In this episode, Ari Greenbaum interviews Jonathan Bossie, franchise owner at Junkluggers of Portland and Beaverton. Listen as they talk about the importance of rapport building in the sales process.
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Ari: Hey, welcome to The X Factor A Home Pro Sales Podcast This is a podcast about all things sales to help Home Improvement pros generate high-quality leads, and close more deals. Now I’m your host, Ari Greenbaum. And in this podcast, we’ll talk about different tactics, tips, and resources to help you grow your business while interviewing sales experts in the industry.
But before we get into today’s podcast, just a little housekeeping. If you could rate us on Apple Podcasts, you know, that little purple icon, give us that five-star rating, leave a review and let us know if you’re enjoying the podcast.
Now, today we’re going to be talking about an important topic to anyone in sales, which is rapport building. And why it is such an essential part of the sales process.
But before we dive into the topic of rapport building, I want to introduce our guest. It’s an honor for me to have Jonathan bossy with me, who is not only someone that is knowledgeable in the field, being that he is an owner of a Junkluggers franchise over in the Portland/Beaverton area, out in Oregon, but he’s also a client here at conXpros, who I know does very well with us and has a history of closing deals.
So you know, again, I just want to give him a brief intro. But Jonathan, tell us a little about yourself. Maybe a little bit background, how you got here. And, you know, we’ll get into the rapport building in a moment.
Jonathan: Sure. Thanks, Ari. Thanks for having me. It’s great to be here. I’ve been in this business only for about less than a year the Junkluggers in Portland has been open. Prior to that, I was in the military for 23 years, I retired in 2000. I was in the Marine Corps, I was an infantry officer.
And we talked a lot leading up to this about rapport and all that stuff. And I think the reason the rapport stuck with me is because a lot of my time in the military was spent in foreign countries, working with foreign cultures, foreign to me anyway. So, you know, a lot of that was learning how to build rapport with people you have just met, and then, you know, ultimately trying to get them to do an exercise with us or train with us, or, you know, something like that. So that’s why I think why rapport building kind of when you, we started talking about it, that’s what stuck with me.
Ari: Based on taking a plug and play from real life, you know, in your past and plugin right here, because I know you share with me, not consider yourself a sales expert. But again, right sales is not about anything outside of real life, and just talking with people and relating to them. And taking that real-life experience and plugging it in. That’s fantastic.
Jonathan: Yeah, that’s, I mean, I think that’s the right, I would not say I’m a salesman, in the end, you know, I’m not a sales expert. Absolutely. And I’m not a very a great salesman, I just try to, like you’re saying is try to talk to people.
Ari: And I know, it’s not our topic, but I would have to gather that your background, 23 years in the military, that discipline, and that regimen is also helped you in terms of processes and creating processes that repeat in order to be successful.
Jonathan: Right. And that’s what franchising is all about, you know, it’s just, it’s a process over and over. And I think, you know, when we talk about a business, this is specifically sales-related, I’m more of a probably more of an ops person just in that’s, that’s what I’ve been doing for 20 years, and just creating those processes is, is more in my wheelhouse than sales. That’s something I’ve really had to grow into in the last year.
Ari: Even more the reason than, you know, from someone that is self-proclaimed as not having been an expert coming in, but is obviously able to grow in the business in a short period of time, you’re doing something right. And that’s fantastic. You know, the people that self-proclaimed gurus don’t always know the best than the people with boots on the ground, so to speak, that are doing it, you were sharing those kinds of concepts, which the whole concept, this podcast, that’s what it’s about to me, and I’m super excited to hear the kind of things you’re doing and, and some of the ideas when it comes to rapport building. But you know, obviously, you, you touched on the idea of you know, you’ll just be able to communicate with people and get them to do what you want. Outside of that, why do you feel rapport building is such an essential piece of the puzzle and that process of, you know, wining and dining, so to speak, a potential client?
