Posts Tagged ‘cold calls’

Last time we looked at “Successfully Making Client Appointments by Phone”. In this post we explore the second stage of the below model, “Developing Rapport Face-to-Face or by Phone”.

Sales Process

To make this as simple as possible I’ve avoided discussing what rapport is and isn’t and am just going to give you my top ten suggestions for developing rapport quickly over the phone or face-to-face.
By Phone

1. Handle your state – before you get on the phone to make cold calls (assuming the majority of you reading this will be interested for this reason) you need to get into a friendly, confident and professional state of mind. If you are distracted, not focused, too serious, angry about something else, timid, scared, worried… all of these will come through on the phone.

2. Have a script that allows for engagement, not railroading– you don’t need to stick to it word for word, that’s not the point. The point of a script is to stop you rambling and ensure you get to your key messages, find out the right pieces of information from the customer and improve your chances of achieving your outcome. If you don’t have a script you can never monitor and improve your performance as it’s different every time you do it. The two most important things here are:

  • that you have one (a script) and,
  • that you speak for no more than two sentences at a time without a question to the client, otherwise they’ll feel railroaded.

3. Match their speed – if they speak fast, speak faster. If they speak slowly, speak slowly. This is difficult at first but you’ll get used to it, the great thing is that they won’t even notice it – they’ll just feel like you’re like them.

4. Smile, without being overzealous – you can hear a smile on the end of the phone and we are attracted to people who smile. They are imagining you when they hear your voice so if you sound boring and grumpy, that’s how they will imagine you. Overzealous smiling and over-friendliness is not good… stay professional but be pleasant.

5. Remember your objective – your objective is probably to get an appointment so don’t spend your time trying to sell them your product, just ask for 15 minutes of their time so you can learn about their business and offer your advice and assistance which they can take or leave. The reason this is important is that it takes the pressure off you so you don’t feel like your selling, and more importantly… allows you to not lose the opportunity to meet face to face because you were too busy trying to sell on the phone (this will lose rapport if it’s not done well).


1. Pre-sell yourself and do your homework – send something to the client that displays your understanding of the problems they face in their industry, sells your credibility (experience, case studies, testimonials) and explains your capability (capability statement, list of services etC). Send it in a 10-slide powerpoint at least 48 hours before the meeting. This will save you half an hour of selling yourself and your business in your first meeting, you can now be totally client-focused in that meeting and rapport will have been built before you even arrived!

2. Comment on something personal to open up the conversation – comment on something personal (that the client is wearing, that’s in their office, that you’ve heard about them etc) and find a linkage between that and someone you know or even yourself. Do this before the business discussion but for no more than 3 minutes to open an opportunity to find a common association between you as people, before you as business partners.

3. Move onto business quickly – follows from the above, too much chit chat is irrelevant and will lose rapport. Know when to move on, and do it as soon as you feel like you have some rapport established.

4. Know where you’re taking the client – nothing loses rapport faster than you seeming like you don’t know where to go next in the conversation. Know exactly what you need to find out, what your next steps are and what the client needs to do to buy from you. Ensure YOU drive the client, don’t let the client derail you through irrelevant tangents.. gently bring them back on track.

5. Handle the objections they think you’ll hide from – think of their most likely objections and handle them before they ask their questions at the end. Show you’ve thought through what they’re likely to be thinking… ‘you’re too expensive, I don’t have the time, the money, there’s a better known brand/product/service I already use’ etc. Say “I know you’re probably thinking x, y, z and previous clients have thought the same things… in my experience the best way to look at that consideration is ____’. It shows you know your stuff and have thought through all scenarios, better yet.. you’re not running away from their most likely objections.

Happy selling and in my next blog we’ll discuss “Conducting a Needs Assessment”.



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