Category Archives for Rapport

Building Rapport with Andrew Sletten

TSE 1275: How To Build Rapport By Asking Directed, Relevant Questions 

Building Rapport with Andrew SlettenFor many salespeople, building rapport is a skill that needs to be learned. It’s not always easy for sales reps to build relationships with potential or existing clients.  Asking direct and relevant questions is a great launch fine-tuning the art of building rapport. In this episode, we learn more about how to do this well. 

Andrew Sletter has been in the same company, the Window and Door Store for 10 years. Their company sells windows and doors with a focus on in-home sales.  They work directly with the consumer and are with their customers for every step of the process, including installation.  The company’s office is located in Bismarck, North Dakota and they handle the North Dakota and Western Minnesota market. 

The salesman’s profile

Andrew doesn’t see himself as a true salesman. He believes that many salespeople are doing themselves a disservice by trying to fit into a particular profile. Andrew isn’t an influencer or a promoter.  Based on his DISC personality profile, he is more of the perfectionist individual. In his career, he’s seen all different types of personalities become successful in sales. Many sales reps feel the pressure to become somebody they’re not but as a sales manager, Andrew knows salespeople just need to be true to who they are and learn the skills needed to have a great career.  

Though Andrew didn’t set out to become a sales leader, he honed his skills to become successful. Daniel Pink, the author of the book To Sell is Human, writes that surprisingly, the best salespeople aren’t the extroverts or the introverts. It’s the ambiverts that make it to the top of the chain. Why? The ambiverts tend to have the characteristics of both and it serves them well.  If you aren’t an ambivert, though, take heart. Andrew knows anyone who can hold a conversation with somebody has what it takes to become a great salesperson. 

Building the trust 

An important skill that salespeople need to have is the ability to know when and if a product or service is a good fit for a potential client. With direct-to-consumer businesses this is especially important. Building trust and rapport in the early stages of inquiry will help with this evaluation. If done correctly, not only will this prospect become a new client, there is an opportunity to develop the relationship into a life-long customer. 

Building rapport is about having trust between two people.  If a salesperson states their product is the best in the industry, but hasn’t built trust, the consumer can determine very quickly they don’t want to work with that individual.  The consumer today is very savvy. They’ve usually done the research even before approaching the salesperson. They already know about the product and the industry and will purchase with the sales rep who aligns with their value system. It is up to the salesperson to uncover those values in order to close the sale. 

Building Rapport 

Rapport is more than just value-based selling. For Andrew, it’s also about authentic selling. The number one deciding factor of whether or not a consumer is going to purchase is the credibility of the salesperson. Credibility and rapport first, product or service second. It’s the job of the salesperson to uncover the prospect’s values because if the values aren’t in alignment, the ability to close is greatly diminished.  Selling to modern consumer requires wisdom and discovery. The sales goal has to be secondary to the customer’s needs.  

Discovering the value 

From the beginning a salesperson needs to have a conversation with the prospect. Allow them to tell their story because it’s their story that needs to be heard. Be ready with a set of questions to ask every client. 

Ask directed and relevant questions. What are their fears, concerns,  projections? This exchange helps the salesperson determine the client’s motivation and it gives the consumer the confidence their needs are being heard. When values align, the closing rate increases dramatically. 

Keep building rapport through the pandemic 

Building rapport is especially critical in the season we’re in, when people are dealing with so much uncertainty.  Clients need to feel they’re part of a conversation and a team. As salespeople, we support our families by helping our clients solve their problems. We’re all consumers.  Let’s be the people we’d want to purchase from ourselves. 

“How To Build Rapport By Asking Directed, Relevant Questions” episode resources

Don’t rush the process. Too often a salesperson tries to determine the outcome of the sales without first building trust. Put in the time and ask direct and relevant questions. 

Talk to Donald if you are interested in more sales stories. Reach him via these channels: LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook about any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part  by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. It will help them elevate their sales game. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can go and visit also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

We’d love for you to join us for our next episodes so tune in on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to. 

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Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound. Other songs used in the episodes are as follows: The Organ Grinder written by Bradley Jay Hill, performed by Bright Seed, and Produced by Brightseed and Hill.

