When you meet with a customer for the first time, you should create a comfortable selling situation for both you and the customer. This is called building rapport. It is your ability to relate to the customer and the customer’s ability to relate to you — a two-way interpersonal connection. While a number of factors determine the level of rapport you will have with a customer, it will be helpful for you to use the following rapport-building techniques.
Empathize with the customer’s needs and feelings. If a customer currently uses the competitor’s product, listen and let them know you appreciate their choice. If possible, share information that will help them evaluate their options and determine if the decision they made is still the best one.
Another technique you can use in creating a positive buying experience is mirroring. Mirroring means reflecting a similar attitude, disposition or communication style to that of the customer. Customers will reveal their personalities, values and expectations in their body movement and facial expression. It’s important to understand that most people tend to respond more positively to people who are like them. For example, someone who speaks slowly and quietly tends to expect others to do the same. Often, there is an unfavorable response to those with different behaviors.
Find common ground. It may be a goal, an interest, a hobby, a fear or a concern. Align your experience, background, needs, or interests with those of the customer. If both you and your customer like sports, you’ve found something in common you can use to build rapport. Although if he or she has an opinion about sports you don’t agree with, it may be to your advantage to keep your opinions to yourself.
As you build rapport, you will discover that your customers will tell you what they want if you just ask them. Keep in mind if the customers are engaged and asking questions, they are not bored.
Another important part of the positive customer buying experience and one of the most financially rewarding parts of making a good sale is capitalizing on the good will of your satisfied customers. Make sure your customers are pleased with their purchase and are proud of the wise decision they made. You want them to see a need to continue doing business with you and expand the seller/buyer relationship.