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How Focusing on Rapport Works Against You

How Focusing on Rapport Works Against You

How many times have you thought you had a deal in the bag, but lost it at the 11th hour?  Why does this happen?  Most often it’s because of what you’ve been taught about building rapport.

Don’t get me wrong, rapport is important, but asking about the fish on the wall or whatever else you see in their office, is a problem.  Think of it this way … when you have a problem that you want to fix, do you really want to spend time talking about the things in your office or do you want to discuss how to get rid of your problem?

The other issue is time.  Aimlessly chit chatting, hoping to land on the magic topic that connects you to your prospect, wastes valuable time, causing you to rush the most important part of the meeting, which is uncovering why they are truly interested in your offering.

Cutting your time short forces a harsh transition, from relaxed small talk to full-on fact finding.  You rapid-fire questions at them and sound more like an interrogator than a concerned service-provider.  Not only does this make your prospect uncomfortable, its unproductive.  They recoil and become guarded.  Now, they see the meeting as more adversarial than cordial.   An air of tension emerges.  Feeling the change you accept vague answers to your questions and are careful not press or come on too strong, not wanting to lose the opportunity.

It’s here, at this point in the sales meeting, that you’ve lost the sale for all intents and purposes; you just don’t realize it yet.  The willingness to accept unclear answers and move forward and give a presentation, hold a webinar or issue a quote is a formula for failure.  In reality, you’ve just agreed to do a lot of work without a clear understanding of what it will take to acquire them as a paying customer.  Closing this piece of business has just become the longest of long shots!

Here’s why:  You have no idea what’s important to them.  Without understanding their “why” for buying, you are stabbing in the dark for ways to connect your offering to what they want and need to solve.  In other words, you’re guessing and hoping that your product, service and/or price motivates them to buy.  To protect against wasting time and missing sales, you have to understand what’s important to them.  And you cannot do that effectively wasting time talking about the fish on the wall.

Instead, focus on uncovering the problem your prospect is having and dive into understanding how the issue is impacting them in business and personally.  Focusing your conversation around their problem is the quickest and simplest way to build the initial rapport needed for them to feel comfortable with you and for you to find out if you can truly help them.

If your sales meetings don’t result in you finding out the issue that they are struggling with and how its impacting them.  What their buying process is, and who’s involved in it.  And when they are looking to fix the issue; then move on.  Talking about their fish on the wall, their beautiful family or old sports trophies is a waste of time and only gets you a seat at a game you can’t win.

I wish you good selling and much success.

SuccessPath, based in Louisville Kentucky, provides business coaching and sales training for small business owners and their team.  They approach training from the inside out, tackling  inner messages like self-doubt, concern of not measuring-up and fear of failure that hold back results and sabotage success.  If you're looking for new ways to get get results, visit and find out what we're doing that's helping business owners grow by 10, 20 even 30% a year.  Click here to get our FREE video series4 Pillars for a Better Business, Better Life, to take your business to the next level - visit and get them while they are still FREE.  


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