TSE 1193: What are the 6 Critical Steps to Developing a Successful Sales

TSE 1193: The 6 Critical Steps To Developing a Successful Sales Strategy

Sales strategies aren’t born from thin air; rather, there are six critical steps to developing a successful sales strategy

Lance Tyson is an author and speaker who runs his own training company. Tyson Group has been ranked by Selling Powers as one of the Top 20 sales organizations in the world. It has been operating for 15 years and invested in Dale Carnegie Training in 2010. They work in the sports entertainment industry and one of their biggest customers is the football team, the Raiders. They coordinate with the sales team to sell premium tickets, sponsorships, suites, and others. His team also works with Michael Jordan’s company and several tech companies where they coach, train, and consult with sales teams. 

Lance isn’t just teaching; he is also out there grinding and doing all the sales work that his salespeople are doing. 

Six steps to developing a successful sales strategy 

Attitude, perseverance, and grit aren’t part of the steps. These things must always be present but let’s think of outcome first. In some cultures, the word relations isn’t great and it’s often overused. We prefer the term rapport.

This is one of the three outcomes you need to go after. Partner rapport with credibility. While rapport gives you influence, credibility gives you people’s trust. The third one is showing a level of understanding. These three are the beginning of the steps to developing a successful sales strategy which is the following: 

  • Connect
  • Evaluate
  • Diagnose
  • Prescribe
  • Dialogue
  • Close

The six critical steps to developing a successful sales strategy 


We talk about connecting with others all the time but the conversation of connecting is different today. You may be trying to deal with a level of preoccupation by the buyer. You have to connect with people via text, email, or voicemail and talk to people to build rapport. The fragmented conversations can be broken down and taken to connect step to overcoming preoccupation. This will lead to building rapport, credibility, and a  level of understanding. 


When you go to your doctor’s appointment, one of the first things they do is to evaluate you. The same is true in sales. We evaluate our prospects to determine whether they’re interested or not.

Other businesses call this assessment while some refer to it as an opportunity. Whatever you call it, it’s the step where salespeople deal with the inherent objection of disinterest.  

Diagnose and Prescribe

This is where salespeople make an educated guess. Ask yourself what they need most and do not forget about creating a level of comfort. A lot of salespeople walk in the door and make assumptions based on their grand experience, they then ask a few questions.

You need to talk to the clients through their feelings and their thoughts. You need to look at their past, their present, and the future to make a good diagnosis. After the evaluation and diagnosis, you make a prescription. 

Dialogue and Close 

After getting your prescription, your next step would probably be talking with your doctor and asking questions so as to get a clear understanding of your health problem.

In the same manner, after giving your prescription as a salesperson, your next step is to have a dialogue to overcome any form of objection. Ultimately, having every question answered, your next step is to close. 

Researcher or salesperson

The biggest challenge right now is the confusion that most salespeople are stuck in which happens in the connect step. Inside sales reps are responsible for prospecting. You can’t trust everything that’s written on LinkedIn and you can’t just get somebody without fact-checking what their bio says.

This creates a problem for sales reps because they often feel like they don’t have enough information to move forward. Thus, the confusion of whether to spend more time on researching about the prospects or looking for prospects to pitch. 

It gets harder because it takes at least six touches to get in contact with a target and another six to get an appointment. Salespeople are now trying to cheat the process and just connect because they’re exhausted. 

Many sales reps these days just sell their whole service in one move. They’d say it’s free and without obligation. This is a mistake that many salespeople make. Instead of getting on the phone and pouring it out in one go, sales reps must be patient and sell one piece at a time. 

If you can’t sell time, you can’t sell your products or services and that’s what people in sales lack: time.  

Getting better in evaluation 

We do a lot of sales assessment and we do predictive index studies on people to see where they’re weak and to know where to start on their training. We’ve seen that salespeople are often not good facilitators. What most salespeople do is spray and pray. They start asking questions right away without getting into the introduction stage of presenting what’s going to happen in this meeting. 

Salespeople can evaluate better if they learn how to facilitate and set things up better. Sales isn’t just about asking questions, it’s also about facilitating the meeting well and making good set-up. Evaluation is a back-and-forth process. You ask questions and they answer, all the while maintaining a good grip on where the conversation is going. 

On prescribing

There has to be a level of dramatization in prescribing. Salespeople need to make prospects understand that reason why they want what they want. Dramatize your pitch the way they want it. 

