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Is 'Rapport-Building' Overrated In Selling?

Posted by Wes Schaeffer | Aug 26, 2017 4:23:00 PM

Old School Sales Training Says...

People buy from people they know, like, and trust.

All things being equal, that's true.

But when are all things equal?

The reality is the general public thinks that...

Pushy sales people are yucky"


Being in sales means you have to be pushy."


All sales people are pushy."

Which means...

All sales people are yucky."

How To Control Every Sale

Like water, human beings in general—and sales people in particular—tend to take the path of least resistance, which means...

(Amateur) Sales People Want To Be Liked

In order to be liked, amateur sales people do what they think they should to curry favor with their prospects.


Curry favor:
"ingratiate oneself with someone through obsequious behavior."
Example: "a wimpish attempt to curry favor with the new bosses"
"obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree."
Example: "they were served by obsequious waiters"
So we find a bunch of sales people running around acting like lowly servants and even whipping boys for their prospects because they think if they are really sweet and cuddly, their prospects will like them, which means they'll buy from them.
Yeah, I know. Crazy, huh?  But we're not done, yet.
(Amateur) Sales People Are Hungry (Literally)

Because these amateur sales people act like little lap dogs and let their prospects push them around, they make fewer sales, and the sales they manage to make are sold at lower prices, which means they earn even less commission.

Since they make fewer sales and earn less money they are hungry, i.e. desperate, to make a sale (and they're probably eating cheap cold cuts on day-old bread at their desk, so they're literally hungry as well.)

When you think you're desperate you resort to measures you may not normally do with your prospects that continue to jerk the chain you placed into their hands, which leads us to the final point...

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(Amateur) Sales People Are Pushy

When well-meaning people get into sales and get bad sales training (or no sales training), they resort to how their mommas raised them when meeting with prospects, which usually involves:

Don't jump right into business. Get to know the other person. Make small talk. If you see a picture of the prospect's family on their desk, tell them about your family. Ask about the fish or the golf trophy on the wall. Talk about the game. Talk about the weather. Show them you're not all business."

By the time you've "proven you're a nice person" and "not pushy like those other guys," you've wasted a lot of time that neither you nor your prospect will get back.

The prospect may now know you and they may even like you (if they were in the market for a friend) but they don't TRUST that you have the best solution for their needs so they drop the dreaded...

We're going to go home and think about it."


Please send us some information."

Being an amateur sales person (who is also a nice person, as you've got to great lengths to prove, and not pushy, which you've also proven) you believe the prospects and send them on their merry way to ponder all the pros and cons of your offering. (It's what you'd do, so it makes sense.)

Eat This To Sell More

But you're done.


Stick a fork in you.

Those great prospects are never coming back.

But you're going to reach out to them because you've been told by other old school sales trainers and hard core closers that...

  • "The sale begins when you hear no!" and...
  • "You have to get five No's before you get one Yes!" and...
  • "The money is in the follow-up."

You're going to call them.

You're going to email them.

You're going to text them.

You're going to track them down on social media.

You're going to call them some more.

You're going to start begging with them.

You're going to then...be seen...as pushy.

All because you tried to do everything in your power to build rapport, be seen as a "nice sales person," and not come across as pushy.

The Best Sales Advice

To make it in the profession of sales you must understand that the whole "Know. Like. Trust" it the trifecta of sales.

But at the end of the day, all that matters is that the prospect trusts you.

Many of your best prospects don't really want to know you, let alone need to know you.

Sure, if you're a jerk you'll probably lose some sales that you could've won.

But if people don't trust you it doesn't matter how much they know and like you. 

The best sales advice I can give you is to do everything in your power to build trust with your prospects.

If they trust you and you have what they need at a price that they see as providing a positive ROI, they'll buy from you.

It's that simple. Maybe not easy, but simple.

Market like you mean it.
Now go sell something.

Work With Wes

Topics: Strategic Selling, Professional Development, Digital Marketing, Sales Training

Written by Wes Schaeffer

Wes and his wife just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They have seven kids, which means Wes is motivated to find what works and help you apply it to grow your sales so he can buy diapers, groceries, braces...and bourbon.

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