How to Connect With People Who Are Not Like You

Today’s post comes from Jeb Blount, an author, sales consultant and CEO of www.SalesGravy.com.  Let’s listen in on his insights and wisdom, from which all salespeople could glean valuable tips to put into practice today!  Thanks Jeb!

We have all heard the cliché that customers most often buy from people they like. And while this is true I believe that there is another more powerful tenet at play. I believe that people really like to buy from people they believe like them.

Sales research has shown that up to 90% of success in selling depends on your skills for establishing an emotional connection with your prospect or customer.  The data also indicates that most salespeople do well in selling to people like themselves (where it is easy to make connection). Top performing sales and business professionals – Master Persuaders – however, have learned how to build relationships with, and sell to, anyone.

What do Master Persuaders know that others don’t?

They understand that, despite what trainers have been teaching for more than thirty years, establishing rapport is more than just asking about a picture on the wall or an object on a desk. They also know that building rapport requires more than charisma and attitude. The highest earning Sales Professionals consistently practice the skills required to connect with people at the emotional level. They go beyond rapport and create connections.

It is a fact that people like, and are more comfortable with people who are like themselves. So it logically follows that the more we are like our prospects and customers, the easier it is to connect with them. But in business it is impractical to only do business with people who you are similar to you.

Master Persuaders employ sincerity, trust, and listening, to get beyond differences to create emotional connections. We have all heard the cliché that customers most often buy from people they like. And while this is true I believe that there is another more powerful tenet at play. I believe that people really like to buy from people they believe like them.

 I’m sure to some this sounds a little strange so think about it this way: One of the most powerful human cravings is the desire to be liked and accepted by others. We want other people to become our friend, respect us, listen to us, show us sympathy, appreciate us and make us feel important. And, when we believe that another person likes us, we reciprocate and return the favor.

What Master Persuaders have learned to do is get beyond rapport and become so sincerely interested in their prospects and customers that they become friends with virtually anyone. This is powerful because when a connection is made at this level, they are virtually guaranteed success in influencing others. 

Five People Buy You Tips for Connecting With People Who Are Not Like You

Strangers Scare Us: There are few things we find as disconcerting as a stranger asking us personal questions. Yet, that is what many salespeople do the first time they meet a new client or prospect. Top Sales Professionals have learned to find common ground on the business level first by asking easy questions their prospects enjoy answering. Once a conversation is established, they then earn the right to get personal and become even more connected.

The Name Game: We have been conditioned since childhood to respond to the sound of our own name. When someone uses our name we instantly become more comfortable. In fact, there is no other word more beautiful to our ears. Master Persuaders recognize that using names strengthens connections and have developed techniques for remembering and using names.

Find and Solve Problems: The fastest way to lose a connection is to start selling. Prospects and customers don’t want to be sold. Selling happens when your mouth-runneth-over with the features and benefits of your product. When you forget about the “sale” and instead focus on listening to your customer and their problems, you earn trust and deepen the emotional connection.

Shut Up and Listen: Listening is the real key to connecting. Listening is the manifestation of empathy. And empathy is simply our ability to stand in another’s shoes and to learn to be like them.  Empathy connects us to other people on the emotional level. Master Persuaders listen deeply, paying close attention to words, tone of voice and body language. They focus their complete and sincere attention on the other person quickly developing a strong connection which often leads to friendship and a profitable business relationship.

Jeb Blount is the CEO of SalesGravy.com, the world’s largest sales career website. A respected thought leader on sales and sales leadership, he is author of three books, People Buy You: The Real Secret to what Matters Most in Business, Sales Guy’s 7 Rules for Outselling the Recession, and Power Principles. He is the author of more than 100 articles on sales and sales leadership and the host of the top rated Sales Guy Podcast. When you buy Jeb’s new book, People Buy You, today, you’ll also receive thousands of dollars worth of bonus gifts from sales growth leaders – learn more at www.PeopleBuyYou.com.

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