Effective selling, of course, depends on your ability to develop personal relationships.

But a relationship with a single point of contact isn’t enough. In large organizations, there’s seldom a single buyer with complete and exclusive authority to say yes or no.

Which means you must develop rapport with the entire organization! Not an easy task.

Here’s the challenge: creating a deeper rapport with more people across a broader range of businesses in your field.

Rapport isn’t idle chit-chat. It’s the hard-earned outcome of creating a sense of likeness between people, based on having an understanding of each other’s feelings, values or ideas.

Scale beyond personal
When you have established rapport at a personal level with someone, you should feel comfortable enough to call them up and invite them out for drinks. That’s great, but you also need to scale that sense of rapport beyond personal.

What does success look like in terms of rapport? You’ve successfully established a broad base of rapport with a client’s company if you can pick up the phone and talk to anyone there comfortably, you’ve achieved a high level of rapport.

Adapt to different levels
Getting to that level of rapport takes time. Begin by expanding your contacts above and below your primary decision makers.
It’s easy to ask for referrals down. You might say, “Ms. Buyer, in order to really understand how your business operates day to day, could you introduce me to some of your people on the front lines?”

The risk in being referred down is that you might not be able to get back up again.

So it’s important to pair these requests with the more challenging task of getting upward referrals:
Ask for both at the same time: “Also, it would be helpful for me to get a better understanding of the big picture. Who could I talk to who could help me with that?

Your direct contact is less likely to be threatened by paired requests like these .If you only asked for upward referrals, buyers might feel you were trying to go over their heads.

Make a rapport ‘roadmap’
Try to understand where your contact fits in. Map out who else you need to connect with, and how they’re connected to your buyer.

Think of this information as your personal rapport map. Make it visible and keep it simple. Include vital details like who is the Chief Financial Officer, who are the project managers, and who is responsible for technical issues, marketing or other key functions in the client’s organization.
Also identify who in the organization already uses your product or service. These people often can provide you with valuable insight and advice.

If your personal rapport map shows that you have three people inside a company that you consider repeat customers, and who gladly share knowledge with you, then you have a very good rapport.

For each person on your personal rapport map, rank your connection on a scale of 1 to 10. If you were a godparent to one of their children, that’s a 10. A new buyer with no previous history would be a zero.

Your goal, over time, is to move those scores upward.

Source: Colleen Francis. For more, visit www.engageselling.com

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