Mirror, Mirror

Today we’re going to talk about the human brain. Our brains are hard-wired to behave certain ways and to recognize and seek out certain patterns, even if we’re not conscious of it. For example, we’re automatically attracted to people who have symmetrical faces, no matter where we’re from or how we were raised. We see pictures in clouds because our brains try and force a pattern onto things that don’t have any.

One of the things that our brains are hard-wired to do is to respond favorably to someone whose accent, pace, and gestures mirror our own. A recent study found that salespeople who observed and mirrored how quickly or slowly their Customers spoke, their accents, and their hand gestures were 5 times as likely to close the sale as salespeople who did not. This is because our brains are hard-wired to trust someone who talks and acts like we do – no matter what their age, sex, or ethnic background is.

Try this when you speak with Customers – and remember that your company's employees are internal Customers. If the person that you’re talking to speaks a little slower than you do, slow down. If they cross their arms when they speak, do the same thing. Have you ever noticed that Hillary Clinton’s accent changes depending upon where she’s speaking? She does that on purpose – and many other politicians and other public figures do, too.

When Customers are tense, such as when something costs more than they were expecting or we have to deliver unhappy news, mirroring helps to ease the tension. It tells the Customer, “We’re just like you. We’re on your side. We’re going to help.”

Sales and Customer service are all about communication – learning to speak all of our Customers’ languages. The better we learn to mirror their pace, accents, and gestures, the more successful we’ll be.

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