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The Power of Mirroring: Build Rapport and Close More Sales

Learn how mirroring can help you build rapport and close more sales. Discover the power of body language, tone of voice, and other mirroring techniques.

Every customer interaction in sales is crucial. The customer relationships you build throughout the sales process is what truly makes the difference when driving sales, so it is important that your buyers want to buy from you.

Whether you're selling a service or just introducing yourself, building rapport with your customer or client moves your relationship forward and establishes trust in both you and the company.

A sale is unlikely to be successful if the buyer and seller do not get along, so establishing a positive relationship early on is essential. Therefore, every slight interaction with a customer should be positive as it can determine how successful your sale is and how much they trust you.

However, building trust is no small feat and it can be difficult to know how to build these positive relationships, as all humans are so different.

Generally speaking, trust comes with time, but there are certain tips and tricks you can use to establish trust quickly and can be implemented from your first meeting. Building rapport is a fundamental rule in sales and can lead to more clients and customers through positive word-of-mouth. It is important to take the time to learn some inside tips and tricks that can help establish rapport early on.

You can encourage a prospective client or customer to trust you and have confidence in you through the subtle art of body language, language and tone. This is called the mirroring technique.

Matching a person's communication style quickly conveys the impression that you are trustworthy and a reliable person to work with, as well as boosting your likeability, making them more likely to want to work with you.

Sales mirroring is a useful method in creating solid customer relationships. It is based on one essential principle: that people like people who are similar to them.

If a customer, business partner or colleague has the feeling that you are not too different to them, then conversation may be stilted and rapport may be more difficult to build.

Creating the illusion that you are similar to someone can be done through a few simple techniques. These are:

  • Body language and active listening
  • Voice and communication style
  • Matching their energy
  • Shared experiences

Begin the conversation by clearly demonstrating that you are actively listening to what they are saying, ensuring that they know you are engaged and interested in them.

Immediately, this creates a strong foundation for your relationship as they know you are paying attention and interested in what they have to say. This also makes the sales process easier for you and allows you space to ask any questions that may crop up and avoid running into any trouble further down the line.

Throughout the conversation, you should also try and relate by talking about shared interests. Don't be afraid to take some time out of the professionalism of the conversation to speak about some more personal subjects that you both enjoy.

Typically, this small talk is best used at the beginning of the conversation to create a positive environment and naturally establish some common experiences or interests between you. This could be something as simple as the weather, a sports team you support or any current global events.

The science behind mirroring

Social science believes that sales mirroring is a good technique in building a relationship with the customer - an obvious must-have to any good customer relationship.

Put simply, the mirroring technique is essentially a shortcut to familiarity. Making yourself appear familiar and establishing a connection will humanize you and help the customer to get a trusting insight into you as a person rather than viewing you as just a salesperson.

How mirroring works

Mimicking customers' verbal and non-verbal cues helps to project commonality between you as the sales person and the prospective client.

Adapting to their unique communication style while talking with them helps them to feel at ease and lays the foundations of a potential friendship. It is worth reiterating—people want to work with people they like! This means they will also be more willing to compromise if there is already a foundation of trust and companionship.

The psychology behind mirroring

Mirroring can subconsciously show empathy towards another person through subtly matching small similarities in tone, body language and phrasing.

In being empathetic and responsive to the customer, the salesperson demonstrates a base consciousness that the customer can then connect with them on - expanding the relationship from buyer and seller to a more trusting, personal connection.

Additionally, mirroring can also help to keep you focused during client calls. By ensuring you are actively listening and engaging with the customer, you may naturally find that you digest the information they are giving you easier and are able to retain more.

Techniques for mirroring

To efficiently use the mirror technique in a way that is not obtrusive or obvious you must ensure subtlety first and foremost. Remain yourself but keep some of these key tips in mind to efficiently elicit a positive reaction from whoever you are speaking to.

Matching body language and posture

This non-verbal form of mirroring is effective in many situations. For instance, if the customer sits with their legs crossed, you should do the same, as this immediately establishes a positive, subconscious commonality between two persons.

It can also help to outwardly show customers that you are on the same page as them, whether this be via relaxed, focused or serious body language.

Mirroring energy and tone

Matching the energy of your client is very important - it is not always effective to be overly happy and bright and cheery. Feeling out the tone of the customer first helps you to show a level of understanding to the client.

If the topic is slightly more serious, match their tone to show them you have understood their concern or if their tone is more upbeat, you can keep the positivity flowing by using a similar tone.

While there is no need to copy their exact speech pattern, you can gauge an understanding of their mood and the general atmosphere and feel of the call by their speech pace and their vocal tone.

Contrasting energy can lead to tense environments so remain confident and self-assured, while showing an awareness of how they feel. Certain clients may be more keen to get down to business, while others may be more keen to sit down and have a chat before the business talk begins.

Either way, your energy should reflect this.

Using similar words and phrases

Using too much industry jargon can be both confusing, as well as intimidating and belittling to your prospective clients. Ease into it, using a good amount of industry knowledge to show you are reliable and have a lot of key knowledge without being overbearing.

