Relationships Take Too Long

Relationships Take Too Long

“I see the value of relationships, but sometimes I think that takes too long.”

This statement was made by a salesperson in a Software Sales Bootcamp, and raised a key point of how to establish rapport with a buyer.

I’ve listened to thousands of hours of sales calls, and I’ve heard salespeople try to break the ice by starting out with questions like:

  • What’s the weather like there?
  • How about last night’s game?

This is what we call social rapport. It’s a great way to get along with people at a wedding, but I’m going to suggest when you take that approach in a sales environment you’ll meet with different results.

The chance of personality

We know that people buy from those they know, like, and trust, so many people believe that being everyone’s buddy is the key to sales success.

It’s true that about 25% of people have a personality that will respond to this kind of social rapport. They’ll be happy to discuss the weather with you, and maybe you’ll even discover some mutual interests.

The problem is that chit chat does not actually get you anywhere. As my student said, this wastes a lot of time, makes it difficult to come to the point, and more importantly, it doesn’t actually work for most people.

Most buyers are not going to think, “What a nice person! Look how interested in me they are.”

What they are going to think is that it’s contrived – even if your questions are sincere. They will see you as a salesperson whose attempts to build a relationship are schmoozy and salesy. The end result is you’ve annoyed the prospect and they feel like you’re wasting their time, and the entire effort backfires.

A Quick Diagnosis

The core of diagnostic selling is not being someone’s buddy. It’s finding a problem we can solve.

Think of your visits to a doctor. They may focus on a good bedside manner, but they won’t meet with you several times to get to know you. Their goal is to go straight to the diagnosis.

That should be your goal as a salesperson.

The Software Sales Bootcamp offers even more insights on an optimized approach to selling.