John R. Stoker -Why Do Relationships Matter in the Sales Process?


Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed John R. Stoker . Here’s that interview.

About the interviewee

John R. Stoker has been immersed in organizational development and leadership development for over 20 years. He is the Founder and President of DialogueWORKS, Inc. In this role John has worked
extensively with a number of leaders and companies, helping them increase their capacity to enhance effectiveness and improve results. John has vast experience in designing strategic change and in creating and implementing training curriculum in support of company-wide improvement initiatives.   John is also the author of the popular groundbreaking book, Overcoming Fake Talk, which was released in May of 2013.

Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).

DialogueWORKS was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Springville, Utah. The company has about 20 employees nationally but boasts numerous associates throughout North America, Europe, India, and Asia.
DialogueWORKS has provided training solutions and consulting to a number of top companies throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. DialogueWORKS’ list of clients includes Cox Communications, Comcast Cable, Banner Health, Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group, Lockheed Martin, Turner Broadcasting, Eastman-Kodak, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, AT&T, Honeywell, Sonic Automotive, Connolly Healthcare, AbbVie, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Mutual of Omaha, OG&E, Alcon Labs,, Manheim Auto Sales, and Cigna Health Plan..

What type and size of companies do you have as clients?

DialogueWORKS works with organizations of all sizes that are interested in learning how increase their capacity to achieve results. DialogueWORKS helps to create and provide company initiatives that increase individuals’ ability to think innovatively and to talk about what matters most toward the end of achieving results.

What comes to mind when you see this topic?

When it comes to establishing relationships during a sales conversation, most sales people are least concerned about establishing the type of rapport or a relationship that can potentially lead to a sale. They are usually more interested in pushing their own agenda or their desire to make “the sale” rather than anything else.

What are the best practices when it comes to this issue?

Here are some suggestions for improving your sales effectiveness:  More often than not, people are buying you, your relationship with them, as well as your product. The human brain assesses whether an
individual is viewed as trustworthy in as little as 1/10 to as much 15 seconds. Consequently you need to establish trust and rapport in as short as time possible. After quickly introducing yourself, here are a couple of tips you might find useful.

– *Sacrifice Yourself–*We are not talking about falling on a sharp sword, but we are talking about your willingness to set aside your own agenda for selling what you have to offer. This means that you have to be fully present with them and what they have to say. It also means you have to listen to them and what is important to them. Often people will tell you what is really important to them between the lines of the story that they are telling you. You can’t hear what they value if you are preoccupied with your product, what you think you know, or looking for an opening to pitch your product.

– *Ask questions*–The questions you ask have to be about them, such as “What is your greatest challenge?”, “What are you trying to accomplish?” or “How do you think that I can help you?” Even if you would like to tell them how you might help them or what success others have had using your product, you still want to approach the situation by asking their permission to make an offer. For example, you might ask, “Would you like to know what success others have had by using our product?” or “Might I offer a solution for your consideration to your challenge?” What is important is to make your
conversation about them, about helping them, not your desire to sell them.

– *Give a Little to Get a Little*– There seems to be a general principle for creating connection and rapport in conversation. I often refer to this principle as the “Rule of Reciprocity.” What we give will be
returned to us. For example, asking creates ask back; openness creates openness; listening creates listening back, or giving our complete attention creates attention back. What we offer to the other person in conversation usually is the behavior that the other person will offer in return.

When speaking to someone with whom you have no previous experience, it becomes important to totally focus on them and how you can help them. Adopting a spirit of interest and service will help them to be at ease and to feel that you really do have their best interest at heart.

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