Rapport and the Pain Point


Too often I hear people come up to customers in a store and say “How can I help you?” or “What brings you in today?” While these phrases have the right idea, they are too broad for the ultimate goal; to build rapport and to find the customer’s pain point. It is important to create a bond with your customer by establishing a relationship that is slightly personal and direct. A pain point is the problem that the customer needs to be solved. We can do both of these important things within the first couple sentences of our introduction. To explain this in more detail, I will use an example. We will place ourselves at a neighborhood kiosk, and we are selling a textbook with a tutorial DVD bundle.

Every parent should want the best education for their child, and a neighborhood is a great place to catch moms and their children. Building rapport will include finding something in common with them so we can think similarly. Being friendly will allow them to remember us, and open up to us- like a friend! We can help them relax by mentioning a little bit about ourselves and some background information about the product company. In this case, we can talk about the mission of the company, and why and how we help children succeed. Because we are in a neighborhood it is easy to use my “people follow people” tactic by mentioning people’s names in the area that they may know. It is also important to know the other child’s name and any information we have collected when talking to them (ex: “Oh you play basketball? Do you play with the Bulldogs? I met with Mrs. Smith yesterday! Johnny, do you know her son Philip?”). Once we get Mrs. Jones talking about herself, we can gain control by “mirroring” her body language and voice inflection. When we match her, we remain on the same wavelength and that is when we are able to focus on finding her pain point.

Many people in sales fail because their mouths are bigger than their ears. They ask too many questions without listening to Mrs. Jones’s answers. That is how we repeat ourselves or, worse, miss her pain point. In this example, the child is important to sell to because they are the ones who are using the product, and if Johnny can get Mrs. Jones to believe that he will use it, then she will get it. Here, we need to learn Johnny’s background, discover the current problem, define a specific need, and then show how our product fulfills that need. Common needs that we have for textbook/tutoring bundles are that they save time, the parents can’t remember the material to help, or they do remember but they used to use a different method. We may need to find out what kind of grades Johnny is getting, how easy it is for his the achieve the grades he has, his favorite subjects, or how much help he gets from his parents. If the need is that they spend a lot of time on homework, mention the ways that the textbook saves time. This turns the previous example into “Mrs. Smith was just telling me that Philip stays so busy with basketball practice and the marching band, that he dreads studying for several hours after school. That’s what this is for!”

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