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  1. Building rapport & need - part one

    building rapport

    One of the biggest stumbling blocks for a salesperson is getting the person to like you, to trust you and to make a connection with you. People will buy if they like the company if they like the product and if they like the salesperson. Now the first two, unless you are lucky, you don’t have much choice over and can’t change if they don’t like the product or the company even if they love you they probably won’t buy. Not unless you use psychological sales techniques to trick them into it but that is not exactly ethical is it. Also if they do like the company and the product but don’t like you they probably won’t buy from you but they may buy from one of the other salespeople at the company and just wait for when you are not around. So, the key here is to get them to like you. Once the prospect enters into a rapport situation with you, then they will start to bond and create a social contract, if you can create enough of that bond that that social contract becomes binding and they may even buy off you even if they don’t like the company its ethos or products.

    Fine, but how do I build rapport?

    Easy clean your hair, smell nice and be well presented oh and don’t forget always smile when you talk! If only it were that simple. Everyone is different and what rubs one person up the wrong way will endear you to another. So, what is the key?

    Well in this section we will look at a few different techniques for getting a person to like you, for getting a person to trust you, making an emotional or personal connection with the prospect and building a real rapport with them. If they still hate the company and the product though you may well still be screwed, I am not a miracle worker.

    These techniques have varying values from the subtlety in the power of suggestion through the power of wording, gestures and body language. The aim is to instill confidence and trust in you. Adding humour and personality to a sales pitch or conversation help to show the prospect that you are human and that you are interested in them and not just the sale. 

    The biggest stumbling block to building rapport is trust. Do they trust you? Would you trust you? If they trust you how far will they trust you?

    The best way to do this though is to be genuinely interested in people and their needs and genuinely try to address their needs. People pick up on and trust people who are genuine and honest and who are genuinely concerned about them.

    There are many ways to build rapport, and these will be discussed in future chapters.



    Influencing Change with Persuasion Psychology - Sales Techniques 101: Building rapport Written by Behavioural Marketing Specialist: Sam O'Prey from Telford, Shropshire, West Midlands UK specialist in helping charities, not for profits, social enterprises and activists to get their message noticed

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  2. Segmenting business markets and customers into groups and sub-groups is standard practice and good advice for most marketers and businesses. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google and other digital ecosystems allow marketers to target customers by their likes, shares and groups they join as well as conversations they take part in and how they interact with adverts or emails sent to them. Cross referencing this info with “big data” including credit card transactions, search history, digital advertising and other data gives digital marketers the ability to target customers based on this information.

    If you add into this advanced psychological profiling like the biopsychosocial double helix model mixed with psychometric neurolinguistics, behavioural economics and psychological persuasion techniques the marketer, the advertiser and big businesses gain a real advantage in getting their message not only in front the prospective customers but also with a great opportunity of persuading them.

    With segmentation, we can further target our message to our potential clients. Before the power of the internet and the designing of the client's experience, designing the user experience depending on the customer's profile, likes and preferences, advertisers and marketers could only create and design adverts based on their assumptions of who their customers might be. They would then design and write and advert based on those assumptions, hoping that a percentage of the people who might see that advert on TV or in a magazine might be intrigued enough or persuaded enough to buy that product.

    Now with segmented user experience enabling us to further profile the customer’s persona and provide them with a unique, automated, customer journey around our brand, product or service the marketer can design multiple adverts, website experiences and social media interactions to multiply the chances of that persuasive and targeted message of getting across and interacted with by the prospect.

    But what if the market is swamped!!

    Well, yes it can depend on the size of the market and the competition. Even more so if you have multiple competitors. But with careful planning of the above, even small companies and organisations can get the desired result.

    What about when the market isn’t swamped!!

    What about when the market isn’t swamped, or there are only one or two brands that stand out, like Coca-Cola or Pepsi, like McDonald's or Burger King, Democrat or Republican, Conservative or Labour or Brexit/Leave or Remain.

    Well, here we have deep ethical questions. Questions about what as digital marketers and behavioural marketing analysts we are allowing to happen. Where the industry is going and what we have to answer for. Just because technically we can do it does it mean we should?

    If we take all of the above talks about market segmentation, profiling and psychological persuasion techniques as current standard practice and we get over the fact of how manipulative it is for business in general. Then we still have to ask the ethical questions about when the choices are few when the market is small and more importantly when it has to do with something that has a more imperative than just what products or services we purchase what should and should not be allowed?

    When the subjects are health, religion or politics, then they become more important. When we are talking about race, gender, sexuality and tolerance or intolerance, they become imperative. 

    Should marketers and owners of digital ecosystems allow segmentation to be used around these subjects or by allowing them are we driving the public towards segregation? Take the recent political debates, campaigns and subsequent votes that have shocked the world for example; Brexit in the UK and Trump being elected as president in the US, how did these shock events happen? Well, there are multiple answers to this question. However, one might be the segmented and segregated views of either side being propagated by social media becoming echo chambers for that view.

    social media

    Do politicians really use market segmentation and behavioural science?

    You may argue that politicians are not that sophisticated when it comes to marketing and behavioural profiling. But when you consider the money thrown at their campaigns by big business, who know a lot about marketing, and the fact that on both side of the Atlantic the governments have invested in behavioural and social science to affect the impact of policy changes, such as the Behavioural Insights Team in the UK and the Social & Behavioural Science Team in the US then this would appear to be a false assumption.

    The selling point to the public about the behavioural science teams is that government is trying to use them to improve public health and acceptance to policy that improves the public’s acceptance of change that is in their benefit.

    Go to in the UK and  to see what the US team get up to. Why would either side of the political spectrum not use these insights from behavioural science and marketing to their advantage? If we think that political campaign teams are not using the best in marketing and behavioural science insight then we will be sadly mistaken.

    The Mass Media Influence

    If you do not believe that politicians would behave in this way then, firstly where have you been in the last 20 to 100 years, and secondly, consider the media in these scenarios?

    Media outlets have their own agendas and marketing teams that target their audience. You could argue that the media have potentially more data on customer’s likes and interests that most other digital marketing outlets as they can track what articles the prospect has read and spent significant time on, as well as shared, liked and commented on.  

    The media also has financial interests and sponsors to consider. Their own behavioural marketing teams will be using all of this data to get more interest in the outlets. Get more signups, and readers in order to interest advertisers and sponsors.

    If these media outlets are also owned by or sponsored by big business they will be influenced by the political interests of the business owners. To suggest that these big business owners would not use their significant marketing influence to promote the cause of the political entity they support would be naive.

    In conclusion

    This subject needs further analysis from behavioural marketers and social scientists. It also needs further investigation from political analysts and deep questions about the ethics of political campaigning, digital marketing and big data, market segmentation and the role of social networks and media outlets in these political and social debates.   


    Written by Behavioural Marketing, Communications and Discourse Analyst: Sam O'Prey from Telford, Shropshire, West Midlands UK specialist in helping charities, not for profits, social enterprises and activists to get their message noticed