Jonathan: Right. I think, you know, when you think when I think about interacting with people, there are transactional conversations, and that’s, that’s more of like the military, right? That’s what we did. You know, you don’t have to build rapport in the military, to get people to do things most of the time, right? It’s transactional, right? That’s a lot of it. And I think that there’s that aspect, and then there is just the authentic, getting to know someone and understand what their problem is. And that’s really, that’s why I said, I don’t know much about sales, I just tried to figure out what the problem is, and how we can help them. And if you can be nice along the way, that’s even better.
Ari: So do you believe that you could successfully, you know, culminate, or close a deal without, you know, building rapport? Or do you feel that’s an essential critical piece of that process?
Jonathan: I think it’s pretty essential. I think you can do it without rapport, but it’s more of a transactional need. I think the criteria has to be right on their end for me to close it without rapport. They want what I have, and I just need to get it to them.
Ari: That’s not the majority of customers you come across, when it comes to, you know, junk hauling and removal.
Jonathan: Yeah. Those are the ones that are so nice, because that’s easy, right? It’s the other ones where you, you know, have to build rapport.
Ari: Absolutely, yeah, like, there’s an old saying, and sales that has been around since well, before my time, it’ll be a long after, that people buy you, you know, they’re not buying the product.
And, you know, rapport, I mean, that’s the definition of you, they got the connection with you. But as far as I know, that there are different people at different parts of the sales process, you know, some people like to right off the jump get into, you know, rapport building other people it’s a gradual or more subtle thing that happens over the sales process. How do you approach it? Is that the first and foremost for you or for your teams to get out there and let me break the ice, build a rapport and have a human connection? Or is that something that gets established throughout the conversations?
Jonathan: I think it is, because our, our sales process is so is kind of contracting it’s really small, it’s not usually long term, over a series of calls.
Ari: Your service business. I mean, calling is “I need you to come help me.” “I want to remodel my kitchen”, which has a lengthy process.
Jonathan: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. So I think we, you know, we get out there initially, it’s friendly, right off the bat, it’s building a rapport, find out how we can help. Because I think what we’ve seen is if it’s transactional, and direct, yeah, you can get the job done. And that’s it. But in this day and age, if you build a rapport from the beginning, especially for us, you’re going to see them as you’re doing the service for them. And then you want that review because the review is a huge piece of our business, you know, understanding that’s, you know, nowadays, that’s how you get a lot of new business or repeat. And to get that review, you’ve got to have the connecting files from the first call to the review that are you’ve got that get you that rapport.
Ari: So it’s not just the sale itself, but reach rewards that relationship that gets built.
Jonathan: Right. Right. I mean, that’s, you know, and that’s kind of what we’ve, we’ve found here is, if we set the tone, on the sales side, set the tone of great rapport upfront. And then we’ve also trained our, you know, the junk, the luggers, the guy who actually goes into the house and gets stuff, and he’s got that same ability to build rapport. It’s kind of like they’re talking to the same person, right? So I think that’s probably part of the challenge, too, is getting that all kinds of people to have before across the board.
Ari: Absolutely. So many different personalities and be a chameleon and being able to adapt and build rapport with each type is a skill in itself. Do you guys have like specific go-to questions that are just you know, the golden questions that you like to build rapport with? Or is it more just to feel it out and just be yourself kind of thing?
Jonathan: Yeah, it’s honestly, it’s more of a be yourself. I am quite, you know, as well as I do, there are people who are sales salesmen who are not authentic and they’ve got these questions that they know they’re supposed to hit when they talk to you. And you can, you know, I feel it feels very artificial to me, and you can feel it right away. So, yeah, it’s just authenticity. For us.
Ari: It’s almost that’s like a part of the definition of rapport is the authenticity, human nature. And as far as what I’m here for you, then that is the key component of being able to build rapport, not about specific questions. It’s about being real,
Jonathan: Right. Yeah, exactly. Absolutely. You know, I have the salespeople that we have here. They have really good personalities. So it’s just an and they have a varied background. So they’ve got the ability to talk to, you know, people and that’s really, that’s been really beneficial.
Ari: Do you try to keep it you’re on target and with business-related rapport building, or do you do it on a personal level? Then there are two different schools of thought on that, right? If so, how far out do you go?
