Elon Musk (co-founder of PayPal, Tesla and Space X) is famous for how he treats sales people on their first sales call.

If a sales person spends time trying to build rapport he will kick them out of his office for wasting his time. He doesn’t want to discuss the weather, the local football team or anything else with a sales person. Why should he? He doesn’t care what a complete stranger thinks about such events!

He wants the sales person to lead the sales conversation and bring value to his business. He is too busy to waste time shooting the breeze.

This makes sense. Both parties are at the meeting for an agreed reason – that’s evidence of rapport.

Trying to ‘Build rapport’ on the first sales call shows that you are weak and looking for permission to be there. It’s why it always feels awkward and is no fun for anyone.

In my program Better Positioning, Deeper Conversations, More Sales I show sales people how to sell to without wasting time trying to build rapport. I show them how to assume rapport and demand response – even when in the client’s office.

The irony is that in the long run this approach gives you a stronger connection with the customer. In addition to this, you have a position of strength throughout the relationship – something that can be useful down the track.

But the trick to doing this starts well before you get to the customers door. It starts on the first contact.

If your sales team needs to control the sales conversation with greater authority, let me know by leaving your comments below and we can start a dialogue to improve how your sales team leads the sales conversation.


Darren Fleming