You are trying to overcome doubt in the prescribed step. So, describe your products and your services in a way that answers a few questions. Don’t just state facts. Learn to become a storyteller because that’s how you make them listen. 

Remember the six critical steps to developing a successful sales: you connect, then evaluate, then diagnose. After these, you make the prescription, have the dialogue, and close. Take your sales per process and see where you are and where you’re potential customers are. Make sure that both of you are on the same spot, if not, take a stop and go back or move forward.

“Steps To Developing a Successful Sales Strategy” episode resources 

Connect with Lance Tyson on Twitter, LinkedIn, and his website, Tyson Group

Don’t hesitate to connect with Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

Wanting to learn and hear more about sales? This episode is brought to you in-part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a program designed to help sales reps get from where they are now to where they can be in the future. Every seller should be making six figures and this can be achieved with our rigorous training schedule and group coaching. Join us for a new semester beginning each quarter. 

Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561)570-5077. 

Read more about sales or listen to audiobooks at Audible as well and explore this huge online library. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. One of the great books right now is the StoryBrand by Donald Miller, do give that a go. 

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Outbound Sales, Alex Berg, Curiosity

TSE 1114: Assessing Curiosity To Optimize The Performance of Outbound Sales Reps

Outbound Sales, Alex Berg, Curiosity


Asking questions and learning about the client is an accepted part of sales, but the key is assessing curiosity to optimize the performance of outbound sales reps.

Alex Berg, who has a consultancy in curiosity quotient selling, focuses on leveraging mutual curiosity. He said it isn’t so much the case that sellers aren’t thinking about curiosity, but rather that they are thinking about it too tactically.

Learning about clients

Most sales methodologies are a bit too complicated and don’t really require that much detail. Sellers don’t need to write down 27 questions before they sit down with clients. They simply need to learn enough to ask intelligent, informed questions.

Stephen M.R. Covey wrote a book called Speed of Trust that reports a significant correlation between the development of trust and the pace of decision making. In other words, if you really want to accelerate your sales cycle, build trust. And the fastest way to build trust is to demonstrate curiosity.

Types of curiosity

Alex distinguishes between social curiosity, which is about people, and technical curiosity, which is about how things work.

If you’re in a transactional sales environment, you must focus on getting a decision made quickly. So too much open-ended curiosity could be detrimental.

Begin by assessing what kind of sales organization and what kind of sales process you’re engaged in. You also must know what sort of clients you’re selling to.

Then, assess your individuals and your organizations to determine whether you have the right characteristics to thrive in a particular sales environment. From there, you can assign or hire people based on their ability to deliver on those requirements.


As an individual, a certain degree of introspection will help you determine whether sales even makes sense for you as a career. There are many assessments available that can help you determine whether you’re epistemically curious with a general thirst for knowledge or perceptually curious with a desire to solve problems and fix things.

If you’re epistemically curious, you’re well suited for long sales cycles, complex selling, and larger deal size. If you’re more focused on getting it done today, you’ll benefit more from a transactional sales environment. You’ll get more satisfaction from quick decisions.

Leverage strengths

Once we understand where people’s strengths lie, leverage this information in the sales environment and then coach your team accordingly. The most important part of the sales process is the initial discovery. That’s where you’re qualifying the prospect.

The thing you have the most control over is how you spend your time.

Determine whether you even have a solution that makes sense for the prospect.

If we can get a little better at driving rapport and a little better at collecting information, we can reduce the sales cycle. Imagine what it would do to your bottom line if you could shorten it from 6 months to 3.

Creating questions

You must begin by learning enough about the client to ask intelligent questions. Your leadership must also have a mindset that encourages curiosity.

Make appropriate risk-taking acceptable. Many companies will say they want to develop a curious organization, but then they don’t act that way. They focus more on mitigating risk than on allowing reasonable risk.

Ask the tough questions that aren’t always comfortable. Don’t necessarily show up with a list of 15 questions. Instead, develop a list of the five most important questions and then focus your attention on those.


Before you get on the phone with your clients, eliminate all distractions. Turn off your notifications on your phone so you can really listen to what the other person is saying.

Don’t simply go through the checklist. Focus on asking better questions.

