There's an ancient Chinese proverb, "People work and play with people they trust." As you go into a sales pitch, you should remember the importance of building rapport. Your prospect is much more likely to buy what you're selling if they feel comfortable with you, and establishing a positive rapport is the foundation for building trust.

The first stage of the selling process is your pre-approach. This can happen before you even pull your PowerPoint up on the screen, and is the crucial moment in which your prospect decides if they feel comfortable with you or not. Before you focus on the task at hand, take a few minutes to get on the same wavelength as whomever you're going to be presenting to. Building a strong rapport leads to mutual feelings of positivity, sincerity and genuine interest in others.

Now, here's where neuroscience comes into play. Touch produces oxytocin in the brain, a social bonding chemical closely tied with trust that makes us feel like we belong. A handshake, high five or pat on the back can produce this chemical and break through what psychologists call "interpersonal comfort zones". These small actions can help build rapport and increase relationship potential.

Smiling produces dopamine, the "feel good" chemical responsible for your sensation of pleasure and rewards. Smiling produces dopamine in both you and the person you're directing your smile to, as long as it's authentic. You can tell a genuine smile from a fake smile by the eyes; a real smile will make the natural crease around the eyes to crinkle... the more you know!

Besides handshakes and smiles, there are other ways to build trust, too. Admitting when you're wrong is a big one. Humans makes mistakes, and being right 100 percent of the time? That's superhuman. As a sales professional, admitting you're wrong when you're wrong will earn you respect from your prospect and build more rapport.

Being honest might seem obvious, but don't risk your prospects trust for stretching the truth. When you're not honest, the lower brain (where your fight or flight response is stored) will cause your prospect to be fearful and will risk their trust in you in the future.

Judith E. Glaser, author of Conversational Intelligence, states, "If there are gaps between what you say will happen and what actually happens, identify that gap and be proactive to regain that trust."

Use your pre-approach to establish a good relationship from the get-go, and the rest will follow! 

Published on: Dec 18, 2017