Want to Close More Sales? Use the ‘Yes Set’ Technique

It’s a long, expensive process to get your leads through the sales funnel.

You’ve introduced yourself and offered something of value in exchange for an email opt-in.

Then you followed up with an email or two, building rapport with some free info.

The last thing you want is for your hard work to go waste by not having a solid closing strategy. Allow me to introduce one of the oldest and best sales techniques out there.

What is the Yes Set Technique

The basic structure is: ask several questions that are easy to answer and the answer yes. Then, at the end, tag on the question you want them to say yes to.

It might look something like this:

I noticed you looking at our selection of loafers, do you like wearing loafers?

Were you able to find what you were looking for?

Does the pair you’re trying on now feel comfortable?

Are you ready to buy them?

This pattern works best when there are at least 3 questions. If you can work in more questions – even better – but keep the conversation natural.

Like many strategies of persuasion, if you alert your prospect that you’re manipulating them, it won’t work. This is because the most persuasive techniques involve bypassing the critical faculties.

How it Works

The Yes Set technique works by building a pattern of ‘yes’ answers that gets the other person into a habitual response.

Once the pattern is established, and they’re automatically answering ‘yes’, you slip the question that you really want a ‘yes’ to.

You’re building ‘yes’ inertia so that they say ‘yes’ to your real question without thinking about it. Psychology says that people do things and justify their actions afterward. In other words, once they say yes – they will justify that decision, rather than change their mind.

Real World Example

Would you like to become a better writer?
Would you like to create content that people will remember, tweet, and plus?
How about content that inspires your audience to click, subscribe or buy? That’s the Holy Grail, right?
…Are you ready?

This bit from Copyblogger is a great example of the Yes Set.

Would I like to become a better writer? Sure, why would I be reading an article titled “58 Ways to Create Persuasive Content Your Audience Will Love” if I didn’t want to be a better writer.

This is an obvious question, but it’s relevant so it works. You shouldn’t ask unrelated questions (though they can work to some degree) like “Do you breathe air?”.

The other questions are similarly easy to agree to, building that yes momentum. This was the first paragraph in their listicle and it builds anticipation around the benefits of reading more.

Traditional Use of the Yes Set Technique

Traditionally the Yes Set has graced sales-heavy environments.

Have you walked into an electronics store or onto a car dealership parking lot?

A sales representative will approach you and ask a question like “Do you know what you’re looking for?” or “Can I help you find something?”.

If you engage with them, they’ll likely use the yes-set technique. They’ll follow up with:
“Yes, we have those over here. Do you know which model/color you’re looking for?”
“Do you like how that one looks/feels/drives?”
“Are you ready to check out?”

This is how the Yes Set has traditionally been used. This direct approach is still feasible in many environments, but today’s consumers are more privy to those marketing tactics so it may not work as well for you.

Modern Variation of the Yes Set Technique

While the traditional version still is a must-learn sales tool, there are more passive ways to use the Yes Set.

This variation on the Yes Set technique is to get agreement without explicitly asking a ‘yes’ question. Rather than asking any question, you can get agreeance by stating something your audience would agree with.

Consider the following statement:

Writing your first blog post can be a daunting task, fraught with self-doubt and overwhelm. 

The internal reaction to this is still a ‘Yes!’ if your audience has relevant experience and interest in the topic.

So you can still build a Yes Set without questions, so long as your statements induce an internal ‘yes’.

When You Should Use the Yes Set

This technique is profoundly effective when applied properly. It will always work, and it’s a versatile tool to get prospects to take action.

Before using it though, you should know your goal and environment. If your environment is your website, and your goal is to get signups, you want to start with a strong introduction, build a Yes Set throughout your copywriting, and have your final ‘yes’ question be a Call-to-Action. (i.e. Sign up now for a free xx)

If you’re working face-to-face sales at a physical location, and your goal is to close sales, use the Yes Set technique to close on the spot or use the Yes Set variation to make statements that are guaranteed to be agreeable.