Jonathan: That’s a good question. Personally, that’s something I feel out with each call, it starts kind of on the business realm. And then if there’s a connection that I can make, personally, I usually will, depends on how, how it’s going. Right. But yeah, usually it starts on the business side. And we go, oh, we hit a lot on that.
Ari: Absolutely. Like I’ve been doing sales a long time. And, you know, people I speak to said, there are two different schools, at least come across. And a lot of people tried to do the name dropping, or, you know, the geography game, or different things like building rapport. I mean, I’ve always felt that rapport is built just through who you are, how you conduct yourself in business, how you treat others, listening skills, all the other factors. It sounds like, that’s more of what you’re sharing versus, hey, you know what, let me just go for the low-hanging fruit with the easy.
Jonathan: Yeah, right, right. And Charles, one of our salesmen here, he always says people want to be heard. And that’s, that’s so true. And a lot of people, especially in this industry, where they’ve got stuff that either means a lot to them. That’s, you know, that’s one group of people, it means a lot to them, but they have to get rid of it because they’re downsizing. And they want you to understand how important that, you know, massive hutch or the table or whatever that they’ve had for 50 years, they want you to understand how important that is. So just listening and understanding that is, one aspect of rapport building, in my opinion, or there are people who, like, this is the most annoying thing they’ve ever had in their life, and they just have to get it out their house. They want to tell you how horrible it is and how it’s been bothering them for 10 years, and they haven’t been able to move it. So you know, just listening, I think is a big is a big part of the problem, and not forcing the conversation to the sale. Right. Not pushing too close each time.
Ari: You absolutely got to be smooth about it. That is an art form for sure. So let me ask you mentioned something a little bit back, you mentioned that does lead to reviews. Yeah, that relationship with someone that report built, that they do go and give reviews, which also helps bring other clients in. Maybe think I mean, do you feel that you get a higher, I’ll call referral rate, you know, per customer service to refer other people to you. Because of that rapport, and you built that human connection?
Obviously, someone going to write a review is fantastic. But literally saying, hey, here’s my friend, give them a call, they could use your help. Right? It’s a whole different level. Let me ask you a better question. How often do you have to ask for referrals? Are people calling you up to refer people or people saying I was referred over? And that’s, that’s why I asked because I don’t know if the rapport building leads to that then do actions in order to bring them in? Or is that just helping that funnel to continue to grow as well?
Jonathan: Yeah, I think it’s, we do get a lot of hey, we, you know, so and so use you and we refer to us. But I think, the 2020 or 2022, the web age portion of that is, I’m just going to go online and look, and I need to verify that there are all these reviews that are positive.
Ari: Reviews are really the biggest factor, what you found at least rapport building has led to that personal touch and wanting to go do something good for you then as a result of it.
Yeah, to take it a step further, though, I think if you don’t build good rapport on-site with the client, you don’t get the comments in the review.
If you just go in and do the job, and you’re kind of a robot about it, and do a good job you’ll get through, you’ll get this five stars. But if you don’t have that, you haven’t built that rapport, the person is certainly not going to take the time to write down.
Ari: It’s a very interesting insight. I love it. Yeah. Those reviews literally speak to people versus Hey, you know, could be anyone clicking five stars. It’s time and energy. So that’s, that’s fantastic.
Jonathan: Yeah. So I think that kind of, for us, that’s the, you know, the whole sales loop is, you know, making sure that report is good all the way through. So that because we’ve had people comment on, you know, they put a review in and they’ll say, when I talked to John, which we know was the first person they talked to, you know, blah, blah, blah. And then we have a lot of people say, when, you know, Rob and Mike came to our house, it was great.
Ari: Naming my name.
Jonathan: Yeah, yeah. And that’s the that’s for us. That’s key, in my opinion.
Ari: I can’t say disagree in any way. We have our reviews as well when our account managers build relationships. You know, it’s more than just simple rapport, there’s a relationship but they all are mentioned by name because there is that connection with people. So if you’re able to do that with someone from literally be able to go to their house, haul some junk for them as a one-time service, perhaps coming back in the future and have that kind of relationship. You’re doing something fantastic. That I gotta tell you, that’s should be the feather in the cap there like you shared. All those written reviews with words are telling you that they are right.