Realize, too, that if you learn from situations that you view as a mistake, then they aren’t truly mistakes. They are learning journeys, and they aren’t negative experiences.

By demonstrating your interest in your prospect, you develop rapport, make the sales cycle more efficient, and hopefully shorten it.

Injecting curiosity

Individual sellers can begin by learning the tools to become more curious. The big win, though, is when companies try to inject more curiosity into their organizations.

Companies that are too internally focused and not client-centric make poor decisions. Alex recalls working for a company who sent a rep to get a deal signed by a prospect who was in the hospital following a heart attack.

The key to long-term success is delivering great value to your clients. In order to do that, you must conduct yourself in a way that communicates your intent to deliver the best possible outcomes.

Arm your people with tools to conduct themselves that way. Leverage technology to make sure your reps have the information they need at their fingertips.

Judging intelligence

People judge our intelligence and empathy by the questions we ask. As a seller, it’s better to approach a client and ask about the issues that are most critical to the company’s growth.

Communicate to the client that you aren’t throwing out a blanket solution. Base your proposed solution on what the expressed needs are.

Come prepared. The primary reason clients become dissatisfied with sellers or that they don’t buy is because the seller didn’t care about them or their businesses. This seller deficit disorder happens when we propose solutions that aren’t informed by knowledge about the client.

We must make it painfully obvious that we understand the client’s perspective so our solution feels like something uniquely designed to solve their problems rather than something off-the-shelf.

If you’re a sales manager working inculcate more curiosity into your sales organization, offer tools that help your client and your salesforce be more curious. Then, when your people use them and find success, celebrate that and give them the opportunity to share their stories.

Embed ambassadors in your sales organizations. Don’t forget this is about mutual curiosity.

When you think you know enough about your clients, ask one more question.

“Assessing Curiosity to Optimize the Performance of Outbound Sales Reps” episode resources

You can connect with Alex via email at or on his website at where you can schedule an interview or a phone call. You can also call him at (770) 330-6221. Check out his article, Crushing Quota: Why Curiosity Matters.

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you.

Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester. You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

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Jacquelyn Nicholson, Rapport, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Female In Sales

TSE 1058: How to Genuinely Build Rapport With Any Prospect

Jacquelyn Nicholson, Rapport, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Female In Sales

Many sellers struggle to connect with their customers, but on today’s episode, Jacquelyn Nicholson addresses how to genuinely build rapport with any prospect.

Jacquelyn is an enterprise seller and one of the inaugural members at Alpha Sense where she acts as an evangelist for the company and its work.

World of sales

Jacquelyn landed in sales after a strange recession in Chicago prevented her from finding a job as an engineer for a defense contractor. She moved to New York and took a job as a sales engineer.

Sometime after, she found herself heading a project for Johnson & Johnson and reporting directly to the vice president of the division. He told her to put together the very best team possible and trusted her to get the job done.

During the course of the project, she made two unexpected realizations. She discovered that she didn’t like buying from salespeople because she thought they were horrible. Secondly, she discovered that she really missed sales.

She didn’t like salespeople because they talked nonstop about how great their technology was. She found herself wondering, “Do you even know what I do? Do you even care?”

“At the same moment, I was drawn back to the world of sales and also slightly repulsed by what I saw in the sellers I knew.”

She decided then to return to sales, and she vowed that she would never be that kind of seller.

Solving problems

Jacquelyn discovered that people buy things from people who can help them solve their problems. If I have a problem and you can solve it, I’m going to buy your stuff.

But I also have to be able to trust the person I’m buying from. People buy from people they trust or they like, and they can spot fake people. Sucking up isn’t the same, and customers quickly learn to spot genuine people.

She determined that the key was getting to know the people she was selling to. Learning about their problems and the things they care about. That only happens after you build rapport.

The problem, she discovered, was figuring out how to do that at scale.

The good news was, she discovered, that it doesn’t take additional time to be authentic. Researching to understand your client’s problems takes time, but kindness doesn’t.

Segue into sales

Jacquelyn realized that she wasn’t going to land in a quota-carrying role until she got some experience in front of customers. She ventured into the consulting world and she gained experience solving client problems and earning their trust.

She loved the idea of solving problems instead of simply pushing products.