The Yes Set is a sales technique because ultimately you’re asking a question that requires them to take action. Use this technique when you need an elegant, unobtrusive way to get prospects to take action.


Closing sales can certainly seem like rocket science, but it’s really simple to use the Yes Set technique.

Assuming you’re building rapport like a pro, simply elicit a ‘yes’ reaction to get ‘yes momentum’, and make a ‘yes Call-to-Action’.

Do you have experience with the Yes Set Technique?

10 Ways to Build Rapport in Sales

Lightbulb that hints at creative ways to build rapport in sales

In our previous post we took a look at what rapport is and the usefulness of rapport building in sales. Now we’re going to look at actual methods to build rapport in sales. When you’ve established rapport with your audience, they are eager to engage with you and they’ll want you to succeed. They’ll be more forgiving when you stumble in your presentation and will accept your suggestions without much defense.

If you’re new to deliberate rapport building, there’s a chance you’ll find yourself forcing it and that’s okay for now. Give yourself some room to grow and find your personal style of rapport building. You should foremost be sincere with your prospects and customers – it does nobody any good if you’re obviously trying to earn brownie points. To create rapport with someone you need to do it so that it’s unconsciously received by them, or else it will be received as insincere.

I will aim to create a list that serves people in all types of sales environments. Whether that’s on the phone, in person or online. Here’s 10 ways to start building rapport in sales today:

#1 Introduce Yourself with a Friendly Gesture

Sounds simple enough, but it’s quite possibly the most important move on this list as first impressions are sacred. You only get one shot at this so smile and shake hands. Ask them about themselves, and genuinely take interest in what they have to say.

Online, you may not be able to shake hands but in your bio picture you can smile. You might not be able to ask them about themselves right at the top of your writing, but if it’s a blog post you can ask for their opinions in the comments. You can introduce yourself with a nice gesture in your email campaign by starting your email with a ‘Hi friends, I hope your weekend was great’. Landing pages are often your first impression in the digital realm, so make sure they’re landing somewhere nice.

#2 Be Completely Authentic

Okay, maybe this is the most important move because you can ruin a great first impression if you are caught being insincere. You needn’t create a sales persona to build rapport, and unless you’re the worlds’ greatest actor it’s likely noticeable when you’re not just being yourself.

Relax and get comfortable being yourself, while selling. This is key and a major strength for you in sales because your clients will recognize your congruence and they’ll be drawn to it.

#3 Be Confident and Speak Simply

Can you remember a time when someone wanted to be liked and ‘tried hard’ only to appear needy and desperate? Don’t be that person! Remember the goal is to build rapport, not be a cheerleader or force a friendship, those tactics will only turn people off. Be confident and know why you’re there.

Likewise don’t insert big words where simpler words can be better understood. This again comes across as overcompensating for the lack of something, and neediness (in this case to prove your intelligence). Perhaps you’ve heard of this Princeton research paper that suggests needlessly using large words actually makes you appear less intelligent.

It’s ironically titled ‘Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly’.

#4 Be Direct & Get to the Point

There’s no need for a long speech in sales 99% of the time. If you’re selling something, do it proudly – don’t build up to it, start with it. Rather than saying

In today’s fast paced world it’s hard to find time to do the things you want..


Our electric razor will free up 14 hours a month for the average shaver. 

In the first example you are opening with a broad, generic bit that is virtually meaningless. Respect your prospects time and demonstrate that by getting to the point. They’ll pay attention and rapport will have been earned.

In person, you can make eye contact and avoid being fidgety. Let your clients know they’ve got your undivided attention and they will in turn give you theirs.

jay corbett of the noble marketing agency
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#5 Avoid Potentially Offensive Language

That dirty joke your buddy told you will surely win over your prospects, no? Yeah, no don’t do it. Stereotypes, politics and other polarizing topics should be avoided. Self-deprecating humor is a great way to go if you want to build rapport with a joke but don’t force it.

#6 Be Flexible & Responsive

Sometimes the people who you’re dealing with aren’t the people you imagined them to be. You show up in a suit and tie and they’re wearing daisy dukes and a wife beater, what do you do now? Loosen that tie and take your jacket off!

