Rapport versus selling

The biggest challenge for a salesperson is how to not sound like one when spilling spiels. That’s because “people love to buy, but hate to be sold to.” That means most customers would want to do their shopping undisturbed. One of the many reasons why e-commerce locally has seen record-breaking growth, especially since the pandemic lockdown started last year. But this came with a price of people getting scammed easily of their hard-earned money and having more trust issues with online sellers. Which makes it more important these days for telesales professionals to focus on rapport-building, at least during the first few interactions, than traditional selling with which we’ve been trained to close the deal every chance we get.

There’s nothing wrong with going straight to closing a sale when the opportunity presents itself but customers recently are more suspicious than ever. Aside from fear of getting scammed, customers hate it when they seem to become more vulnerable online or on the phone getting duped by hustling sellers.

It’s good there’s awareness of the Data Privacy Act of 2012 or RA 10173, but not all are actually ticked off by an unsolicited call or message, which is what is being taken advantage of by scammers. A lot of unsuspecting customers actually like getting calls or emails of supposedly being included in an exclusive few who are offered deals others will envy. And after only a number of quick exchanges, money’s gone but none of the promised product or exciting deal.

Now what will differentiate a legitimate seller? It’s what’s in the good rapport with the customer. While a sales professional’s ultimate goal is to sell a product or service to as many customers as possible, he or she is in it for the long run, thus the gearing toward a long-term relationship with the customer, who will potentially buy repeatedly or reorder as opposed to just being after a sale or a one-time, big-time, forget-it deal.

With rapport, you figure out exactly what the customer wants or needs, an open communication to understand feelings, ideas, culture, aspirations, beliefs, likes and dislikes, difficulties, frustrations, and the list goes on. And from there the sales professional can decide on an offer or bundle that’s a good fit. This means you don’t close a sale on the first call, you do only when there’s a clear understanding of what the customer wants and whether the product or service you offer addresses such. In straightforward selling, the highlight is put on the features and benefits of the product or service, with the assumption that such will cover any and all customer requirements.

Now which of the two would produce both a happy customer and a fulfilled seller?

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