Connecting with someone requires understanding them and their interests as well as showing them how you are a relevant resource to them. The connecting competency is a group of skills centered around two categories: Connecting with the head or intellect and with the heart or emotions.
Connecting with the head or intellect falls into two areas: credibility and activity.
Credibility is about establishing yourself as a viable resource to the prospect. This includes such items as:
- Establishing your credentials and qualifications for helping the prospect with your type of product or service
- Using testimonials and endorsements wisely
- Tapping into referrals to open the dialogue
- Showing the importance of your offer to the prospect
- Asking compelling questions
- Documenting your claims
- Being organized and professional in your early communication
- Making the case for how much value you can bring to the prospect
- Using sales tools and resources to build credibility as you communicate with each prospect or client
Activity involves making the right number and type of sales contacts. This includes such items as:
- Getting in front of the right type and number of people who could benefit from buying, both new and repeat customers
- Your discipline in filling each day with actual sales contacts
- This also includes telephone calls, email communications, correspondence, in-person calls and live demonstrations
Sales activity is measured by the amount and quality of direct communication with qualified prospects rather than the supportive activities that process sales or lead to future business. The customer must come to the conclusion that you are a viable resource to them and that it makes good sense to do business with you.
Rapport is generated on the emotional level, not the intellectual. Exceptional sales producers learn to combine the human connection with the information they deliver. Connecting with the heart or emotions falls into two areas: relationship and trust.
Relationship is about understanding personality differences and buying styles. This includes such items as:
- Learning to read people to know how they process information and how they relate to others
- Matching the pace and style of the prospect
- Practicing good people skills such as courtesy, empathy, acknowledgement, and rapport building
- This also means knowing how to position yourself into the appropriate relationship with the customer, i.e. advisor, coach, problem solver, expert resource, strategic ally, business friend, preferred provider
Trust is about building trust and managing relationship tension. This includes such items as:
- Sustaining optimism and encouragement in the dialogue
- Keeping fear levels low while stimulating the need to buy
- Recognizing when tension should increase and when it should not
- Knowing the difference between relationship tension and task tension
- Showing concern for the needs of the prospect and respecting him or her as a person
- Being appropriately respectful of your competition without weakening your own position as a solution source
- Knowing how to draw a line between being a social friend and being a business friend