Though your potential B2B clients are companies, you still reach out to people. And it's vital to build a rapport with your prospects to gain their trust from the first words of your cold call, email, or message on LinkedIn.
The meaning of rapport building is simple — it's about establishing a human connection and finding common ground with your potential customer.
We'll consider every point of how to build a rapport in more detail in this article. But to answer your question quickly, we offer several tips to prove to your B2B sales lead that you're not one of those pushy salespeople.
- Research your prospect on social media (LinkedIn) to better understand who this person is.
- Find trigger events and tailor your message or conversation to them.
- Choose the right time to reach out to your potential buyer.
- Keep the right balance between friendly chatting and an assertive tone.
- Show interest and bring value to potential clients.
- Stay in touch with the customer even after you close the deal.
Choose the Best Channel to Reach Out to Your B2B Leads
There are three main channels to reach out to your future customers for the first time and, consequently, three ways to build rapport with them. These three are calls, emails, and social media messages. Many salespeople feel more confident hearing an immediate response to their offer over the phone, while others prefer less invasive "messaging" methods to communicate. The latter think that it's far better to let a person familiarize with your brand and products in an obligation-free atmosphere to establish a rapport. Either way, a rapport with potential customers is critical for any business for nurturing leads and converting them into actual buyers. So it's time to choose the option that suits your business best!
We decided to start with email outreach, though sales professionals are still debating what should go first: A sales call or email. However, we'd probably agree with Hubspot's advice "When in doubt, email first." Because this approach has three advantages over phone calls:
- You don't constrain prospects with immediate response. Instead, you give them time to find out more about your brand and consider if your product or service is what they really need now. They can research your social media accounts to check feedback from other customers and the way you interact with your followers, visit your website to read case studies and testimonials.
- You can refer to your email when making a call. This is a perfect way to build a better rapport through sales emails. Referring to previous communication will inspire trust in your future customer –– as if you have met before. Your prospect will feel like they already know you because they saw your LinkedIn profile and read about your service or product.
- It's often easier to deliver your value proposition in writing. Your potential buyers have time to think over your offer and figure out if they should make a purchase while you describe how your product or service can help. Moreover, you can show more engagement in your prospect's company referring to recent corporate events.
So, with your first email, it's essential to build rapport with your potential B2B client and show that you care and not just sell. You can do this, for example, by researching the company's profile on LinkedIn or job portals. Checking job descriptions will help you learn the tech stack, organizational structure, and approximate budgets. At the same time, the LinkedIn feed will show you the company's interests, its recent events, and help to define decision-makers.
With this information in mind, you can create a personalized and engaging offer and send it to the relevant manager. A recent like, repost, or comment can be a great reason to initiate outreach. However, don't spend days composing an email and thinking over a catchy subject and the first line trigger events won't last forever.
Though emails are exceptionally effective in outreach campaigns, no selling goes without phone calls. However, unless your brand is already well-known, intrusive calls without prior research about the other person are bound to fail. Why? The chances are high that your offer won't resonate with most of the contacts from the database you accumulated based on general criteria or, even worse a purchased one. So, if you want to get business leads, you need to find out as many relevant details about your contacts as possible.
Just like with emails, you'll have to use the researched data to base your sales conversation on it. And before that, thorough research will help you define who will decide to buy your product or service.
It's always better to spend some time learning relevant information about a prospect and end up with one qualified lead than to call ten people who won't even listen to a non-catchy proposal.
So, building a rapport starts with finding out what the company does, the role of the prospect in it, and several events within the organization or those it reacted to. But you can even go further and start a conversation by asking about the university the prospect went to or the resort he or she has just returned from. Or this can be something that'll make your listener smile and chat. Still, it's vital not to let a potential buyer think you're chasing him or her by trying to discuss something too personal.
Messages on Social Media Platforms
Social media outreach is another decent tool to tell potential clients about your product or service. Today, if your business doesn't have Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts, it just doesn't exist for many people. When prospects get your cold emails or messages, the first thing they do is go and check your company's social media accounts. So before reaching out to your B2B sales lead, make sure your business profile looks reputable: Upload a professional photo, clearly state what your company does, and add a link to your website.
