c)Show them how what you have gives them what they want.
d)Get an agreement on the next step.
e)Follow up and leverage satisfaction.

Of course the first step is crucial, to make them comfortable with you. In other words, to create some rapport with the other person. According to the dictionary, rapport is “an emotional bond or friendly relationship between people based on mutual liking, trust and a sense that they understand and share each others concerns.”

It is clear why this is so important. If your contact doesnt feel comfortable with you, then he/she wont be nearly as open to sharing information. And, if we cant get information, we cant “find out what they want.” We all have stories to tell about an incident in which we were the buyer and a sales person was rude or self-interested to the point where we decided to terminate the relationship and go somewhere else.

The same can be said of our customers. If they dont feel comfortable with us, if they dont feel that we are interested in them, they form negative impressions of us and consider some other source of supply. Im surprised by the quantity of sales people who get this exactly wrong. Theyll talk about a customer and say something like, “he’s a really nice guy,” as if that mattered. Their first reaction is to judge the customer by their own feelings about the customer.

That’s exactly backwards. It doesnt matter how we feel about the customer. What does matter is how the customer feels about us. And, it is the responsibility of the professional sales person to interact with the customer in such a way as to make this particular human being comfortable with us.

Not surprisingly, the best sales people are masters of creating rapport with all kinds of people, understanding that it is the essential first step in a successful interaction with a customer. The average sales person never takes the time to study this issue. Instead he/she relies on hit-or-miss people skills developed outside of the job, and views the customer through his/her reaction to the customer. The best sales people, on the other hand, understand that it is their job to create rapport with every customer, regardless of their own feelings. They make it a practice to study techniques to do so, and implement those techniques with discipline.

Like so many specific aspects of the sales person’s job, there is no magic, no secret to this task. Creating rapport is a widely researched issue, and best practices for doing this well are widely described.
Michael Bolton – When a Man Loves a Woman

When a Man Loves a Woman, from the album Time, Love & Tenderness, which was released in 1991.
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About Times, Love & Tenderness:
Time, Love & Tenderness is the seventh studio album by American recording artist Michael Bolton. The album was released on April 23, 1991 by Columbia Records; The album topped the Billboard 200 chart and produced four Top 40 singles: a cover of Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, “Love Is a Wonderful Thing” reached No. 4, “Time, Love and Tenderness” reached No. 7, and “Missing You Now” reached No. 12.

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When a man loves a woman
Can’t keep his mind on nothin’ else
He’d trade the world
For a good thing he’s found
If she is bad, he can’t see it
She can do no wrong
Turn his back on his best friend
If he puts her down