Have you seen the Discover card TV spot “We Treat You Like You’d Treat You” that shows the caller talking with a mirror version of themselves on the other end of the line. That “awesome sauce” is hard to forget!
Or how about the one in the car showroom where the salesperson morphs to match the way the customer talks and dresses?
Both are clever takes on matching and mirroring, a sales technique to establish rapport. Building rapport is an ongoing process that is only beginning early in the sales effort to:
- Make the buyer comfortable
- Begin to find out why the buyer is there—gain a sense of the buyer’s need and how you can learn more about that
- Ensure that you will be able to continue the sales effort beyond its opening moments.
Many salespeople do this naturally and don’t even know they are doing it.
When you first meet someone, what is the first thing that you do with them, physically? You usually walk up to them and shake their hand. When we shake hands with someone, we have always been told to have a firm grip. Now pretend for a moment that the person you are meeting has a very soft handshake and you give them a firm grip. Do you think you make them feel comfortable and important or overpowered and intimidated? The answer: the latter. What is important in this first step is to let them squeeze your hand first and within a second, match that same squeeze back.
I use this technique all the time, especially when I speak before large audiences. I will greet people at the door as they come in. They don’t even know who I am most of the time and I am just standing there greeting them and shaking their hands. The funny thing is I am matching all of their handshakes and starting to build rapport with them. When I get introduced and appear on stage, they are saying to themselves, “Hey, I know him, he was the guy at the door; he is just like me.” Why? Because I made them feel comfortable with me by matching their handshake.
There are many other physical acts that can be mirrored and matched. You can walk at the same pace as the other person, stand like they do, sit, lean, point or match their hand and facial gestures. The most important part is that they see themselves in you, without you mimicking them. So be aware of the other person’s physiology, and over time, mirror and match.
Matching tone and pace
Tonality can be matched by speaking at the same rate and the same pitch. This technique is similar to the handshake. How do you think a soft slow-speaking person will feel with someone who is a loud fast talker? Do you think the buyer is feeling comfortable?
When doing telephone work, tonality is your greatest asset because it is the person at the other end that answers the phone and speaks first. You have to clue in and match their tone and pace. Mind you, although they can’t see your physiology, you should still be standing tall and speaking up. Too many salespeople lean on their arm on the desk, holding the phone and speaking down. They sound depressed. Try standing up and looking at yourself in a mirror on the ceiling and you will notice how much better your voice sounds. You will find that it is clearer, more confident and enthusiastic.
Choosing the right words
Although words play a small part in building rapport, they are still important to match and mirror. All you have to do is listen to the words the buyer is using and use them yourself. Listen for and use their buzz words and their terminology. For example, if they refer to a hotel as a resort, use the word resort. If they say “correct” or “right” a lot, use the word “correct” or “right” with them when you are speaking.
Get the buyer talking about themselves and keep them talking, while you mirror and match their physiology, tonality and words. Listen to them, question their answers, show interest and concern and keep them talking. The more they talk, the more you listen, the more you learn, the more they will like you, trust you and buy from you.