Sport – it’s long been the subject of choice for kicking off a sales pitch and trying to win prospective clients. New research, however, suggests it does just the opposite.
In fact, there are far more effective ways to get results than spruiking common interests, says Sales Acuity consulting director Chantel Lord.
“Talking about the football for 10 minutes is not rapport,” she says. “Rapport should be about gathering intelligence and making sure the person across the desk from you knows that you can help them with something they want. Rapport is made up of a number of personality traits, not just the ‘gift of the gab’.”
Indeed, the results of testing top-notch salespeople indicate there are 19 behavioural competencies and 43 personality dimensions that separate them from - the rest of the pack.
In particular, competencies such as relationship integrity, self-analysis and social acuity have jumped to the forefront, alongside the usual suspects, including confidence and engagement.
“Traditionally, judging the success of someone in a sales role was ethereal and undefined,” says Lord.
“We now have a greater understanding from a behavioural psychology perspective of what makes a really good sales person, and what areas let people down.”
The amount of sales preparation the best in the business put in to reach the top appears especially underrated, says Lord.
“People with a strong track record in sales often rely on ‘winging it’ almost exclusively at the expense of preparation,” says Lord. “But looking at the competency of great salespeople, many of them in their 50s who have built a successful career on it, preparation is absolutely key.”
However, the good news for ambitious brokers is that their behavioural psychology can be improved, says Lord.
Top five mistakes made by salespeople:
Confusing making small talk with establishing rapport and controlling the sale.
Not preparing for each sales conversation with a specific close in mind.
Believing that they don’t sell, they build relationships.
Not gathering intelligence or uncovering a specific need.
Inability to create certainty in a prospects mind about their products, themselves or their company.
What other bad mistakes do brokers make? Is it a good idea to leave sports out of the sales pitch? Have your say below.