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Boost your sales by listening to Aretha Franklin

Have you ever wondered why you struggle to really engage or click with a prospect? Some customers you bond with and others…well it’s just too hard isn’t it. Everyone knows that having a great relationship is key to selling successfully. However, the faster you earn their respect then the quicker you will boost your sales.

Does your customer really respect you?

In the words of the famous British entertainer, Max Bygraves “I wanna tell you a story”.

My husband was due to renew one of his insurances, so he spent a couple of hours ringing round a few brokers. Whilst he was on the phone to a competitor, his current broker left a message on his voicemail. He listened back to the message on speaker so I heard the message left by the agent too.

After the message finished, I looked at him in disbelief and said:

“I take it you are not going to renew with our existing broker then?”

He replied:


We both knew why he wasn’t going to renew the insurance without even saying it, AND it had nothing to do with price either!

The agent had left a voice mail message of less than a minute, but he had managed to call my husband “mate” four times. Cringe worthy and really very unnecessary.

The agent probably didn’t realize what he had said and that it had over stepped the mark with his customer. Calling my husband “mate” when he obviously isn’t, totally distracted us from wanting to buy from him.

When I made a comment about what happened on Facebook an old school friend said “I hate it when sales people try being your best friend. It is too pushy and it lacks respect”.

Now the agent was only trying to build rapport with my husband, but completely unaware that he was doing the opposite. The really silly thing is that unless someone mentions it to him then he will keep on repeating the habit which will continue to lose him business.

[easy-tweet tweet=”RESPECT find out what it means to me – Aretha Franklin” user=”@SucceedatSellin” hashtags=”#salestips”]

Use respect to build rapport quickly

Rapport building is an area that many people selling really struggle with. The insurance agent in this case only did one thing wrong, but for my husband and myself it was enough to turn us right off buying from him.

Respect is key to effective rapport building and sales success, but there is a bit more to it than being polite and friendly. To sell really successfully you need to be an excellent communicator in order to convince the prospect that the benefits of your solution will solve their need, and make sure that they are happy to pay you for it.

In situations like the one above I always refer back to VAK or VARK learning styles to explain how prospects will take information on board.

VAK and VARK Learning Styles

VAK was proposed by Walter Burke Barbe and colleagues as the following three learning modalities:

  • Visualising modality
  • Auditory modality
  • Kinesthetic modality

Neil Fleming took this one step further and combined VAK with elements within NLP (neuro linguistic programming) to come up with the VARK model for learning:

  • Visual learning
  • Auditory learning
  • Read/write learning
  • Kinesthetic learning

People have different ways of learning and Fleming claimed that they could broadly be broken down into these four learning types. For example, those with a preference for visual learning would have a preference for seeing information, such as charts, graphs, diagrams, symbols etc. Auditory learners would take more information on board through audio tapes, lectures and so on.

Respect your prospects learning style

  1. So the first thing you need to do is establish what type of “learner” your prospect is. Do they prefer visuals, listening, reading or holding something? They may have a combination of learning styles, which can make it a little easier to sell to them, but not necessarily so. Start off using a little bit of each learning style to quickly establish what works best for them.
  2. Tailor how you communicate with your prospect in a way that best suits them. A preference towards reading would suggest the written word to be the most effective way to sell to your client. I’ve sold 6 figure contracts purely using the written word in a proposal document, but that may not work fora prospect who doesn’t like reading.
  3. Record what works for all your biggest customers and repeat. The way you sell will be more appealing to some prospects rather than others, so establishing your style will help you to focus on those who will buy the most from you. It will also help your future customers find you too!

What was so wrong about the word “mate”

I wonder if you have guessed by now how my husband and I absorb information. It was me that was most irritated by the “mate” comment so yes I have more of a tendency towards auditory learning. This is probably not a surprise to those that know me well. I play my music loud and can talk for Britain!

My husband is a visual learner with a strong leaning towards kinesthetic. He can hang a picture without needing a spirit level, but really hates reading the written word unless it is interspersed with pictures of sports cars!

So next time you feel you aren’t getting anywhere with a prospect, try a different learning style to communicate with them. You will be more than pleasantly surprised at the result. The quicker you can do this the faster you will see a boost in your sales performance.

If you are a visual and auditory learner and you need to get in front of your ideal clients, then register now for my new training. My Get the Meeting training is launching really soon, but until it does then register now to get access to the early bird special because after we launch the big discount will vanish!