Mirroring Your Customer’s Tempo to Build Rapport and Close More Sales!
Sheila is a high-energy salesperson. She is also intelligent and very persuasive in her presentations. Her talent is getting customers energized and motivated to do business with her. For some customers, though, Sheila’s high energy felt like pressure. These low-key customers wanted to take their time before making a decision. Sheila did not know how to respond to this type of customer, so she came to me for help.
We practiced mirroring, which is adjusting your presentation style and tempo to match that of the customer. When she encountered cautious prospects, Sheila learned to slow down the sales call, build more rapport, and actively listen. As a result, she was able to become a chameleon who could make any customer feel at ease. Her already good sales numbers shot up by 30% in the following eight months!
On the Flip Side
Mark is methodical and calm, some might call him boring. For years, he worked in the insurance industry and his calm demeanor was an asset. Mark patiently walked customers through his company’s offerings and explained difficult to understand insurance jargon. His thoughtfulness was reassuring to his insurance customers.
Unfortunately, Mark was laid off the week after he turned 50. He had to look for work in a new industry. Now Mark sells tech gear. His customers are mostly young and impatient. Their eyes glaze over as Mark explains the products his company offers.
Mark came to me for help. We practiced cutting his presentations down from 15 minutes to 5. I advised him to ask a few pertinent questions to create rapport with his customers. Mark also learned how to infuse some excitement and humor into his interactions. As a result, Mark’s previously mediocre sales increased by 45% over the next six months!
Whatever your personal presentation style, you need to be able to step back and mirror the pace and personality of your audience. On some days, that might mean you need to slow down and adopt a more serious persona. In front of other groups, you can loosen up and joke around. It is your job as the sales professional to adapt to whatever situation you encounter. Your sales depend on it!
One type of customer you don’t want to mirror for too long is the negative ones. They could pull you into their little vortex of negativity. You could write (and many have over the years) a whole article, presentation or training class on how to deal with or jettison this type. Thank you for your e-mails.
Great observation and you’re right. When I come across an individual who is negative and they get too long winded, I will offer a compliment by asking, “Given all the challenges you’re dealing with, how are you able to remain so positive?” 98% of the time, they will respond, “Well it’s not easy….but I sure try….” This question often works because it gets them off their negative soap box. It’s critically important for sales people to go beyond mirroring but to manage the sales conversation. And as you clearly pointed out, we can’t get pulled into their vortex of negativity. And when we do, it’s our job to get out of it and explore ways to solve the problem. For those customers that prefer to stay in the negative territory because they just rather wallow in their misery, well the best thing a sales person can do is move on to those people who want to solve their problems. Merrill, thanks for bringing this topic up.
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