Keep your language as colloquial as theirs is, ensuring that you echo some of their phrasing back to them so that they know you understood. Many salespeople are taught to be overly friendly, enthusiastic and talkative during their sales training.

To avoid coming across as insincere, match their communication style by picking up on how casual or formal their pattern of speech is, then adapt yours to match.

Mirroring gestures and expressions

Recognize common gestures that the person you are communicating with uses and try to subtly use them also.

For example, this form of mirroring can help you emphasize a point, if they use this same gesture when trying to get across a point that is important to them. Likewise, using your expressions as a sales technique can help to show the client or customer that you understand them on an emotional level as well as a business-professional level.

When and where to use mirroring

Effective in business environments as well as general life, the mirroring technique has a number of scenarios where it may be useful.

Broadly speaking, mirroring is great for any situation where you want to impress another person or get on their good side because it automatically establishes a level of familiarity between you, despite the fact that you are strangers.

Situations where mirroring can be effective

The mirroring technique is great in a sales pitch where you are trying to impress, but it can equally be effective in a quality assurance meeting, where the client or customer wants to feel understood.

When naturally integrated into the conversation, mirroring can boost your likeability and build a solid foundation for a good friendship, so it can also be useful in social situations or job interviews too.

Limitations of mirroring

However, this is not a rule of thumb that automatically makes someone like you. Sure, using the sales mirroring technique can help, but it does not guarantee that the other person will like you and rapport will be immediately established.

Above all, people want to be heard, so you should ensure that you are actively listening to the other person with only subtle implementations of mirroring.

Additionally, sales mirroring works best when used in a one-on-one setting. In a group of people, the customer's attention is split between several of your colleagues, limiting the amount you can connect with the client on a personal level.

Having their undivided attention makes the subtle art of mirroring more impactful.

Tips for successful sales mirroring

There are a few things to keep in mind in order to match someone's energy, tone and gestures successfully. Avoid anything too dramatized and avoid focusing too much on whether or not you are mirroring someone, as this may cause you to lose focus on what the potential clients or customers are talking about.

Being subtle and natural

Sales mirroring is only effective when used subtly - making it obvious that you are mimicking the habits of the other person can come across wrong and could lead to adverse effects. You don't need to change your whole personality in order to win a sale, but having an awareness of these techniques can be very useful.

Remember that when done in small doses and very subtly integrated throughout the conversation, the effect can be an overall boost to the customer's confidence in you.

Avoiding overdoing it

Being too animated and following someone's every slight movement can actually have the opposite effect and can put a person off of you. Mirror a few of habits you notice but ensure that you still come across relaxed and not too exuberant.

Stay genuine and authentic

Stay natural and instead, just mirror small things that you naturally notice about the other person. This could be the way that the customer sits or a common phrase they use and match their energy to make them feel heard. You do not need to totally replace your personality with theirs, you can stay your authentic self while taking notice of the small habits that they have.

Finish with a summary

Finishing your call, meeting or interaction with a quick summary of all the things you have spoken about provides both clarification for the client, as well as helping customers to feel understood and heard. This can also prevent any crossed wires further down the process and subliminally reassures the client that you know what you are doing.

Typical mistakes of mirroring

There are also some classic pitfalls when it comes to sales mirroring and building rapport. While it is important to come across well to the client, focusing entirely on yourself internally can then lead to a lack of focus on the other person.

Forgetting to ask questions, listen or show interest in them are common mistakes often made during the sales process. To ensure that you are using the mirror technique effectively, there are a couple of things to bare in mind:

Don't forget to ask questions

Enquiring further into what the customer or client says demonstrates a keenness to understand the person and is also evidence that you have listened to what they've said.

Showing an interest in the other person, whether it's a client, a colleague or a customer, regardless of how relevant it is to the overarching purpose of the meeting, is a great, easy way to establish rapport and should be used in conjunction with mirroring.

Don't forget to listen

Active listening is arguably the most important part of any sales process. This is especially prevalent if you are taking part in a zoom meeting or an online call.

Rather than quickly responding to an email mid-call, looking through any messages or checking your phone, stay alert and clued into the conversation by focusing solely on the meeting, minimizing any distractions that may be going on around you.

Don't mirror emotion

Sometimes, customers or clients can present you with negative emotions that are not necessarily your fault. These may be due to internal pressures from their side or other problems in their own life.

Matching these emotions can lead to a feeling of responsibility for problems that are not yours to solve, so instead try to keep a confident, positive tone that still empathizes with the customer. This way, you are providing the customer with a bit of positivity to their day rather than matching their negative energy - a crucial way to build rapport.

Unlock the power of building rapport

Integrating mirroring into your sales strategy is a great way to build rapport with clients or customers. Positive customer relationships lead to an increase in sales and a better experience overall for both the seller and the buyer alike.

Elevate your sales game by integrating mirroring into your next sales meeting, quality assurance meeting or even internal meeting. Rapport building opens new opportunities, invites in new clients and helps to spread the word of your business—its power truly should not be underestimated!

Learn the best way to sell anything and other tips on how to best focus on your customers with other Mailchimp blogs and articles. Access a wide variety of tools, tips and tricks to help strengthen your bond with your customers, drive sales and improve your business overall.

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