10 Sales Fundamentals You Need to Get Right to Be Successful: Part 1 - Building Rapport

Published on Jul 06, 2023 byAlex Coupe

Part 1 Building Rapport

I have been involved in sales for the last 30 years and the last 20 of those years specifically selling legal technology solutions to Corporate Counsel and Law firms Globally.  Throughout my experience, I've noticed that regardless of industry or sales methodology, many reps often overlook certain fundamental principles. Even with the abundance of sales technology available, getting these basic principles wrong can undermine any technological advantages. In this series, I will break down 10 principles that, when followed, will help you stand out from the majority of reps who assume their prospects automatically care about what they have to say.

Building Rapport (In person and virtually)

Building rapport should be straightforward, but I can't count the number of times I've seen reps excitedly barge in, ready to talk about their shiny solution that will supposedly solve all the client's business problems and missing out on this important step. But what is rapport? It's the process of establishing a connection, understanding, and mutual trust with your client/prospect. By gaining trust early on, you can transform your relationship with them. Building trust is at the core of rapport.

Let me share a personal story to illustrate this point. One of my favorite experiences was going on a sales call as a manager with one of my reps. As we walked into the meeting room, I noticed a sign on the door proclaiming them as the "Best Law Firm to Work for in 2019." My rep was about to launch into a sales pitch and I stepped in to break the ice and show genuine interest, I congratulated them on the award and asked how they achieved it. Their face lit up, and they eagerly shared more details. It turned out to be a fantastic conversation starter, and my genuine curiosity helped foster a deeper connection. This led to uncovering a business issue they were looking to solve. This experience taught my rep the importance of paying attention to visual cues and using them to initiate meaningful conversations.

Do Your Homework

Whether you're meeting in person or virtually, doing your homework is crucial. Utilize platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google searches/alerts to gather information about your prospect. Look for common ground, such as shared interests or experiences. Pay attention to visual cues, like pictures, or displayed items, and use them as conversation starters to demonstrate your interest. Be curious and ask relevant questions based on your research. Show that you've done your homework.  This is vital in building trust.

An example would be commenting on a book they have on their bookshelf that you have read, ask them how the book resonated with them.  Or, if you share a city in common, you may ask them what their favorite restaurant or sports team is?  The list is endless, however ensure your approach is sincere!

Relating to Their Business

In addition to personal information, research your prospect's business. Arm yourself with a few key facts to show you've done your homework. Pay attention to visual cues that can spark conversation. For example, acknowledge any awards or achievements you notice displayed prominently and ask about the process behind them. These small details can create a positive impression, build trust and foster a deeper conversation.

Creating a connection, especially with someone who may have been told to meet with you is essential. Making a good first impression and showing genuine care will go a long way in developing rapport which leads to trust. Remember these 5 key points:

  1. Be genuinely interested. (you can’t fake this)
  2. Pay attention to cues.
  4. Remember it’s about them, not you!
  5. Relax and be approachable.

The first 1-3 minutes of conversation will set the tone for the meeting and potentially the entire relationship. In the next edition, we will discuss the importance of questioning and how it can help identify customer business issues.

I value your feedback. How has building rapport worked for you?

About the AuthorView Profile
Alex Coupe

Alex Coupe

Global Head of Sales Legaltech Hub

In the 1990s, Alex embarked on his sales career in Silicon Valley, fuelled by the elusive dotcom IPO dream. Although that dream didn't materialize, he gained invaluable knowledge from seasoned sales professionals and swiftly realized that employing a consultative sales approach yielded superior results.

In the early 2000s, Alex decided to explore new horizons and transitioned to the legal services industry. He secured a position with Practical Law Company, where he crossed paths with Jeroen. Later on, PLC got acquired by Thomson Reuters, providing Alex with an opportunity to spend over a decade in diverse sales and leadership roles across the entire TR legaltech solutions portfolio. Throughout this period, he continued to leverage his consultative sales skills to lead successful teams.

Drawing from more than 35 years of sales experience, Alex recently joined Legaltech hub in April 2023. His primary objective is to establish the sales function from the ground up. Embracing this fresh challenge, he looks forward to applying his expertise to cultivate a high-performing sales team that will drive remarkable results.

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