Where have all the sales skills gone? Out and about with Advisers I’m hearing more and more that the ‘younger/newer’ generation don’t have the fundamental skills needed to build relationships with clients, they tend to go straight from standing position to sitting position to technical jargon within the first 2 minutes of shaking the clients hand.
Back in the ‘old’ days we were taught, trained on how to build rapport with people. Typically, the first step was to ask open ended questions about their weekend which would open up Pandora’s box because you would be able to learn if they had children, hobbies and so forth. The idea is to look for a common ground, something you can share, children, sports team etc. Then you would spend some time discussing those, all the time listening to the language they used, and matching and mirroring their tone, language and body language until you get to a stage where you lead the conversation because typically, at that stage the client is comfortable, relaxed and you’ve built the foundations to enable you to build even more rapport.
I witnessed exactly what I’m talking about the other day. An Adviser, technically absolutely sound, brilliant technical mind however, when we sat down with the client, there was no general chit chat, no rapport building at all. After the meeting we had a de-brief and I asked him about how to build rapport, to which he answered, we were never taught how to do that in our training, it was all about technical information…….
I’d like to share some exercises that anyone can complete who needs to build relationships with clients.
1. What do you believe is important to focus on when building rapport?
2. Why is rapport building such a necessary skill when talking about advice?
3. Can you name the four main modalities?
4. Do you know what your main modality is?
5. Can you list five words that would appeal to a person whose primary modality is visual?
6. How would you calibrate a client?
7. Do you know how to follow your clients body language and change it?
Client engagement, client communication isn’t just a process and a flow chart, it’s about how you connect personally with your clients all of the time.
What do you think? Does the industry need more fundamental sales training, or, is it something else?