The Treasure Map

Bernadette commented that she could use some help in getting business clients to open up. She said she didn't think there was a map to follow but wondered where I start and what kind flow and questions I find most useful.

Actually, there is a map of sorts that I use. It's not a rigid map with one road that doesn't allow you to follow different paths if one catches you eye. But, it is a Sales Treasure Map with – let's call them Points of Interest (POI) – that you will want to visit in order to get to your final destination.

I call my first POI The Rapport Cafe and it is where I to get to know the person and to make a human connection. This doesn't have to be a long stop as most people form an impression of us very quickly. They form that impression of you in exactly the same way you form your impression of them.

Their brain and gut processes things like how you look, your smile, eye contact, do you project warmth and respect and are we like each other in some way. People like to do business with people they like and trust. And, if their initial gut feeling is that you are somehow alike and they feel safe – then you have had a successful visit to The Rapport Cafe.

As far as what kinds of questions to ask at the cafe here is my plan. I remember I am in a cafe and I'm having a cup of tea with someone I just met. What kinds of questions would I ask her.

  • Are you from the area?
  • How do you like the cafe?
  • How's your tea?
  • Have you worked here long?

Match the persons tone and rate of speech. Don't get all New York on them if they hail from Keokuk. It is your job to communicate with them in a style they like and feel comfortable with. You're getting to know each other and establish a relationship. Be open and ask the kinds of questions of someone you'd meet for the first time at a picnic. One question will lead to another and you will know and feel when you are both enjoying The Rapport Cafe.

However, don't be in a hurry to leave here. Some visitors want to rush ahead to the next POI which is Big Ears Mountain. But, just like a mountain climber who spends some time getting acclimated at a base camp before rushing to the top of the mountain, I like to really make sure we have enjoyed our time at The Rapport Cafe. So as we move together toward climbing Big Ears I spend additional time establishing our human connection. 

I'm going to let Becky, a sales colleague of mine, describe what she sees me do in The Rapport Cafe. "You look the person in the eye and hang on every word. You make that person feel they are, for that moment, the most important one in the room. You focus on what they want or need and try to find a way for them to have it." That's a good description of how I make use of my time in the cafe.

You know how you hear the phrase, "It's a small world" when you meet someone and it turns out the two of you have a connection to each other? Well, it turns out it really is small. The odds are good that you will find a connection or several and that usually leads to more trust and rapport – and maybe a second cup of tea. That's why I am in no rush to start mountain climbing.

In my next post, we'll start on the journey up Big Ears Mountain. This will be the most important POI on the entire sales journey. Get some rest now. It's a long (but rewarding) journey.

3 thoughts on “The Treasure Map”

  1. Big Ears Mountain? I love it!
    It reminds me of talking to sales people that always had happy ears. Do you that phrase over here Bob for sales people that only hear what they want to hear?

  2. @Tim – I can’t say that I’ve heard the happy ears phrase but I can remember being with salespeople on a call and realizing afterward they heard something totally different than me.
    @Jess – thank you.

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People do business with people that they know, like, and trust. Since we can’t pick or choose the “type” of person we are most likely to trust and like right away, we need to learn how to effectively with everyone’s personality style.” Learn how in this report and start increasing your sales right away!

Selling To The Four Personality Types

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