Almost every conversation is an opportunity to build rapport. To do so requires the salesperson to listen harder for rapport cues.
Why Sales Is as Much an Art as a Science
The following is adapted from Moving from Models to Mindsets.
In sales, storytelling is all the rage right now. In fact, from what we’ve seen, teaching storytelling to salespeople has significantly increased in the last five years. We all know there is power in stories, but did you know that listening to someone share an engaging story releases a chemical called “oxytocin” in your brain? Oxytocin is a chemical that relaxes a person and shows up “when we are trusted or shown a kindness, and it motivates cooperation with others,” (Zak, HBR “Why Your Brain Loves Story Telling” 2014). Since trust is critical for sales and storytelling builds trust, it’s natural to assume a link between storytelling and generating a sale.
Empathy has been a hot topic. Wherever you go in the learning space—from preschool to the boardroom—teachers and leaders are stressing the importance of empathy. The growing number of millennials in the workforce have changed the emotional make up of our corporate world. They are, rightfully, pushing for greater authenticity, meaning, and transparency from the companies they work with. This renewed focus on empathy, however, falls short of its optimistic intentions.
I met with a newly minted leader and long-time colleague, who is both highly collaborative and highly engaging. He cares about his people in a visceral way. I congratulated him on his promotion while warning him that there was the potential for him to fail due to a blind spot in his approach. I stated that he may fail the eat the oatmeal or like the oatmeal challenge.
Go to any office in America and you will probably hear about the childish behavior of some co-workers. Managers will express frustration that their direct reports are acting like children. The implication is that acting like a child is a problem because a child doesn’t play nice, doesn’t share, and has no initiative or accountability. This is an insult to children - since we can all learn a lot from our former selves.
If Peter Drucker is the father of modern business then Dale Carnegie is its savvy uncle. The one who seems to have loads of insight and income, though you’re not exactly sure where either came from. His book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” has taught generations of salespeople how to be more likable, persuasive, and effective. At the very core of Uncle Dale’s method is relationship-building—in order to be successful, you need to be honest, engaged, and generally enjoyable to be around.