I bet you clicked on the title thinking it was going to be about emulating the best and brightest, replicating their pitch, offering the same incentives that have made so many others in the sales game rich and successful.
A truly good copycatter will have mastered the art of observing and mimicking their prospect…
Not the teasing or condescending type of mimicry where you repeat everything a person says right back to them in a rude or insulting manner, or make exaggerated fun of the “ooga-booga” way they scratch their face while talking.
Copycatting in sales is all about mimicking and mirroring your prospect’s language: their sophistication, their speed, how deep or light their voice is, emotional intensity, body language, even their favorite gestures.
This technique is often referred to as “mimicry” when talked about in the context of building rapport with people.
More Cash Registers “Cha-Chinging”
You can improve your sales by up to 30% by integrating more mimicry into your sales and customer service approach (source: The Journal of Experimental Psychology). This and similar studies have shown that the sooner you start copying the other person’s language style, the better your overall chances are at closing the sale. Consider how you communicate with your family or best friends. You trust them because, despite the differences between you, you’ve found a way to make each other comfortable by matching and mirroring each other. Doing this puts you on the same wavelength as them and makes both you and they feel like the other is listening and understands.
Like-Minded Souls Attract
We’re naturally drawn to people who think alike and act like us. This becomes VERY important in sales. You don’t want to waste the customers precious time and patience by being too long-winded in your conversation, or to stare super-intensely in their eyes at all times even though they’re obviously trying to avert your gaze. If your prospect speaks slowly, you should do the same. If they stand with their hands on their hips or across their chest, you should do the same — not stand in front of them waving your hands around like a madman and talking a million miles a minute.
Tony Robbins has referred to this as “pacing” in certain technologies of his, but I can’t locate which in my collection.
Pace, Volume, Body Language When Talking
While becoming an effective copycat will take some time and practise, you can start becoming a great mimicker fairly quickly. Matching the speed of speech, how loud they speak and body language is all that’s really required and it only requires that you’re face-to-face with them (or on Skype). If they speak fast, so should you. If the prospect is quiet and even-toned, so to should you be. If they slouch, you slouch. A prospect who stands confident and erect should feel like they’re looking in a mirror when you’re sitting or standing in front of them.
Doing this literally knocks down most of the walls that exist between salespeople and customers.
The customer always knows they’re being sold to and usually has a bad memory or two that’s shown them most salespeople don’t care about them, the customer, at all and are only worried about getting the sale. This leads to an emotional barrier being put up during negotiations where prospects can’t be themselves and instead resort to being all-business or even downright confrontational. When this happens, communication is lost and one or both parties put the earmuffs and the deal goes out the window.
Copying someone’s conversation style effects their subconscious on a very deep, emotional level. This study by Ohio State University and the University of Rochester led to the conclusion that the degree to which someone mimics another’s speech patterns is a pretty accurate barometer of how much they agree with what that person’s saying.
If the customer knows you’re in agreement with their needs and values, they’ll feel more understood, and see you more as the answer and your competitors closer to the problem!
Main image courtesy: Bravotv.com