Jacquelyn also realized that her time managing a project for Johnson & Johnson taught her that executives aren’t any different than anyone else. Many sellers struggle to have the confidence to approach them, but she said she was fortunate to learn early on how to interact with them.

She counsels sellers now to be respectful of their time. Executives are short on time and short on people who want to be helpful to them for who they are rather than for what they can do.

Don’t put them on a pedestal. Don’t become a “yes man” for executives. They are often surrounded by “yes men” who don’t want to rock the boat, but what they often need is real insight.

Initiate a conversation around something relevant that matters to the executives.

Bad rap

Sellers have gotten a bad rap from some of the bad behaviors of our predecessors, but the world has changed an awful lot. Consumers now have the ability to do extensive research before they ever reach out to a seller.

Sellers must honor the time they have put into the process.

At the same time, you deserve to be treated as more than just a vendor. If your customers don’t treat you with a certain amount of respect, you always have the option to walk away. Sometimes you have to fire prospects.

Taking risk

There isn’t a lot to be afraid of anymore. Jacquelyn faced a rare and aggressive form of leukemia and survived it, so she calls herself “fearless on another level” now.

She defines success as being the best person she can possibly be. She wants to be the woman her husband would marry again; the seller her boss would hire again; the mom her kids are proud to introduce to their friends.

If you constantly define your success in terms of other people and what they think of you, you’re doing it the wrong way.


Jacquelyn believes that help is always available. Sometimes you’re the one giving the help and sometimes you’re the one seeking it. Don’t be afraid to keep your eyes and ears open for the help that’s available.

We have a tendency to believe that we have little to offer, but the truth is that you intrinsically have value because you’re you. Be aware of those who can help you, and those that need your help each day.

Sales is a noble profession because we’re selling something that will help someone else.

“How to Genuinely Build Rapport With Any Prospect” episode resources

You can connect with Jacquelyn on LinkedIn, and if you’re interested in her personal journey, you can go to She’d love to connect with you.

We are currently in the Beta portion of our new TSE Certified Sales Training Program. The first section is about prospecting, the second is all about building value, and the third is about closing.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If 2018 wasn’t the best year for you, check out TSE Certified Sales Training Program. We can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link. allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

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Story Selling,, Maximizer, Story

TSE 930: TSE Hustler’s League-“Storytelling Questions”

Story Selling,, Maximizer, Story






It’s tempting to think that when a lead contacts us first, the transaction should be pretty simple. We’ll ask about the company; about the challenges the company is facing; we’ll try to determine how we can help. But what happens when the conversation goes nowhere? You must make sure you’re asking storytelling questions.

On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, we’ll address the questions you’re asking of your leads and discuss how storytelling questions will help him tell his story.

Maximize leads

Even when people land on your website looking for information, they may be a little shy about opening up. They may not immediately volunteer to share the problems they are facing.

So what do you do? How do you qualify the lead to determine whether you can help?

You have to begin by learning about the lead, and the best way to learn about your leads is through their stories.


I recently had Paul Smith on the podcast, author of Sell With A Story, and he talked about capturing attention, building trust, and closing a sale. He talked about the importance of stories.

We know that stories date back eons, and we’ve done countless episodes in the past about how you can improve your storytelling skills. What we haven’t addressed often is the fact that stories can help your buyer reveal important information to you.

When you need to understand his business and his challenges, you can do that by having him tell you a story.

In his book, Paul outlined 5 ways to get your buyers to open up:

1. Listen

Don’t be afraid of silence. Fight the urge to break the ice. Give your buyer time to process the decision.

Once you have rapport and relationship with a prospect, it’s ok to give him time to consider all sides of an issue.

Silence can be very powerful for both seller and buyer.

2. Ask

Ask the question that requires story. Use open-ended questions.

“When did you know you had a real problem on your hands?”

Unlike the question, “What is your biggest challenge,” this question prompts prospects to tell a story. When they do, they’ll include other characters, other situations, and specific instances that led to this moment.

Stories reveal a lot of information. They require people to recall a time something went wrong and identify all the problems that occurred.

That will help you identify true issues that will help you frame a demonstration or present a solution in a way that will help your prospect.

3. Research

Find out the prospect’s current role. Research on LinkedIn to discover what his position is and use that to build rapport.

Again, ask a question that prompts a story.

