Salesmanship
The Art of Mirroring Your Customer

by Jill Hamilton

   Have you ever heard that the major cause for objection is the wrong approach? Then did you sit and study yourself to determine what you did wrong? Did you try something different only to end up losing another deal? Have you gone over your presentation backwards and forwards and know all of the potential objections that can occur and how you should overcome them and nothing seems to be working? Sounds to me like you have the basics down. Now let's deal with the nitty gritty.
   The difference between an average salesperson and one who exceeds all the rest is technique. Certain sales techniques, often taught in sales seminars, only go back to the workplace and are not applied. Learning how to mirror your customer, however, will help you understand what it takes to be a real salesperson. It is more than just understanding your product or the features and benefits of your product or service and how to present it. It's more than just getting to the right price so a customer can afford what it is you're selling. It's more than just knowing when to stop selling, be quiet and ask for a deal. A skillful salesperson will understand his customer through mirroring. How is that done? What do you see when you look in the mirror? Now, put your customer in front of the mirror and also in front of you. Now what do you see? This is whom you really need to see.
   Mirroring your customer is nothing more than being like him. This doesn't mean you should call his office and ask him what color suit he will wear at your meeting so you can wear the same color! It means you are supposed to really be like him. You usually have about thirty seconds to make an impression when first meeting or speaking over the phone. In those thirty seconds you must determine who this person is and how you can act as if you are just like him.
   Understanding people and human nature takes time and practice. It is a known fact that people are more interested in themselves than they are in someone else. This means you have to show your prospect how your product or service is going to benefit him. So, as a salesperson, you must convince the prospect that you are putting his needs and/or business first. Let's look at the basics of mirroring First, we must understand the three basic personality types.

Personality #1 People Oriented People

   These folks love to use extreme words when talking. They normally are in a good mood, use lots of positive words and have a cheery disposition.

Personality #2 Detail Oriented People

   This is the customer who asks you so many questions that you feel if you hear one more and attempt to close one more time you are going to feel like a broken record. They want to know every little detail of your product or service and if you are up to answering all their questions and remember to re-close when the time is right, they'll buy.

Personality #3 Results Oriented People

   This is the customer whose mentality is obvious from the beginning. They want to know what using this product or service is going to do for them.

   By identifying your prospect's personality type, you can handle yourself accordingly. Be like your customer! Mirroring can mean speaking with the customer on the phone and using the same volume, i.e. if they are soft spoken, talk to them in a soft voice, or using the same rate of speaking. Just imagine a person from New York going into the Deep South to sell something. If Mr./Ms. New York doesn't slow their rate of speaking and find a way to be like his/her customer, the sale isn't going to happen. You don't know how many times I've heard from a prospective customer that they didn't want to buy from someone who wasn't local. But whatever you do, don't ever try to mirror an accent. You'll lose it half way through your presentation and lose all credibility.
   You can mirror their exact words; you can mirror their questions by asking the same thing only by rephrasing it just so the detail-oriented person knows you understand his question. By being like him, you are putting him above yourself and he will like you for it. People buy from people they like. And people like themselves. So be like them and you will have mastered an art that takes a lot of salespeople to the top. It takes practice but if you consciously put it into practice each day and attempt to include this skill in your every day selling, you will see your numbers begin to increase. But before you attempt this technique, make sure you have mastered the basics in selling your product or service first. Once you have your presentation down and objections handled, go for it.