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Rapport building: the dos and don’ts

When it comes to telemarketing, building rapport with clients and prospective clients is an essential skill. It is surprising how common it still is to receive sales calls where the caller demonstrates a complete lack of rapport or empathy, leaving the call recipient alienated and disgruntled - unlikely to want to re-engage with that brand. As telemarketing experts for over 28 years, rapport building is fundamental to our core training. Even if callers join our business with years of experience, they go through training to refresh their skills and bring them in line with our best practice standards.

To help you ensure your calls make a genuine and authentic connection with your target audience, we’ve pulled together our list of recommended ‘dos and don’ts’.

Show respect

Be aware that senior decision-makers are busy individuals whose time is precious. Respect that fact and don’t chat, waffle or waste their time – be clear and direct. Let them know immediately who you are and why you’re calling. If you sense that the client is busy or distracted, offer to call back at a more convenient time. They will appreciate the fact that you are being considerate and, when you do speak to them again, they’ll know you aren’t just another pushy salesperson.

Make it about them, not you

Each call should focus on the client. Even if calling cold, you should have researched the customer sufficiently to understand why your call will be of interest to them. Don’t give a lengthy description of what your product does, tell them how it can help them – what are the benefits they’ll receive? You have a very short window in which to get their attention and need to make the call relevant from the very start.

Identify buying style

As you move through the buying process it is important to understand your prospective buyer’s preferred style and adapt accordingly. There are some well recognised buying styles that will help you understand what is driving your buyer and how they think. Adapting your approach to their preferred style will make them feel more comfortable and enable you to build their trust. With training, it is possible to pick up signals and behaviours that indicate a particular buying style. For example, is the prospect asking lots of questions, or are they more reticent? Are they chatty and engaged, or more introvert and reserved? Identifying buying style and striking the right tone creates a solid foundation on which to build rapport.

Listen

The ability to listen and build an understanding of the other person’s viewpoint is an essential rapport-building skill. Rather than a scripted approach, solution selling methods and conversational questions establish a two way flow of information. Only by actively listening to your client, will you be able to understand their needs and demonstrate how you can address them with a tailored proposition.

Empathy

Your ability to put yourself in your prospect’s shoes has a massive impact in terms of the level of rapport you can achieve. The more you understand their challenges, either at an individual, organisational or industry level, the better you will be able to relate to your client. Demonstrating that you truly understand their viewpoint builds their trust and enables them to see value in engaging with you as a credible partner. Research your prospect in advance, stay in touch with what is happening in their industry, build your sector knowledge so that your interactions are credible and meaningful.

Sometimes, you have to take “no” for an answer

There’s nothing more annoying for prospective clients than being called persistently when they’ve already stressed that they’re not interested. If your contact says that they have no need for your product or service, accept their position. Instead, try to understand why they aren’t interested. Insight into their concerns or reservations could be even more valuable than a ‘yes’ - it helps hone strategy and identify future development opportunities. If you don’t alienate the prospect at this stage, and capture more detail around their interests and needs, they could become a valuable future client.

If you are looking to increase the quality of your interactions with existing or prospective clients but don’t have the skills or resource you need, get in touch to discuss your requirements.

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