The following is an excerpt from my Number One Best Selling book, Socially Intelligent Selling.
Building on the previous discussion, l expand on the relationship rope concept by introducing four ways to find and build common ground with a customer. They are part of the toolkit that will help the sales team show warmth before they show their strength. I turn to the flip chart and ask the group to imagine that their customer wants a GoPro to take on holiday to the Greek islands.
“How could you find common ground in that conversation?” I enquire.
Naomi starts them off. “Oh, Greece! Wonderful. I went last year – what’s your favourite island?”
“Nice. That’s same common ground. What about similar common ground?” I probe deeper.
This time Zoe contributes. “Ah, you’re off to Greece. I love the Mediterranean. I went to Spain last year – which island would you recommend in Greece?”
“You’re on fire. Okay, how about third-party common ground? This is where you don’t have any same or similar common ground with the customer but you know somebody who does. This still strengthens your relationship and adds another strand to your relationship rope.”
“Easy,” chirps Peter. “Oh, my friend Fred runs boat excursions on one of the islands out there. Which one have you stayed on?”
“Good. How could you take that further?”
The group think for a few moments, but no one can come up with an answer.
“How about,” I help them, “’Let me give you Fred’s email address – he runs an amazing boating company across the Greek islands and I’m sure he can get you cheap tickets.’ This deepens your trust and relationship with the customer.”
The group nods. It’s dawning on them how powerful finding and building common ground can be.
“What about this last drawing here? Taking a strategic interest. What’s that?”
“Is it where you ask questions?” Steve enquires.
“Yes. It comes into play when you don’t have any common ground. In this case, when you don’t know anything about the Greek islands. You show warmth with the customer by taking an interest. What could you ask them?”
“I’ve never been to the Greek islands. Why are you going there?” Naomi suggests.
“Spot on. The objective behind finding common ground or taking a strategic interest is to engage your potential customer so that they feel warmth towards you.
“Holding a brief but authentic, warm conversation with your customer will help them feel you’ve taken an interest in them, whether you have a common interest or not.
“The fact that you’ve listened to and engaged with them will help the sales process to operate on a different level from ‘I’ve come in for a GoPro.’ ‘Yes, we’ve got one for £299. Would you like it?’”
The group laugh.
“Best of all, it gives you information. It means you can use that knowledge later when up-selling or cross-selling.
“Warmth and relationship building add extra strands to the relationship rope you’ve created, strengthening it further. This moves you one step closer to becoming socially intelligent at selling.”
In my Number One Best Selling book, Socially Intelligent Selling, I explore, in-depth, the various methods to help strengthen your relationship rope to build better, more enduring relationships with your customers.