And again, for better rapport with sales prospects, let people see a team behind your brand: Add a bit of human touch listing the co-workers on your business page. And to make your pitch more personal, initiate outreach campaigns from individual accounts. However, building a rapport in social media starts from gaining the trust of relevant users and not from selling right away in connection requests. For this, you'll have to do more networking, like, comment, repost industry-related content, and join groups arranged by influencers. Because such communities consist of your target audience, like-minded professionals, and, hopefully, your ideal customers.
Tips on Building a Rapport with Your B2B Sales Prospects
Building a rapport doesn't always come easy: After all, we are humans, and many factors affect our mood and clarity of thinking. Is it an early wake-up, uncomfortable talk with a manager, or a car needing repair that makes your prospect sad today? Well, you can never secure yourself from unsuccessful outreach; still, there are some ideas on choosing the best time for making a cold call or sending an email.
Choose the Best Day and Time to Reach Out to Your Potential Customers
Most office employees (or at least those who related to this category before the pandemic) probably won't be happy to get a call on Monday or Tuesday. That's because they'll be returning to the working mode after the weekend and sorting out pending issues. Fridays aren't perfect, too, because potential buyers try to complete current tasks and sometimes unconsciously avoid initiating new relationships with salespeople.
This leaves us with Wednesday and Thursday as the best opportunities to find a person in a positive, work-oriented mood.
So on these two days, the chances are high that you'll manage to build rapport and get a new lead.
You definitely should consider corporate trigger events of your potential B2B client or act around the related episodes in the decision maker's life. However, if you're not under time pressure, plan a cold call or send an email one hour before lunch or during the last working hour. Why so? Because this is the most appropriate time to catch your prospects at work (still in the office). And, in addition, they probably won't be dealing with ongoing tasks. It's because we try to reserve some time for easy and short assignments to complete them and leave on time. So, your call or message will be welcomed as one of these easy jobs.
Find the Right Moment to Start Offering Your Product or Service
Salespeople can, on average, spend 3-5 minutes building a rapport with their potential buyers. You can ask about the prospect's yesterday's flight, years spent in college, or an upcoming Halloween party, but you need to know when to stop chatting. Of course, you may need a bit more time with those who like talking, while other people will prefer to get to the point very quickly. And it's you who decides on the best time to switch to the sales conversation. But how to understand that the moment has come? Try to listen more than talk! The top deal closers keep their talk-to-listen ratio around 45:55. So, give more room to your potential buyer and listen to what he or she says, as this is an excellent tactic for building a rapport.
And don't be confused with small 2-3 second pauses as they are those little helpers to show you the mood of a person at the other end.
Bring Value to Your B2B Leads
Before you start composing an email or thinking over a sales conversation plan, put yourself in the place of your B2B prospect and ask: What's in it for me? And focus on the value your product will bring to customers and benefits. Someone says that customers feel the value of a product as the difference between its price and benefits. And benefits are the problems that your offer solves and business goals it helps to reach.
So, to refer to the pain points and objectives of a customer, you have to know them and this is again a question of thorough research. However, there are cases when your potential buyer doesn't know he has a problem. And here, you have to be considerate when trying to deliver bad news.
Keep in Touch with Your Clients after You Make a Sale
In case you didn't know: Customer acquisition is more expensive than customer retention. You spend lots of effort, time, and money on nurturing new clients. And with time, they start to trust your brand and associate it with a good customer experience. And all you need to do is to stay in touch. You can offer the client to subscribe to your newsletter, share insightful books or webinars, engage with regular Instagram giveaways, or join a Facebook group that you host –– to stay aware of the latest industry trends. This communication can give you a chance to turn your one-time customers to repeat buyers. Or they can recommend you to their colleagues or managers from other companies.
Establishing a rapport with your audience is a must-have condition for an effective B2B lead generation strategy. Whether you do email outreach, make cold phone calls, or interact on social media, you need to gain trust in your brand. Otherwise, prospects will never decide to buy from you. But to motivate potential customers to open your emails or listen to your pitch, you have to learn what is interesting for them and leverage this knowledge.
Catchy subject lines, engaging opening questions, and clear value propositions made at the right moment are all keys to building a rapport and closing more sales. Want results fast? Drop a line to a Belkins expert to enjoy a bunch of fresh B2B leads very soon.