“How did you end up in your current role?”

You can bring up something you saw on the prospect’s LinkedIn and initiate a conversation. Ask the prospect to tell you about something you saw on the page, and it will lead to specific conversation and stories.

4. Meet

Consider having the prospect meet you somewhere outside of work. Go to lunch or dinner, or meet at a trade show event.

Get the prospect away from the office mindset and ask him to tell you a story.

In this setting, he won’t be thinking about his role in the company. He’s outside, and that allows him to share more freely.

Don’t use it as a fishing expedition. Do this with customers who have already expressed interest in the product or service you’re selling.

5. Share

Share your own story first.

Tell about a challenging situation you overcame. It may prompt him to share a similar experience he had.

Seed the story. If you sell office furniture, share your own story about office furniture to encourage him to share a challenge he has struggled with.

“Storytelling Questions” episode resources

Check out Paul Smith’s book Sell With A Story for more information about using stories to sell well.

This episode is also brought to you in part by, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.

This episode is also brought to you byMaximizer CRM. If you aren’t sure you have the right CRM, Maximizer CRM is a personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. Get rid of the boring CRMs and customize to your team’s selling abilities.

Click on the link to get a free demo of what Maximizer CRM can do for you. It integrates your marketing campaign as well as your CRM.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode.

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Marty Wilson, Rapport, Negotiate

TSE 803: Can Being Funny Improve Your Rapport Building Skills & Negotiation?

Sales professionals rarely use humor to improve rapport and improve negotiations. For some reason, when we walk through the doors at work, we’re all business.

Research shows, though, that people who incorporate humor into their business are more successful. We gravitate toward people who seem more like us, and humor helps accomplish that.

On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we’re talking with Marty Wilson, a pharmacist-turned-stand-up-comic who understands the power of humor in sales transactions.

Our brains naturally separate people into “us” and “them,” a throwback to the tribal days of humans. Each of us considers a small group of people part of the “us” group; the rest are “them.”

Humor builds rapport and helps people identify us as part of their group, so we’re no longer part of the “them” group.

Use humor to improve rapport

We’re all sales-savvy because we’ve been sold to so often. When we perceive someone selling something to us, red flags go up.

Sales professionals must convince people to “know, like and trust.”   You can’t afford to be boring. The market is overcrowded, and you must somehow make yourself memorable.

Accomplish that by building rapport. Humans trust people who can smile when everyone else is stressed. It suggests psychological stability, and we gravitate toward it.

Funny makes ideas stick. We remember funny commercials and funny jokes because funny implants in our brains more easily than facts.

People listen to your message after you build rapport.

Don’t take yourself too seriously

There are three things you can always laugh at:

  • common enemies
  • shared frustrations
  • yourself

When you can laugh at things happening behind the scenes, customers believe that you understand the industry. If you tell funny stories about the things your customer laughs about behind closed doors, you become an “us” instead of a “them.”

Car salesmen, for example, might joke about the price of oil or government regulation in the car industry.

Take what you do seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. When you can laugh at yourself, or even at the difficulty of the negotiation process, it suggests an inner peace.

Acknowledge the obvious

Acknowledge the fact that negotiations are the most difficult part of the sales process. Make a good-natured joke about your sales competitors.

If you can prompt even 10 percent of the people in the audience to laugh, you’ll increase your likability, even among the people who didn’t laugh. Using gentle humor to acknowledge the stress in the process will make you truthful and trustworthy.

Episode resources

Marty Wilson has a new book out called More Funny, More Money plus a free Masterclass about using humor to increase revenue. You’ll also find information about private coaching, video courses, and Marty’s TED Talks.

Connect with Marty at for keynote speaking engagements and a collection of informational videos.

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Donald Kelly, Rapport, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 592: Is Rapport Building a Waste of Time?

Donald Kelly, Rapport, The Sales EvangelistLife is a big ole sales process. No matter what stage of life we’re at, being a student or a kid, we all have to persuade individuals and do some kind of persuasion in our life. Today, we talk about the power of persuasion and how you can increase that factor and become more effective with your persuasion skills.

Back in episode 366, Kurt Mortensen talked about the idea of persuasion and how you can increase your persuasive abilities. He has a book called Maximum Influence: The 12 Universal Laws of Power Persuasion.