In fact, more often than not you won’t know exactly who you’re dealing with until you’re in the room or on the phone with them. Use your senses and adjust your approach to each individual you deal with.

The equivalent of this online would be A/B testing your landing pages. Likewise it’s not uncommon to use a website to generate leads that are then taken to phone, email or in person.

#7 Ask Your Prospect Questions

Asking questions that show interest is a great way to build rapport. Listen to what they say closely and respond appropriately. Opportunities will come up where you can inquire about them, no need to randomly ask if they like jazz music. Often clients will want to get right to business at first but loosen up after some technical stuff has been covered – that’s the perfect time to ask about them.

#8 Listen More Than You Talk

Now, don’t let the conversation wander – be directive, but don’t just pitch all day. The goal here is to engage your prospects, not annoy them. Have you ever been talking to a friend and get the feeling they’re just wasting for you to stop talking so they can say something? How could they be interested in what I’m saying if they’re just waiting for me to stop talking?

Listen actively, recognize their issues as real problems and show empathy, and again ask inquisitive questions that communicate your interest in their unique situation. When you do talk, remember you’re talking to a person just like you on the other side of that communication. So don’t give them a scripted response, give them your message as if you were talking to your best friend who has the same problem they have.

#9 Find Common Experiences to Make Your Point

Remember that story about your friend who’s waiting for you to stop talking so they can start talking? This is a pretty common experience and it helped me demonstrate the cons of robotic, scripted selling. It helped because it relates an abstract concept to a common experience you likely have a memory or collage of memories about.

When you can tap into someone’s memories and real experiences and reasonably bring that into your presentation, you can build massive rapport. It’s personal, it’s human, it’s relatable, and it’s undeniable because it’s their memory. Make sure the common experience actually relates to the situation at hand or you could lose credibility here.

#10 Embrace Objections

Your prospects will have objections and concerns, and you’ve got two options: Balk at their objections and be quick to correct them or show you think their concerns are reasonable and be ready to respond concisely with the proper information.

Remember that rapport is largely about subconsciously communicating that you understand your client’s viewpoints. If you balk at their objections or take a matter-of-fact approach, you’re emphasizing your differences rather than your likeness.

It’s important to be able to demonstrate your knowledge of industry and your product, certainly. But you’ve got an opportunity to connect with your prospects in a much more meaningful way by using these 10 techniques to build rapport in sales.


I hope you’ve learned some strategies to build rapport in sales, and that you’ll put these strategies to good use.

When you build rapport with someone, you’re not doing anything dubious or insincere – you’re facilitating quality communication. You can use these methods to make all of your communications better.

In fact, I’d encourage you to use these same techniques when communicating with people you know. A little active listening and relating goes a long way. Remember, rapport building is all about demonstrating that you understand the other person. Who doesn’t want to be understood?

Do you have any great rapport building strategies to share? Let me know in the comments!

What Rapport is and Why it is Crucial in Sales

friends with rapport

What is rapport? Rapport can be understood as the trust that you have with someone in the moment. Key part being in the moment. Rapport isn’t the trust you’ve built with someone over the years, it’s based on what’s going on in the room right now. If you have rapport with someone, you have their trust in that moment.

Rapport and trust itself are very different things. Trust is something built over time through reputation of reliability and consistency, which is a more logical function. Whereas rapport is the sense of connection felt in the moment which is an emotional function.

Rapport can be understood in more detail, but for our purposes here (discussing sales) we’ll accept the following definition:

Rapport is the trust you have with someone in the current moment, built through demonstrating your understanding of their viewpoints

When You Have Rapport, Communication is Easy

Have you ever met someone and within the hour laughed with them as if you’ve known them for years? The feeling of hitting it off with someone can be understood as rapport with that person.

When you’ve got rapport with someone they feel free to engage with you in an less-restricted manner than without rapport. What happens is, when you build this in-the-moment trust, their defenses go down and they are more open to your suggestions.

