Discover three steps to build trust and rapport with the prospects you want to effectively connect with.
In this article:
- How Sales Representatives Build Trust and Rapport
- What Went Wrong for The Sales Representatives?
- Reaching Out to Your Cold Market
- Building Trust In Business Through Rapport Research
- Build Trust In 3 Steps: Use The R.O.I.
- Remember The R.O.I.
How To Build Trust With Prospects in Three Steps
How Sales Representatives Build Trust and Rapport
Gabe Larsen here, and today I’ll share with you three steps to build trust in three minutes. First, let me start off by saying that I’m a competitor magnet — salespeople from competitor companies keep sending me emails, trying to get me to buy their products. It is bizarre.
Email Example #1
I’ll share with you snippets of two emails I’ve received from our competitors. Here’s the first one where the sales representative said:
“Gabe, is there anything you’re looking to improve in your salesforce usage? Part of my job is to connect with anyone who wishes to go beyond their salesforce data to maximize their pipeline. If you have a few minutes to chat, I’d love to formally introduce myself and see if [competitor name] would be a good fit for your company.”
I didn’t respond to this first email. Then a few days later, the same sales representative sent me a follow-up email:
“Gabe, I’m just a salesgirl, standing in front of another sales professional, asking you to… give me 15 minutes to chat about your day-to-day and how I think we’re a perfect fit (in your sales forecasting).”
Now that caught my attention. It had a picture of Julia Roberts with Hugh Grant in the film “Notting Hill,” so I wrote the sales representative back and told her, “Great email — definitely caught my attention. I’m not sure what you guys do or if we need it.”
She replied and proceeded to tell me what their company does. Truthfully, I knew that’s what they did. I was only giving her a chance to do a little bit of research and realize that we are one of their competitors. It took me about 30 seconds to figure out from their website what they did, but the sales representative didn’t pick up on that.
Then I told her, “It appears that might actually be a competitive offering to what we offer in the market. I’m going to pass for now, unless you convince me otherwise.” I tried to let the sales representative down gently here. It only got worse by the moment.
The sales representative then said, “Ha ha ha, good catch, Gabe. You are right. Good luck with your end of year.” That must’ve been embarrassing.
Email Example #2
Now here’s the second example. Honestly, I did not respond to this one. The sales representative’s message said:
“Hi Gabe! I run Business Development for [competitor name], and I wanted to discuss a potential opportunity. We help companies like LinkedIn, Zillow, and Angie’s List exceed sales goals by…”, then they proceeded to enumerate their services and benefits.
In closing, the sales representative said, “Bottom line, our typical partner sees productivity increase 30% by using [competitor name] to publicly encourage and motivate their teams all day. Now, any interest in chatting?”
I’m glad at least they mentioned the “bottom line.” You’ve got to get to that one on your emails for prospects.
What Went Wrong for The Sales Representatives?
InsideSales.com is the leader in sales acceleration technology. We offer what we call HD Forecast, which is a pipeline management and forecasting tool. We also offer a gamification platform called Power Standings to help tap into the competitive spirit of salespeople.
Basically, we’re the competitor of these two sales representatives who sent me the emails. How is it that they didn’t realize InsideSales.com was their competitor? The answer is very easy. Bottom line is, they didn’t look.
It took me 30 seconds to realize that these two emails came from competitors, but neither of them took the time to learn about me. Obviously, I’m a little bit offended.
The truth is, I’m not going to open an email unless there was something in it for me as a prospect. In both of these emails, you can see that it was about them. It wasn’t about me.
Reaching Out to Your Cold Market
Here’s the problem in general: cold calling is dead. You can’t reach out to your cold market and start a conversation without knowing anything about your prospect. That won’t help you build trust.
Have you ever received a LinkedIn connection request that’s blank, and from someone you didn’t know? This is one of the worst practices in social selling. The parallel to cold calling and cold emailing is spot on.
There is a quote that says, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” We know that cold calling is dead. On the flip side, Sales Representatives can take way too much time doing research. I have seen them spend as much as half of their day researching prospects.
To be honest, that is not too surprising. If you think about it, it’s much easier and far less risky to research than to call a prospect. Prospecting can lead to rejection, and we can convince ourselves that if we researched longer, we’ll lessen the chance of prospects saying “no.”
What makes it worse is when you think you’re working very hard by spending long hours in research. The problem is, you may only be spinning your tires, especially if you’re wasting half your day on this task.
Building Trust In Business Through Rapport Research
Somewhere between cold calling or emailing and spending half your day doing research, there is a middle ground. Pre-call research is what you should do when preparing to interact with a prospect. This is the solution you need.
Most sales representatives are already familiar with this term. Some people refer to it as rapport research. The thing is, not a lot of salespeople know how to do it. How do you go about getting important pieces of information that will help you build trust and rapport?
Build Trust In 3 Steps: Use The R.O.I.
I’ve put together a three-step process on how you can build trust and rapport with your prospects. I call this the R.O.I.:
- Review the source
- Organize the information
- Ignite the conversation
1. Review The Source
Rapport research should focus on either the company or the contact you’re reaching out to. There are many places you can go to find strong information about the company and the contact, but order is important.
- We often recommend that you first start with the CRM. This should only take you about a minute. If you find sufficient rapport-building statements, end your research and begin prospecting. If not, then move on to the next step.
- After CRM, check out social platforms such as LinkedIn. Hit a variety of information points and don’t spend more than three minutes there. Though if you have more time, you can go through the details more. If you’re able to gather the necessary reports and statements, end your research and start prospecting. If not, move along to the next step.
- After social platforms, visit key intelligence apps that work for your particular business and review those. Don’t spend more than a couple of minutes there and hit some key items. Then follow the same process. If you’re able to gather the necessary information there, end your research. If not, move forward to the next step.
- Ideally, you should navigate the company’s website after you go through intelligence apps. A lot of people like to hit websites first, but I don’t think this would provide me an advantage over the other sources. That’s why I often save this for last. On the company’s website, you’re going to learn about what they do and how they do it. Again, don’t spend more than a few minutes browsing through it.
2. Organize The Information
Now at this point, you need to move on to the next step and begin organizing the information you gathered. Do this by writing down three rapport statements in your CRM. Remember, you only want to do this exercise once per prospect. That’s why it’s important that you record it in your CRM so you can review it the next time you reach out.
3. Ignite The Conversation
With your statements captured, you’re ready to begin prospecting. The key is to use those rapport statements in multiple communication channels to get in the door and really ignite the conversation. Remember the process before you start a conversation and earn trust:
- Start with the CRM
- Check out social platforms
- Visit key intelligence apps
- Navigate the company’s website
- Organize the information
Following these steps will prepare you to reach out to your prospects and ignite the conversation.
Remember The R.O.I.
Our three-step process on how to build trust is easy enough to remember with the acronym R.O.I. This is going to take work, I get it. You have to work to make a sale, and you better get used to it.
Again, let me remind you — don’t sell to your competitors. I can assure you it’s always an uphill battle to sell to your competitors. That’s why you need to be diligent enough to do extra research so you don’t waste your time doing that.
To hear the entire podcast with Gabe Larsen, click here.
Through the R.O.I. process, you’ll be able to make a good first impression on your prospects. When you invest time and effort in developing your relationships, you will eventually build and earn trust for your business. This is the foundation of a solid client relationship that will yield good returns for you and your company.
What steps are you taking to make each connection with a prospect count? Share them with us in the comments section below.