What do you think the first part of the sales cycle is in any business?


The first step to the sale is establishing rapport. That goes beyond “Hi, how are you?” You will close more sales if you truly focus on the first two steps “big time”.

Depending on which person you are listening to, they will have some variation of the following 7 steps to every sale.

Every company needs training on establishing rapport. Many think by saying “hello, how are you?” rapport was reached. Actually, I do not suggest even saying that to someone you don’t know on the phone. It labels you as a salesperson. They know you don’t really care much anyhow if you don’t know them. To establish rapport, you need to go deeper. By looking at their “about” page on their website, you will often find personal information which can referenced. This can include family, number of children, geographic location and interests (perhaps soccer). This gives you a way to establish a relationship.

(By the way, if they rush you, you can say-  “I see you are busy right now. When would be a good time to call back for about a 15-20 minute conversation which can result in your company —- (decreasing costs, increasing revenue – list a couple of benefits of working with you”)?

One way to establish rapport is ask powerful questions. Find common areas of interest and say “tell me more about that”.
Be entertaining. Enjoy your calls. They will feel it. When necessary and possible, demonstrate that you understand because you share a similar experience. Show you truly understand.

Many companies and/or individual business owners keep a database with personal information. Go a step further and even if you don’t do business together at this time, send them articles and jokes you feel might be of interest. They could end up referring you to others as well because you are such an easy person to speak with and the relationship is an important part of how you do business and their feelings towards you. Being highly competent in your field is vital as well.

Rapport building should be practiced. I role play this vital step with my clients. You will close more sales when you start with a strong, solid rapport step with your prospects/clients.

What’s worked for you? Anything backfire? We learn from our mistakes as well. Please share your tips on establishing rapport. Be sure to “follow” my blog so you get the other steps.


2 thoughts on “What do you think the first part of the sales cycle is in any business?

  1. When I was in a cold-calling role, I found specifics were key. I needed to offer a concrete reason for speaking with me to get anywhere with the busy young professionals on the phone. In my case, it was mentioning a position I was working on as a recruiter. If they weren’t interested, sometimes I could transition to referral mode (“Who should I be calling about this position?”), but not if I didn’t have that concrete position in mind since I’d just be another annoying recruiter call without it If I didn’t have a position in mind, I could sometimes get away with referencing recent “wins” (“I just placed a woman with a profile much like yours in (fill in details here)”)…again, it was partly about distinguishing myself.and establishing competence

    A silly one, but whenever I’m in a public-facing role I watch local news. I’m SO not a sports fan, but when I recruited in Boston (a rabid sports town!) knowing which team was on a winning streak helped with small talk. On the same note, local alums tended to be loyal school sports fans so I kept informed about which of those teams were on a roll

    One last thing…when I had a job that felt way over my head and I was given a public-facing task, I told myself repeatedly: “They don’t know that I don’t know what I’m doing unless I let them know” or “They don’t know I’m terrified unless I let them know.” It helped!


    • Thanks for your valuable comments, Cheryl. What you are describing here is aligned with the next step in the sale – finding the need/desire. Great job when you were on the phone with someone referencing how you helped another woman and asking for a referral. Also, I congratulate you on increasing your knowledge a bit concerning sports in the area you live. Great rapport-builder.

      Keep up the good work and check back on upcoming blog notes to get more information on the 7 steps to every sale. I am interested in hearing your comments on the next steps as well.


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