When you were in school you likely witnessed some teachers who aim to engage their students by relating to them. Whether by appealing to their (hip, young) culture or making things fun, this can also be understood as rapport building. This is an effective means of getting through to children particularly because what you’re doing is subconsciously communicating the message I’m one of you. (vs I’m your boss so do what I say)

The same effect applies to adults as well;  just as the students don’t want to be told what to do but are willing to engage with the teacher who is one of them, people don’t want to be sold to but are willing to engage with someone who can hold a friendly conversation about their product.

Rapport building isn’t about getting people to like you though, it’s about trust and seeing eye-to-eye. People liking you as a result of rapport building is just a nice bonus.

Just as the teacher had to speak their language, you must read the room and speak your clients’ language to build rapport. In person you can even build rapport simply by mirroring someone’s body language, again communicating subconsciously your likeness whether or not you’re similar at all.

When You Don’t Have it, Communication is Non-existent

Have you ever talked to a dear friend about something meaningful to you and ended up frustrated or even heated that they just don’t get it?

It’s not that you suddenly hate your dear friend but that one or both of you are failing to demonstrate your understanding of the others’ viewpoints. In fact it’s not just about understanding the other person but also demonstrating that which facilitates rapport building.

To build rapport you needn’t agree with their viewpoint but you have to at least understand where they’re coming from and demonstrate that.

Rapport’s Role in Business

If you could make someone feel at ease and you’re going to talk to them anyone, why wouldn’t you do that? Developing your rapport-building skills will have positive, pervasive effects in your life outside of business as well.

Whether it’s avoiding conflicts by showing you understand the other party, being more influential by creating a feeling of likeness with your audience, or being a killer salesperson – rapport building will create new opportunities in interpersonal exchanges.

How does this apply to business? Let’s go over a few scenarios where business professionals can utilize their command of rapport:

#1 Building Rapport over the Phone

When selling over the phone it’s massively beneficial to intentionally build rapport. You can create very strong feelings of likeness by using tonality, matching your clients’ cadence and favored language, and more to increase your closing rate.

#2 Building Rapport in Person

In person you have almost limitless opportunity to build rapport from the moment you can see your prospect. Most people aren’t familiar with the concept of rapport so some simple mirroring will go a long way.

By mirroring I mean matching their body language, posture, tonality, facial expression, gestures and other things you could copy. The trick is to do these things without appearing to be mimicking them as that can cause them to feel like you’re mocking them.

People do this naturally, by the way. If you go to your local coffee shop, you can observe that friends naturally and spontaneously match each others’ body language and more. This is a result of rapport as well as a strategy for building rapport.

#3 Building Rapport on Your Website

How do you match someone’s body language on your website? Well you can’t do that of course, so how do you build rapport on your website?

There are less ways to build rapport when you can’t match your prospects directly, but there’s still plenty of chances. Have you ever been reading an article and found yourself particularly comfortable with the tone of the writing?

The key here is to know your audience well and, when possible, demonstrate that you understand them on your site. You can do this with your design, tone of writing, marketing tactics & knowledge of your industry/niche.

#4 Rapport is for More Than Just Sales

This won’t just help sales but also referrals, customer loyalty, and general satisfaction levels. People enjoy being heard and you can make someone’s day better just by listening and trying to understand their viewpoint. Win win!

jay corbett of the noble marketing agency
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Overview of Building Rapport

Are you getting a sense of how this applies to sales? When your prospects feel comfortable and not defensive they’ll be more inclined to accept your suggestions and hear you out.

We’ve talked about what rapport is and how you can build rapport through mirroring, sincerely taking an interest in their views, and demonstrating your understanding of those views. For more information on building rapport, see our post on 10 Ways to Build Rapport in Sales.


Overcoming Objections in Sales

salesperson thinking of objections in sales

There are always objections in sales.

You’re going to get rejected sometimes. Some people aren’t ready to buy and may never be. But everyone else is looking at you, as a company representative, to help them make the right decision.

