"People buy from people they like." We hear it time and time again. Sometimes it's more important than what you're actually selling. If you are able to find a potential client and build a strong rapport – that make the sales process all the more easier. Your client likes you, they trust you, they find value in your services and they feel comfortable in giving you their business. Building rapport and that certain level of trust will help you be more successful at sales.
At Treeline Inc, we talk a lot about the parallels between a sales cycle and the job search – there are a lot of similarities, but this one is hugely translatable: "People buy from people they like and people will HIRE people they like." In the interview process, there is a lot to cover – dress the part, bring hard copies of the resume, polish your shoes, know your story, sing to your successes. But before you get to sit down in that conference room there is the simple act of introducing yourself to your interviewer. This is a crucial and often overlooked part of the interview process. Think about it, put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer – you are meeting a candidate who you are potentially going to bring into your office to be part of the team, he/she is going to work side by side for 8-12 hours/day, and become an integral part of the office culture. Whether you are meeting an HR Director or the VP of Sales, it is a pretty substantial part of the equation that they must like you.
When you are involved in an interview process you must successfully build rapport with every person you meet. You are charged with the responsibility to quickly connect and build a relationship based upon something that is not business related and it all starts with the 1st contact. Good energy, eye contact, smile, firm handshake and start asking questions, "How are you? Did you have a good weekend? Did you enjoy the sunshine yesterday?" I know these seem like pretty broad questions and they are "cookie cutter" but it is just the initial question(s) that will get you started. What you want to do is to get them talking about themselves – people enjoy talking about themselves which means that they will enjoy talking to you.
The main objective here is to have a conversation before the interview begins – this will establish the building blocks of the relationship. Take the time to build this rapport and you will find that you are no longer "Joseph Smith: Candidate", but now you are Joe Smith who shares some of the same interests as the interviewer and someone who they like…and you have increased your chances to become someone they will hire.