There are different instances in life that we need to persuade people. Students persuade their professors or a guy is trying to get a girl or vice versa or you’re trying to get your mom to allow you to do something, or you’re trying to persuade your wife to let you go out and hang out with the boys.

Focus on Human Tendencies

As a seller, you’re trying to persuade people to make a decision that’s in their best interest that’s going to give value to them. And business persuasion is a powerful skill. In our day and age, we focus so much on the digital side and emailing and social selling that we tend to lose track of those human tendencies. We don’t realize we’re still dealing with human beings on the other side of social media. They are human beings and they have human tendencies.

Kurt emphasized this study in his book that your ability to persuade is 85% of your success in business. And based on this, I’m going to hit up on some of these skills you can implement.

Rapport Building

This has been said a million times but this needs some repeating – People do business with those they know, like, and trust. When you go to a networking event, you immediately look for people you can connect with. And people like to connect with people who are like them.

Treat others the way they like to be treated.

If your customers like strawberry ice cream and you don’t like strawberry because you love vanilla, you don’t have to lie but just don’t state your opinion about it. You want to make sure you build that connection with that individual.

Find a commonality to build that relationship with.

Kurt mentions in his book that any time a buyer can see something about themselves in you, the chances of you winning increases significantly. When you try to go to LinkedIn and do the research, your goal is not just to find random facts but things you can build off of, which are things you have in common. What is something you can present or bring up in the conversation that’s going to make him or her connect with you instantaneously?

Four Key Areas in Connecting with Your Customers

  • Morality
  • Background
  • Appearance
  • Attitude


Bringing in humor to your conversation is another great way of building rapport with your customers. Don’t worry about telling jokes. Just be yourself. Try to share good, funny information if you can. That can break the ice and people love to connect with individuals like that.

Body Posture

You want to send out that message that you’re confident in who you are.


Especially for a lady, this is easier for you to do. You can tap somebody on the shoulder and that touch makes that connection between you and the customer. Do that handshake.


When you’re mirroring somebody, you’re not necessarily mimicking them but you want to reflect what they’re doing. If they have their legs crossed, do it as well. This gives a subliminal idea that you are like them.

People subconsciously examine for ways to connect with an individual. Your job as a seller is to persuade them through your appearance and body language. About 93% of communication is nonverbal so don’t just chat there but also focus on some of the things you often overlook.

Today’s Major Takeaway:

Don’t sell the way you buy. Sell the way your buyers buy. If you can do this, you’re one step closer to become a power persuader and become more effective with your win rate and closing more deals.

Episode Resources:

Episode 366: Turning a No into a Yes (Interview with Kurt Mortensen)

Maximum Influence by Kurt Mortensen

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Rapport, Help Feel Okay, Donald Kelly.

TSE 420: TSE Hustler’s League-“Help Them Feel Okay”

Rapport, Help Feel Okay, Donald Kelly. Today’s episode is another snippet taken from one of our sessions over at the TSE Hustler’s League which talks about how essential it is to make your customers feel okay and what you can do to make them feel okay. You want your customers to like and trust you. The last thing you want to do is make them feel uneasy at any point of your conversation. You have to keep them engaged. You have to make them feel that you understand them and that you care for them.

Why is it important to make your customers feel okay?

  • They’re going to feel a connection to you.
  • They’re going to call you less with issues.
  • They’ll find a way to be able to be of assistance to you.

The 70/30 Rule:

By this rule, it means that you have to speak 30% of the entire conversation while you let the prospect speak 70%. The point is to let them speak more than you. Let them talk about themselves because that’s what they love.

Ask engaging, thought-provoking, open-ended questions that will make a solid conversation.

Treat them as human beings.Treat them as intellectuals who know things about their organization.

Compliment them.

Keep It Simple

Don’t use buzzwords. Avoid using terminologies that are complicated. You may be used to these words internally but people on the outside of your industry may not have any clue about what you’re saying so they won’t be engaged in the conversation. They’re going to zone out. So make it as simple as possible for them. Speak in a way that a child can understand what you’re saying.

Episode Resources:

Create interactive presentations that customers will enjoy and remember. Get a full demonstration of Prezi Business and see the power it has in action. Just go to to help you tell more compelling, value-driven stories to your prospects.

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