Whether they don’t see the value in your product or don’t have the time to learn about your product, it’s your job as a sales professional to help prospects make the decision to buy. If you do a poor job, you’ll help them make the decision not to buy.

Addressing Concerns & Objections in Sales

More often than not, a large portion of those who aren’t immediately ready to buy are actually looking to you for help in their decision making. They have concerns that need to be addressed before they can move forward on the sale. This typically manifests as objections;

objection definition card

For our purposes here, we’ll accept the definition that says ‘challenging’. Your prospects work hard for their money and they’re not apt to spend it without doing their research. So you can expect your prospects to challenge you and know it’s your job to overcome these objections.

We will assume you’re selling the best product on the market so you should feel free to be as persuasive as possible. If you’re selling a great product that enriches people’s lives, you can take pride in getting that product in the right hands.

Examples of Common Objections in Sales

  • “I don’t have the budget for this right now”
  • “I need to talk to my wife/boss/manager/etc”
  • “I’m content with my current product/service”
  • “I just don’t have the time right now”
  • “There are cheaper alternatives”

Warning: Sales is not for the weak of will

If your reaction to these phrases is ‘okay, have a good day’ then you simply haven’t been trained in sales. These objections always popup in one way or another so be ready for them. When they happen, you’re that much closer to the sale.

Breaking it Down: Objection Reframing

I won’t post two definition images but to reframe is to put a new frame around it. To provide a different way of understanding this objection you’ve been presented with.

#1 “I don’t have the money” ..

This is a common objection in any industry so try not to let your mind elicit images of poor hungry children waiting on your client to buy them food. If they can’t afford your product, they won’t buy it. Your prospects aren’t fools. You probably couldn’t get them to neglect themselves for your product if you wanted to.

While the easy way out, don’t offer a discount which can delegitimize your brand image and create more trust issues with your client. Instead, be ready to demonstrate your product/service’s value. Know your product well, and know the competitions – so you can show them why your product has unique value. That will give them reasons to pay whatever your price is.

#2 “I’m happy with my current product/service”

This one you can sum up as complacency and fear of change. It’s understood in psychology that there’s a familiarity bias, that is that people like the things that they’ve been exposed to for longer. The evolutionary purpose of this hard-wiring can be easily understood as ‘we know familiar things aren’t likely to suddenly kill us if they haven’t before’ vs. the risks associated with the unknown.

In computer science, this familiarity bias can be understood as a heuristic.  A way of processing things quickly that takes shortcuts at the cost of accuracy. When presented with complex questions, our minds will spontaneously answer a simpler question.

In this case, the complex question is: “should I buy this potentially better product?”

Yet the question being answered is “Do I need this new product?”

Yes, some products aren’t addressing needs and you probably already know if your product is a need or want. Yet if this person is engaging with you, they are giving you permission to provide them with the information needed to make a decision.

Complacency largely comes from being out of touch with the current market and being ill-informed of the best product in today’s world. That being said, take extra care to describe in detail what problems they might have without your product and the opportunities your product offers them.

jay corbett of the noble marketing agency
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Overview of Objections in Sales

We’ve just explored what exactly objections in sales is and how they fit into the business context. Even if you only tell prospects the benefits of your products, and do no other selling, you’ll close a higher number than without considering objections at all.

There’s more to it than just talking your product down your clients’ throats though. When they present an objection, don’t shy away from it but rather ask questions and probe into the deeper root of the issue. Acknowledge their concerns as legitimate by being genuinely interested in how they came to be before your try to inoculate them.

There’s much more to selling. Authority, credibility, and rapport-building are all needed to be a great salesperson. You can establish those things in your etiquette, tonality, approach, knowledge of your industry & more.

Purchasing great products can be a liberating experience and if you’re selling quality stuff it’s your responsibility as a sales professional to help your customers make informed decisions.

Being a salesman means getting the sale when you can but remember – an excellent brand will send a client to a different company if they believe the other company has a better product. This even serves to add more value to your brand than selling them an inferior product.