Jonathan: Yeah. And that’s the goal, right? Yeah.
Ari: Yeah, that’s fantastic. Now, the last thing I just would ask you, just because it’s something that does come up sometimes. I mean, I’ve experienced it myself. But I was curious to hear like, Have you ever interacted or on your teams and shared some fun stories interacted with a prospect that didn’t like the rapport building, like met with the brick wall? Or whatever else you want to use? And if so, like, what do you do about it? I mean, I’ve been in those situations, and it’s like, deer in headlights sometimes. So curious how y’all handle it?
Jonathan: Yeah, I think when we’re on the phone, I think it’s much different than when we’re in person. I guess I can put it that way. On the phone. It’s a lot more. it’s much easier, you know, you’re not seeing the person face to face. And it’s much easier, I think, for them to kind of brick wall you.
In-person, Yeah, we’ve had a few that still are very nonreceptive. I guess. If that’s the way to put it. At that point in time, we judge whether or not it’s just their personality, they’re not gonna…
Ari: It’s not a personal thing. It’s just great.
Yeah. And then and then it’s just kind of, you know, from my opinion, it’s if we’re in their house, and we’re getting, you know, they don’t want that interaction, it’s fine. We will provide information, right, of what we’re doing. You know, how it’s going. Are there any issues? But that’s what probably they want to know, at that point in time. Yeah, we’ve, I mean, we’ve had a few that we, upfront, they were very kind of cold with us. And, like, I would talk to other guys to talk to them. And, you know, we just tried to make inroads here and there, and eventually, you know, they all of a sudden surprise you with a conversation, and then they’re in.
Ari: So the message is don’t give up. Don’t pull the Yeah, keep on plugging away.
Jonathan: Yeah, you got to keep at it in an authentic way, I think is really the best not, you know, not pushing yourself on them, but just being you.
Ari: At the end of the day. They are human. There is a way through, but maybe you haven’t found it yet. So first, succeed, try try again, reveal the antidote. That’s fantastic. That was a bit of a different one. We don’t meet that too often. I know, in my own experience, I’m sure you guys don’t meet it too often, as well. But there are those people that are just business only. I don’t want to make friends here. And that’s what it’s about. And you know, it’s a challenge. I know, I’ve been in home sales. And I can only imagine, for you guys, it’s the same thing. It’s, yeah, quite challenging when you’re used to building rapport, that being a part of your sales process, you don’t have to rely on now they’re just buying service and price. And that’s it. Yeah. It’s challenging, that’s for sure.
Jonathan: Exactly. I think I think a lot of it, I don’t take it personally. And I’m pretty patient with it. I think it with my, in the military, you know, I spent a lot of time in the Middle East. So there’s that whole, like, you sit down and you build rapport first before any business is done. Right.
Ari: It’s a relationship kind of world over there in the Middle East. That very mentality. So you also that you take that translating it here into, I know, you can’t say I’m not a sales expert, but you’re doing the kind of things that sales experts do. So that’s a you know, again, you turn feather in your cap, you got a couple you can put up there as well, Jonathan, so I feel good about it’s okay. But you’re doing some good stuff. And I’m really appreciative that you came on and were able to share some of these things. At the end of the day, you know, the more people we can help to be better at what they do and improve their businesses. That’s what this is all about.
So I really appreciate you taking the time to, you know, get on here and join us and share some of these experiences. And as a non expert, or an expert, as I’ll call yourself, success will tell me whether you’re an expert or not. But nonetheless, I really do appreciate it. I want to thank everyone else here for listening to The X Factor: A Home Pro Sales podcast. I do hope it brings you value and helps you take your sales game to the next level.
Now be sure to subscribe so you can catch that next episode. And before we wrap up, just your action items as a listener are whenever you’re listening to us right now. Hit that subscribe button to catch the next episode. You can follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn at conXpros. If you didn’t catch that, check out our description for all of our social media links. If you have questions, shoot us an email could easily reach us at email@example.com. Thank you for tuning in. This is the X Factor.